Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN): The New Use Case du Jour Is Being Well Received by Operators and Enterprises

Glen Hunt - Principal Analyst, Transport and Routing Infrastructure
Glen Hunt – Principal Analyst, Transport and Routing Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Operators seeking new revenue opportunities find SD-WAN a lucrative addition to their traditional enterprise service offering; enterprises like the idea of more transport choices and on-demand services.
  • Juniper is expanding its Cloud-Enabled Branch CPE solution by adding incremental SD-WAN support based on its virtual SRX, to deliver scalable and secure networking features.

Juniper joins its competitors in offering an SD-WAN solution. There is little doubt regarding service provider interest in delivering new, more agile WAN services, and even less doubt that enterprises will also see the benefits. Given today’s desire to have everything on demand, enterprises like the concept of controlling their networks from a central location and moving bandwidth and connectivity around based on real-time business needs. So, what is needed to deliver a compelling SD-WAN solution? It has already been established that virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE) solutions address many of these requirements. As described in Juniper’s earlier Cloud CPE launch, vCPE promises to enable operators to create and automatically deploy services faster, at industry-leading scale, in on-premises, cloud or hybrid service delivery models.

Juniper has expanded its virtual SRX (vSRX) to include SD-WAN capabilities, which helps preserve operator and enterprise investments in its Cloud CPE solution. Juniper has also recently made significant investments in its vSRX platform to strengthen its security credentials.

Juniper Cloud CPE_SD-WAN
Source: Juniper Networks Cloud CPE Solution with SD-WAN

Juniper, however, is not alone in offering an SD-WAN solution; vendors such as Nuage Networks (Nokia) and Cisco also offer compelling solutions with a number of similar capabilities, such as improved WAN path control, transport-agnostic connectivity (i.e., public broadband, MPLS, 4G/LTE), end-to-end management and service automation. In addition, each of the solutions comes with a premises-based CPE device which includes an operating system (e.g., the NFX and Junos, in Juniper’s case) supporting various deployment models and which provides localized compute, storage and network connectivity.

The use case for SD-WAN sounds compelling, but at the heart of each solution lies SDN, network virtualization and a new way to create and instantiate services. All of these concepts are still relatively new for operators, which may cause them to move slowly at first until they gain a level of confidence in their vendors’ ability to support them and help in their overall network transformation.

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