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Juniper Networks liberates Contrail SD-WAN from its boxen to frolic among the clouds

aaS version of software promises faster deployments

Juniper Networks has recast Contrail SD-WAN as a fluffy white service for software-defined networking in branch offices, dragging itself into the 21st century tech world.

The cloud-based version is paid for annually or via a multi-year subscription.

Just like the original, its cloudy sibling uses the Contrail Service Orchestration platform to design, automate and run all kinds of wired and wireless LANs from a single portal, across Juniper's NFX series services platforms, MX series routers, and SRX series firewalls, along with cloud endpoints protected by its virtual firewall.

EX series switches are also supported – as long as they are plugged into either NFX or SRX devices.

The latest version of Contrail SD-WAN also integrates tech from California-based startup Mist Systems, which Juniper snaffled for $405m earlier this month. Mist applies machine learning algorithms to Wi-Fi monitoring, and lets customers to see additional operational and analytics data on their wireless networks.

SD-WAN (also called hybrid WAN) kit virtualises wide-area networks to up the quality of connections between central offices, which house the bulk of corporate IT, and remote branch locations. They are supposed to reduce connectivity costs by using the public internet when appropriate – rather than expensive, but more reliable multiprotocol label-switching (MPLS) networks.

Juniper got its mitts on Contrail in 2012, paying $176m for a startup that never shipped a single product. The platform has since emerged as one of its flagships.

In 2013, Juniper open-sourced the core SDN controller code. The project, formerly called OpenContrail, was last year rebranded as Tungsten Fabric and now sits at the core of LF Networking – the specialised networking organisation within the Linux Foundation. ®

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