Juniper Networks updated the Mist network management platform with a range of setup and management operation capabilities for the Session Smart Router that runs the company's SD-WAN.
Starting this week, customers can use the cloud-based Mist platform to provision and configure Session Smart Routers (SSR) while managing other Juniper products, including the SD-WAN, access points and Ethernet switching.
Specific additions in the latest release include zero-touch provisioning, which will allow customers to set a template for the configuration of WAN topology, security policy, WAN service and policy, and network tenancy. IT managers can apply the same setup to any new SSR hardware by simply plugging it in and scanning a code on the back.
The update also includes new security features. They include intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS) and URL filtering, available through an add-on called the Branch Security Pack.
The latest updates build on the Mist network visibility capabilities added to the Juniper SD-WAN last year. Overall, the features point to Juniper gradually building a unified and AI-enabled network management system in the cloud.
"It's really building up those integrations for the Mist cloud for SD-WAN deployments -- that's a pretty big deal for Juniper," said IDC analyst Brandon Butler.
The Session Smart Router stems from Juniper's $450 million acquisition of 128 Technology in 2020. The latter company took a session-based approach to SD-WAN routing that included bandwidth, encryption, firewall and microsegmentation policies.
The approach received high marks from analysts who said it used significantly less bandwidth than competing products. Also, 128 Technology's security technology avoided the latency problems caused by the encrypted tunnels competing vendors used to carry network traffic.
Juniper also released a new series of appliances for customers who want its SD-WAN pre-installed. The SSR120 and SSR130, designed for small and medium-size branch platforms, are available now. The SSR1000 line, positioned for data center deployments, is due to ship in February. Juniper did not release pricing.
Mist AI is a flagship product for Juniper Networks. Rivals Cisco and Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, are also shifting more capabilities to cloud-based and AI-enabled software that provides a single console for managing network operations.
Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Science, as well as covering community news for Boston Globe Media.