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Juniper Networks Inc. is replacing the separate switches and appliances that drive a traditional branch network with all-in-one hardware that does everything through cloud-enabled software.
The NFX250 Network Services Platform, introduced this week, is a server- router-switch combo that lets companies run software-defined (SD) third-party and customized network services, said Jennifer Blatnik, vice president of cloud, security and enterprise portfolio marketing. Juniper plans to release the SD technology within 30 days.
The NFX250 platform includes Juniper's Contrail Service Orchestration software that companies use to deploy virtualized network services and manage their interactions with other components of the branch network. The services run on a Linux-based server.
The platform has software-defined WAN features for monitoring and managing traffic through network links. Running on the platform is Juniper's SRX Series Services Gateways, which includes the vSRX virtual firewall, IP VPN, content filtering and threat management.
Collectively, Juniper is calling the NFX250 platform and the security technology its Cloud-Enabled Branch (CEB). The cloud piece stems from the fact that companies would run the Contrail Service Orchestration software in their data centers. The NFX250 and other CEB components run in hardware deployed at the corporate branch office. Blatnik described the device as "universal customer-premises equipment [CPE]."
Partner support for Juniper SD technology
Two Juniper partners, Ruckus Wireless and Silver Peak Systems, have products that can run on the NFX250 platform. The products include Ruckus' wireless LAN controller for managing the vendor's Wi-Fi access points and Silver Peak's WAN optimization technology.
Last November, Juniper introduced SD technology similar to CEB, but for communication service providers. Called the Cloud CPE, service providers can offer the 1RU box to customers as on-premises hardware. The foundation of the product is the NFX250 platform.
In general, products like CEB and Cloud CPE reduce the time it takes to deliver and modify network services, analysts said. Juniper competitors in software-defined networking include Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Juniper's latest SD technology reflects the company's attempt to diversify its customer base. A majority of the company's revenue comes from service providers and large financial institutions.
In April, the company reported first-quarter profit and revenue failed to meet forecasts because of slower-than-expected demand from enterprise customers and service providers.
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