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Both Juniper Networks and VeloCloud offer software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) hardware and software. But Telstra decided to mix and match. It’s using VeloCloud’s SD-WAN software as a virtual network function (VNF) on Juniper’s universal CPE (uCPE) devices.

The Australian service provider is offering the SD-WAN through its Telstra Programmable Network.

Wayne Chung, Juniper Networks’ director of product marketing for NFV, said the uCPE that Telstra selected is essentially a gray box. It’s the Juniper NFX250 network services platform.

“It’s kind of the foundation piece that enables routing, switching, and compute on which you can run multiple workloads,” said Chung. In Telstra’s case one of those workloads will be the VeloCloud SD-WAN.

“As service providers are looking to offer managed services in a virtual way, the idea is to have a uCPE device that you can offer these services consolidated into a single device,” said Chung.

SD-WAN is the low-hanging fruit to get enterprises to start using virtual functions. But over time, the uCPE can run other functions, and the enterprise won’t have to deploy multiple dedicated appliances for each application or service. “Instead of thinking of it as an individual box, it’s now a platform that can run multiple network services,” said Chung.

Telstra has created a marketplace of VNFs. Chung said Juniper’s uCPE provides a programmable interface with open API’s so other third-party functions can run on the device.

Juniper offers its own SD-WAN product, which it calls the Cloud Enabled Branch (CEB). It uses the same NFX250 hardware, along with its Contrail service orchestrator and Juniper’s SRX security.

VeloCloud’s SD-WAN

VeloCloud offers its own SD-WAN devices, but it can also provide SD-WAN as a VNF.

“There are various ways to consume SD-WAN,” said Sanjay Uppal, CEO of VeloCloud. “One way to do it is with software and hardware integrated together.”

The company’s edge hardware supports its own SD-WAN and also security VNFs from vendors such as Palo Alto Networks, Checkpoint, and Fortinet. “Our devices are for folks who want hardware and software together and only for SD-WAN and a very small number of additional functions,” said Uppal.

Another option is to decouple the hardware from the software. Uppal said this is desirable when the end goal is to run many VNFs, as is the case with Telstra.

“The VeloCloud VNF can run on VeloCloud hardware, Juniper hardware, and also on fairly generic x86 hardware,” said Uppal. As far as Telstra, he said, “There’s probably a business reason they selected a gray box, but that doesn’t mean they can’t move to white box, or even mix and match in the same network. It doesn’t prevent you to go to pure white box in the future or run in a cloud such as AWS.”

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