Juniper's New Software Suite Aimed at Comprehensive WAN Automation

The five-element suite is designed to “elevate” the experience of both operations and application end users.

Wylie Wong, Regular Contributor

February 17, 2021

3 Min Read
juniper network gear
Juniper Networks

Juniper Networks has introduced a new suite of WAN automation software designed to help telcos, large enterprises, and cloud providers ensure good application performance and quality of service.

Juniper Paragon Automation is a set of five integrated software tools (four by Juniper and one by a partner) that the company says eliminates manual tasks and processes.

It allows organizations to model and test new services to verify that their networks can handle the load before deploying them. The software automatically deploys and activates those services, monitoring the network continuously. If it spots potential network problems, it automatically remediates them before customers see a degradation in service, Juniper said.

The suite is designed to give companies better network visibility and control to ensure good user experience as they support more cloud-hosted content, applications, and services on 5G networks and at the edge in the coming years, said Julius Francis, Juniper’s senior director of product marketing.

“With 5G, IoT, and the cloud, you see emerging applications, and the quality of the [customer] experience matters, be it gaming, video conferencing or augmented reality,” Francis told DCK. The focus is two-fold, he explained: to elevate both operational and end-user experience.

Related:What Data Center-as-a-Service Means for Juniper Networks

IDC analyst Brad Casemore said the technology is important because it helps with intelligent automation of WAN infrastructure and operations, which in turn increases agility, improves operational efficiencies, and helps align networks with the application/digital experience.

Juniper’s primary competition in this space is Cisco Crosswork, he said.

(Juniper CTO Raj Yavatkar recently shared his vision and strategy for data center and network automation in an interview for The Data Center Podcast.)

“Ultimately, the network must be fully automated to support application workflows – and that translates into simpler management processes for network operators and better experiences for application users,” Casemore told DCK. “That’s why Juniper has pulled together these previously separate components under the Paragon umbrella. What’s important is not the piece parts, but what they constitute from a solutions standpoint.”

How Juniper Paragon Automation Works

The five integrated software tools within Juniper Paragon Automation simplify management of the lifecycle of a service within a WAN, Francis said.

The five products in the suite are:

  • Paragon Planner, formerly NorthStar Planner, which helps network operators plan, model, and verify a service.

  • Paragon Insights, formerly Healthbot, a network health and diagnostic tool that uses machine learning to analyze real-time telemetry data, spots network anomalies and performs corrective actions.

  • Paragon Pathfinder, formerly NorthStar, an SDN (software-defined networking) controller that simplifies traffic engineering, such as segment routing and network slicing.

  • Paragon Active Assurance deploys software agents that continuously probe the network for performance issues. The technology came from Juniper’s acquisition of Netrounds last year and works hand-in-hand with Paragon Insights, Francis said. It “can create traffic to mimic applications from Layers 2 to 7. They can confirm and validate continuously through the lifecycle of a service to ensure it is actively assured.”

  • Anuta ATOM Network Automation Platform is offered through a partnership with Anuta Networks. Once a service is modeled with Paragon Planner, organizations can rapidly deploy it with the Anuta software, Francis said. Anuta offers configuration and compliance management, service orchestration, workflow and closed-loop automation.

Related:Juniper Buys Apstra in Move Toward Self-Driving Data Center Network

Juniper Paragon Automation will be available as a cloud-native application. Customers can deploy it on premises or in the public cloud as a software-as-a-service offering, Francis said.

Anuta ATOM and Juniper Active Assurance are available now. The other three will be available during the first half of 2021, he said.

About the Author(s)

Wylie Wong

Regular Contributor

Wylie Wong is a journalist and freelance writer specializing in technology, business and sports. He previously worked at CNET, Computerworld and CRN and loves covering and learning about the advances and ever-changing dynamics of the technology industry. On the sports front, Wylie is co-author of Giants: Where Have You Gone, a where-are-they-now book on former San Francisco Giants. He previously launched and wrote a Giants blog for the San Jose Mercury News, and in recent years, has enjoyed writing about the intersection of technology and sports.

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