Juniper and Netcracker team up on LAN-to-WAN management

networking
Juniper Networks and Netcracker team up on a new joint solution to help managed service providers control LAN and WAN environments for enterprises. (Pixabay)

Juniper Networks and Netcracker are blending their automation, AI and OSS resources together to unify networks across LAN and WAN environments.

The solution, which is called Enterprise Service Automation, includes Juniper's Mist AI component and Netcracker's end-to-end service orchestration and Digital Marketplace, which are based on its OSS/BSS portfolio.

Every since it acquired wireless LAN vendor Mist in 2019 for $405 million, Juniper has been integrating Mist's AI capabilities across its LAN, WLAN and WAN products and services to improve end-to-end optimization.

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For enterprises, Enterprise Service Automation lays claim to driving "the end-to-end management of LAN, WLAN, WAN networks with automated service provisioning and workflows, AI-driven insight and full lifecycle management from client to cloud."

" I think it's an interesting example of how you move towards end-to-end management," said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research. "You don't want to manage elements of your network, you want to manage all of the network so that's the spirit of what they're doing here."

While Juniper and Netracker have seemingly targeted enterprises with the combined platform, Doyle said he sees it more as managed services play, via NEC-owned Netcracker.

"Netcracker already has, for the carriers, a managed services play," Doyle said. "This is not the enterprises going outward, it's the managed service provider going inward."

Because the mutual users need to be both Juniper and Netcracker customers, Doyle doesn't see a big market niche for the Enterprise Service Automation platform, which was  a sentiment reinforced by James Crawshaw, principal analyst at Omdia.

Crawshaw said ever since Juniper announced its NFV alliance with NEC in 2016 he has "heard precisely zilch about it."

"This new partnership seems to be about marrying Netcracker service orchestrator with Juniper's LAN/WAN kit," Crawshaw said. "Cisco has its own network service orchestrator so maybe Juniper felt the need to keep up. Netcracker also brings its Digital Marketplace, which is not something Cisco has, as far as I know.

"This seems to be a CSP-branded self-service portal for enterprise customers. Operators are going to want more than just changing their logo on a generic portal to differentiate (themselves) in the enterprise market so I would have thought this would only appeal to Tier 2 and below."

The two companies said the combined solution was deployed by a Tier 1 service provider in Europe.

"It's a logical move for these companies to explore new opportunities to provide more value for their customers and it will be interesting to see how that how that plays out," Doyle said, while also noting that Cisco has a dominant market share when compared to Juniper. "From an impact in the market perspective, this is going to be relatively small."