Juniper, Sonus Partner on SDN Solutions for Service Providers

In addition, Adara Networks and Cyan each also unveil new and enhanced SDN offerings.

Juniper Networks and Sonus Networks are partnering to develop software-defined networking solutions for service providers that integrate the companies' offerings and make it easier to manage and deliver cloud-based video and unified communications services.

The Juniper-Sonus partnership, announced May 28, came the same week that software-defined networking (SDN) vendors Cyan and Adara Networks unveiled new and enhanced solutions of their own, keeping up a steady drumbeat of news in the burgeoning SDN market.

In their partnership, Juniper and Sonus will integrate Sonus' 5000 Series session border controllers (SBCs) and Juniper's MX Series routers and SRC policy engine to enable service providers to pool analytic information gathered from the application/session layer with intelligence from the network. This will give service providers the information they need to monitor and manage the rapidly growing amount of traffic generated from unified communications and video rather than having to overprovision their networks.

That will help drive down the service providers' costs and enable them to simplify the design of their networks. It also will allow them to further monetize their networks by offering more tiered services, according to company officials.

"The industry is seeing unprecedented growth in the usage of video as a mode of unified communications," David Tipping, vice president and general manager of Sonus' SBC business, said in a statement. "This will place a huge [capital expense] burden on service providers as they scale their networks to handle this surge. By working closely with Juniper, the integration of our products enables expansion of the types of unified communications and video services able to be offered to enterprises and dynamically optimizes use of network resources."

That's going to be increasingly important as UC and video in the cloud grows. Pointing to figures from analyst firms Gartner and Nemertes Research, the companies noted that end-user spending for public cloud services will grow to more than $237 billion by 2017, and that 71 percent of businesses are using, evaluating or planning to use extranet video conferencing for business-to-business collaboration. In addition, Webtorials found that 65 percent of UC deployments are premises-based, but that that figure will drop to 31 percent as more deployments move to the cloud.

Along with the integration of Sonus' SBCs and Juniper's routing plane, the companies also will integrate the SBCs with Juniper's JunosV App Engine, which will enable service providers to more quickly scale their services based on user demand.

The strategy by Juniper and Sonus makes sense, according to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research. Right now, despite the hype around SDN, many companies and developers don't care about SDN or know how to use SDN to build more intelligent applications.

However, service providers are an exception and are looking to use SDNs to help enable more virtual services and more easily manage their networks. In addition, the applications that can best leverage SDN right now are those that rely greatly on the network, like UC.

"This intersection of service providers and UC is exactly where Juniper and Sonus have aimed a joint solution," Kerravala wrote in a post on the No Jitter blog site. "The tag-team solution is well-timed, as the growth in UC is likely to be in cloud-delivered services. While I don't think the premise-based solutions are going away, the cloud solutions have reached near feature parity and are viable options for companies, particularly those with limited IT skills or budgets.

"Also, cloud video services are increasingly popular today, as leveraging the cloud is the only scalable, cost-effective way of implementing B2B video services. … Even though the partnership between Sonus and Juniper doesn't solve all the world's problems like so many of the SDN vendors claim to, it is an actual use case targeted towards a specific audience," Kerravala continued.