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Feature Friday: WAN Assurance

  • 1.  Feature Friday: WAN Assurance

     
    Posted 30 days ago

    Greetings everyone!

    This is our first cross-post Feature Friday! We love Feature Fridays so much that we want to share them beyond our SD-WAN community. So, this week we're dipping into the Wireless community to share the fun.

    We have made it to November! Can you believe it? Here in New England, it's usually starting to get gloomy and chilly. Snow hasn't quite hit yet, but you can feel that winter is coming. However, this year, we've actually had some very pleasant weather, with temperatures in the T-shirt range! It's very nice, but it's just not normal. I should be fixing my snowblower right now, not planning a beach day! 

    I just wish I had some assurance on what the weather would be like…

    Speaking of "assurance" for today's Feature Friday we are going to cover…wait for it…WAN ASSURANCE!!!!!
     

    If you already have Mist for Wired or Wireless, then you already know the many benefits it comes with. And now you can add the WAN to your full stack portfolio all managed from the Mist Cloud. Whether you are familiar with wired and wireless assurance or not, today we're talking about how WAN Assurance simplifies all Operational Stages of deploying Juniper SD-WAN with Session Smart Routing. What are these operational stages you talk about, Justin? Well, I am glad you asked. When I think about deploying networks, I like to break them down into "days": 

    • Day 0 – Design
    • Day 1 – Deployment
    • Day 2 – Troubleshooting and Maintenance
       

    Day 0 is everything we are doing before we start deployment – so all the planning and design. A properly planned Day 0 will save a tremendous amount of headache throughout the rest of your deployment. Day 1 is your actual Deployment Day, so these tasks include getting the devices online and making sure they work. Day 2 is everything that comes next, essentially making sure the devices and network are maintained and running smoothly.

    Day 0 - Design

    So how does WAN Assurance simplify all of those stages? Starting with Day 0, WAN Assurance offers you configuration templates. Configuration templates help speed and simplify not only cookie cutter deployments, but also deployments that have unique sites. Need to make a change to all of your sites? – Templates allow you to automatically change all routers at once, so you no longer need to log in to each router individually. All of your sites are slightly differentiated? – No problem! You can use variables that are different at each site, all while keeping the rest of the configuration the same.

     

    Furthermore, the interface for configuration is extremely intuitive. You will see things like WAN interface, LAN interface, Application, Network, etc. (For 128T users, this means you no longer need to memorize the Session Smart Router Data Model!) 

    Day 1 – Deployment

    From a deployment perspective, WAN Assurance gives you true Zero-Touch Provisioning (ZTP). By true ZTP, I mean all you have to do is plug in your device and either scan a QR code or input the claim code into your inventory and your new devices will be instantly configured and manageable. That's it.

    Day 2 – Troubleshooting and Maintenance

    In my opinion, Day 2 is where WAN Assurance truly shines. First off, WAN Assurance provides SLEs or Service Level Experiences that help you monitor your network in real time. If the network isn't performing perfectly, SLEs will alert you and provide insights into the root cause as well what was impacted. You no longer have to spend hours troubleshooting network issues.
     

    WAN Assurance also comes with Marvis, your Virtual Network Assistant. Marvis is a proactive AI engine that is constantly monitoring your network and looking for anomalies. When it spots one of these anomalies, it alerts you to it so that you can resolve the issue quickly. Marvis is so powerful, that it can even tell you if there are any bad cables on your network! Marvis also comes with a chatbot feature, which makes it even easier to troubleshoot. I like to tell Marvis "wifi sucks today." I dare you to give that a try. You can even say "trouble with <insert application>" and Marvis will give you all the details you need to solve this issue. 

    One other great thing I'll say about WAN Assurance is that it seamlessly ties into the Mist Ecosystem. That's right I am referring to Wi-Fi Assurance and Wired Assurance. If you have all three, then you have the AI-Driven Full Stack SD-Branch! Congratulations! You have all of these neat features plus more for your entire branch network. 
     

    But Justin, I already have the Session Smart Router being managed by a Conductor, can I use WAN Assurance too? Yes, you can!
     

    With the Session Smart Router, WAN Assurance comes in two flavors:

    • Session Smart Conductor Managed
    • Mist Managed


    Session Smart Conductor Managed vs Mist Managed

    With Session Smart Conductor Managed WAN Assurance, you keep your Session Smart Conductor for all of the Configuration, Upgrades, and Automation API, but you use the Mist Cloud for SLEs, Insights, ZTP, and Marvis. With Mist Managed, all the things mentioned above are handled by the Mist Cloud.
     

    So yea, there is a lot of cool things with WAN Assurance. (It's one of the Super Powers that will enable you to become an SD-WAN Hero.) To read more, check out this WAN Assurance  Blog and demo. And to get started, check out our how-to guide.

     

    As always, we want to hear from you:

    • Are you using WAN Assurance?
    • If so, do you still have the Conductor or are you fully Mist Managed?
    • Do you have Wireless and Wired?
    • If so, what do you like the most about them?

     

    I look forward to hearing from you and hope the weather is nice and normal wherever you are!

     

    Thank you,

    Justin

     

    P.S. for all of my European friends. I am going to be speaking at the SD-WAN & SASE Summit 2022 in Paris next week. If you are around, come check it out. I would love to meet you!

    #FeatureFridays #WANAssurance #Marvis #Mist #Conductor #FullStack #AI/ML

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    Justin Melloni
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