In pursuit of simplicity

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At its NXTWORK 2018 annual user conference held in London, Juniper Networks has unveiled a blueprint to help its enterprise customers consume cloud-delivered services simply and securely, and announced its intention to break into the hyperscale data centre switching market.

The networking giant also announced its plan to focus more on 5G and IoT to offset the flat-lining business in core and edge routing market as a result of service providers reining in their spend on hardware.

The event was kicked off by Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Networks, who declared war on network complexity. “Networking is inherently a hard problem, and it gets more difficult with growth. We have to be on the right side of change in the industry – the biggest problem facing us today is complexity. While growth has created value, it has come at the cost of complexity,” he said.

Rahim added that Juniper continues to be an engineering company. “Our M40 router defined what scale-up era was, but it is not cutting it anymore. Scale-out has fueled this cloud supernova that we see all around us, and it started in the data centre. It is now slowly moving into every use case in networking including WAN and has a profound impact on how we innovate and our product roadmap forward. But, left to its own device, it can also create challenges,” he cautioned.

The CEO also highlighted the importance of SDN and network automation at the event. “SDN should make the network abstracted, programmable and automated. That is what makes a system software defined. Everyone needs to reap the benefits of SDN in order to benefit from the era of multi-cloud. It is the ability to operate distributed resources around the planet as a single pool of resources. It is a shift from building better networks to making networking better. This distinction is subtle but very important.”

Rahim added that automation is enabling companies to run their networks with least amount of human interaction possible and his company has many customers who are going through different stages of automation. “We have created and launched a 5-step guide for our customers to better understand where they are on the automation journey.”

Bikash Koley, CTO of Juniper Networks, echoed a similar opinion: “Automation is a matter of survival in the scale-out world, not a luxury. Multi-cloud is one of the inflection points our industry has seen, and software makes the system reliable. The difference between scale-out and multi-cloud era is the explosion of a multitude of apps and how we consume them,” he said.

He went on add that there are common principles between scale out and multi-cloud and pitched the company’s Junos OS as an ideal solution to simplify multi-cloud environments. “Junos is disaggregated from ground-up, programmable at every layer- single platform irrespective of what underlying infrastructure is.”

Terming cloud as the biggest tectonic shift in the industry today, Juniper executives said the company is relentless in its pursuit of simplicity.  “I have been in the networking industry for over 30 years, and it has never been so complex before. When we went through all those tech changes in the past, customers had a clear choice – they knew what was going to happen. Today, things are a bit murky. Whether it is software-defined or multi-cloud orchestration, customers are confused as to which way is the right way. What we are trying to do is to mask that complexity with configuration, deployment, and management – everything built right into the system. This is what we mean by engineering simplicity,” said Yarob Sakhnini, Head of Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Juniper Networks,

Juniper is also bullish about the opportunities around 5G and claims to have the right solutions in its portfolio. “Obviously, we can’t do 5G on our own; this is where the partnership with Ericsson becomes very important. With this alliance, we provide an end-to-end solution to services providers by combining our IP transport solutions with Ericsson’s RAN portfolio. This solution also leverages our Unified Cybersecurity Platform to secure the entire 5G mobile infrastructure,” said Yakhnini.

He attributed Juniper’s growth, both regionally and globally, to its track record of solving hard problems. “One thing we have managed to convince customers is to see us a total solution provider. Be it security, switching, multi-cloud orchestration or SDN, we have a comprehensive portfolio that enables our customers to innovate. That is the power of Juniper.”


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