Engineering Simplicity
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Engineering Simplicity
Cloud-Grade Networking: For the Win
Jun 21, 2017

We live in exciting and disruptive times where everything is shifting to the cloud. Carrier-grade networking has been the foundation of the internet that we have come to know and love. There continues to be an insatiable need for network capacity, with global Ethernet traffic volume estimated to reach 17,000 Tbps by 2020[1]. Service providers will continue to be under pressure to deliver rapid, low-latency and high-volume communication of information. This has been especially important to enterprises which are increasingly adopting cloud-managed enterprise connectivity to reduce costs while increasing control and flexibility.  


Virtually every company in the connected world has either decided on, or is actively formulating, their cloud strategy. In this process, the network is taking on a new level of importance. As the underlying infrastructure evolves to support cloud, we at Juniper Networks believe a new standard of networking is here: cloud-grade networking.

 cloudgradenetwork.pngNot Everyone Builds Public Clouds

Not everyone is building a large public cloud. However, we believe that just as there were lessons to learn from how carriers built networks for high reliability, and how enterprises built networks for easier control, there are lessons to be learned from those who are building public clouds. 


In the IT world, there is a lot of adoration for the cloud. Whether it’s service agility, highly automated operations, or scale-out architectures, IT network architects have been closely watching what the web-scale companies have been doing for years. And while not every practice is directly transferable to other parts of IT, it is safe to say that cloud architects have changed how businesses everywhere think about and build their networks.


From Better Networks to Better Networking

Cloud adoption for Juniper customers isn't just about having more capable routers and switches. The real transformational ideas address how networks are operated, with a greater emphasis on management, automation, visibility, and continuous integration.


We no longer design networks assuming failures can be avoided. Instead, we address reliability from an architectural, rather than a device, perspective. Services must be resilient in the face of failures. When connectivity fails, regardless of whether it’s a hardware or a software issue, paths can be recalculated, redirected, and failed components simply replaced. 


By moving to a simpler, more uniform set of building blocks, cloud architects have flipped the emphasis from noun to verb—from “networks” to “networking.”


Pillars of Cloud-Grade Networking

At Juniper, we believe that cloud-grade networking is built around four major ideas:


  • Everywhere Networking: Put simply, cloud-grade networks must be able to run anywhere and everywhere—on any software, on any hardware, and in any cloud. Juniper calls this idea Everywhere Networking, and it refers specifically to the disaggregation and abstraction of networking services to put the focus on faster deployment of applications and elastic scaling rather than on the physical infrastructure. 
  • Self-Driving Network: Self-driving networks are the combination of telemetry, workflow automation, DevOps, and machine learning, creating an infrastructure that is responsive, adaptive, and ultimately predictive. The journey to a self-driving future starts from today’s human-driven environments to more event-driven operations, then layers in machine learning algorithms en route to a full self-driving experience.
  • Software-Defined Secure Networks: Software-defined secure networking is the application of software to drive pervasive detection and enforcement deep into the network so that every IT component becomes an integral part of the security umbrella. Using a software-defined secure networking approach, security teams can maintain centralized policy and control, surfacing threat intelligence across the entire infrastructure so that it can be analyzed in real-time and enforced dynamically.
  • Platform First: A platform first approach is the acknowledgment that the network is never the end goal. Companies—whether they are service providers, cloud providers, or enterprises—are building more than just a network; in fact, the network is merely an enabler for network services and applications. Every element within that network must ultimately be a platform - hardware is a platform for software, software is a platform for network functions, the network is a platform for services, and the cloud is a platform for applications.


The Great Migration

There is a place that is better than where we are today. We know that future networks should be less complex, more software-defined, easier to procure and integrate, more open, more stable, and much more agile in order to adapt to the needs of the business.


Our innovation engine continues to run strong as we build upon our ideas to power the cloud transformation. Cloud-grade networking is about leveraging the strengths we have, complementing them with some of the most difference-making principles from the cloud, and ultimately democratizing the cloud so that networks of all shapes and sizes will win. 


[1] Ovum Ethernet Services Forecast Report: 2015–2020 report