Getting Ahead of the Curve in the Next Wave of IT-Driven Competition with Contrail Cloud Platform
Nov 6, 2014
In the business world, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter is a legendary figure. He is the author of 18 books and numerous articles including Competitive Strategy, Competitive Advantage, Competitive Advantage of Nations, and On Competition. A six-time winner of the McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review (HBR) article of the year, Professor Porter is the most cited author in business and economics.
In the latest issue of HBR, Mr. Porter authored an article named “How Smart, Connected Products are Transforming Competition”, where he provides a framework for developing strategy and achieving competitive advantage in a smart, connected world. He deems the IT-driven automation of individual business activities in the 1960s and 1970s, and the rise of the Internet that enabled coordination and integration across individual activities in the 1980s and 1990s, as the first two waves where IT radically reshaped competition and strategy.
We are in the middle of the 3rd wave where IT is becoming an integral part of the smart, connected products themselves. “Embedded sensors, processors, software, and connectivity in products, coupled with a product cloud in which product data is stored and analyzed and some applications are run, are driving dramatic improvements in product functionality and performance”.
Network operators have been riding the second wave, providing connectivity to people and businesses. But it is time for them to think about what they need to do to really get ahead of the curve in this new wave we are in. Once this new wave sets in, network operators will need to connect “Things” that are many order of magnitude larger in number than people or businesses, automatically provide differentiated services on demand, and guarantee security of the product clouds and reliability of the connectivity. Amazing things can happen when we connect everything and everyone. Once we have sensors and things connected, the physical world can be ‘programmed’ to align with your life, and everything becomes a service. In their next-generation infrastructure, manual operations need to be replaced by automation, and network and cloud are going to converge, so that they can create more customized new services much more quickly to be on the leading edge of the competitions.
Indeed, network operators are investigating ways to transform their infrastructure for this new wave. For example, AT&T envisions a User Defined Network Cloud (UDNC) to enable network services and infrastructure to be used, provisioned, and orchestrated as is typical of cloud services in data centers. It is characterized by a rich set of APIs that manage, manipulate, and consume services on- demand and in near real time. Like AT&T, many other service providers understand that it is time that they use virtualization and cloud technologies to transform to a more agile, responsive, intelligent, scalable and secure infrastructure while maintaining the same level of reliability.
With a shared goal to Connect Everything, Empower Everyone, Juniper is a trusted partner who can help network operators realize their vision through a series of technologies that build agile clouds and connect them with high-IQ networks. We are announcing one of these technologies, Contrail Cloud Platform, today.
Contrail Cloud Platform combines the cloud network automation capabilities of Contrail Networking with Juniper’s OpenStack distribution, providing a turnkey cloud orchestration and automation platform for creating, scaling and seamlessly joining open, intelligent, and reliable OpenStack clouds through secure networks. Combined with Juniper professional services and a rich ecosystem of technology and integration partners, Contrail Cloud can stand up private, public, hybrid and telco clouds enhanced with state-of-art SDN and NFV technologies to satisfy dynamic business needs in a fully automated fashion.
As businesses evolve to a more-connected future, it’s essential to co-create cloud infrastructure with an innovative technology leader who understands both enterprise and service provider industries—a leader with significant experience in both networking and IT that builds solutions based on open principles. Contrail Cloud Platform stands out by delivering cloud management and automation in a way that gives users freedom of choice, intelligent automation, and always-on reliability.
Freedom of Choice
Whether you are deploying public, private, or hybrid clouds in centralized data centers, or a distributed telco cloud for Network Function Virtualization (NFV) applications, Contrail Cloud Platform gives you the freedom to use any standard server, storage hardware, or IP network, and seamlessly pool resources regardless of where they are physically located. Offering support for heterogeneous environment including multiple hypervisors, Linux containers such as Docker, and Linux bare metal, customers can select the best compute infrastructure based on their unique application requirements. By including Contrail Networking, an overlay style SDN solution, customers enjoy the benefits of an agile federated cloud without ripping and replacing their existing network hardware and without fear of future lock-in to a specific hardware vendor. In addition, Contrail Cloud Platform provides a set of open APIs to interoperate and integrate with products and solutions from Juniper’s ecosystem partners. These open APIs not only allow customers to pick best-in-class modules to customize their infrastructure without vendor lock-in, they also support a healthy and growing ecosystem that encourages participation by multiple vendors to ignite innovations that enrich cloud offerings.
Contrail Cloud Platform delivers business agility, predictable operational excellence, and total cost of ownership optimization through the intelligent automation of resource allocation and scaling, infrastructure configuration, and application lifecycle management. It does this by establishing an application provisioning feedback loop, using the insights derived from rich infrastructure analytics to drive application resource adjustment and optimization. Contrail Cloud Platform then builds a policy-driven infrastructure that accepts application resource allocation, scaling, and security requests as high-level declarative policies, implementing them as low-level machine-understandable configurations. This feedback loop and the automation it enables minimize manual intervention of cloud application provisioning.
The cloud is increasingly carrying mission-critical business applications and data, and cloud builders expect the cloud to deliver always-on reliability to their end users. Contrail Cloud Platform meets that requirement by providing high availability, robust security, and elastic scalability to both the platform itself and the applications running on top of it.
High Availability: Contrail Cloud Platform is designed to run in a distributed fashion and scale out for high availability and horizontal scaling. By reducing the size of the failure domain and performing backup and replication consistently, it enables in-service software upgrades and error recovery without downtime.
Robust Security: With Contrail Cloud Platform, security for virtualized environments can be enforced in a more granular way at the hypervisor level, automatically “following” mobile workloads. In addition, a wide range of security functions from both Juniper and ecosystem partners are available to run on top of Contrail Cloud Platform, protecting the infrastructure and workload.
Elastic Scalability: Contrail Cloud Platform is responsive enough to change resource-provisioning levels on demand. This is reflected in three ways: elastically scale virtualized resources up and down on demand; scale infrastructure beyond data center and cloud boundaries; and scale software out to meet any control and management demands.
In closing, let's go back to Mr. Porter's basic tenet to achieve sustainable competitive advantage in shifting industry structure. To achieve competitive advantage, a company must be able to differentiate itself and thus command a price premium, operate at a lower cost than its rivals, or both. Contrail Cloud Platform is the answer to both agile differentiated services and higher operational efficiency. Stay ahead in this virtual revolution, and gain real profit, with Contrail!