I admit it…running has never been my strength. Eventually, I want to compete in a 5K race and with the right training, mindset, and preparation, I think I can do it. As tough as running gets, I can’t deny the moments of happiness from when I work hard enough for those cloud-nine “runner’s high” endorphins. Cloud nine, fluffy clouds, cloud computing…all paint the word “cloud” in good light. Let’s add one more to that list – Juniper’s Unite Cloud. Unite Cloud is a reference framework designed to help IT organizations win the RACE in cloud transformation by enabling enterprises to reduce Risk, increase Agility, lower Cost, and enhance Experience.
These four pillars comprise the RACE that IT professionals are sprinting to win as they transition their teams into competitive differentiators and business growth enablers. The evolution of the data center from a brittle tool to a flexible, on-demand service is becoming more important than ever. This RACE matters as one misstep could result in compliance issues, data breaches, job insecurity, etc. Unite Cloud was developed with RACE elements in mind to bring customers simplicity and clarity to hybrid, multi-cloud environment. So what is this RACE about?
Reduce Risk: As the number of digital assets stored in the cloud rise, so do security threats. We are no longer shocked by companies admitting to data breaches – in 2016 alone there was Dyn, Yahoo, LinkedIn and the IRS to name a few. A hack extends damage well beyond initial investigations as compliance and legal issues come into play. Did we properly follow regulatory laws and statutes? Are we at risk for a new case of financial or legal liability? The key here is mitigate risk by prioritizing the safety of stakeholders and the business without putting anyone or anything in jeopardy.
Increase Agility: To meet always-evolving customer demands and expectations, networks need to be able to rapidly deploy applications and accelerate the time to market for products and services. Forget down time – a slow network will also guarantee lost business. To keep the network agile, it also needs to be flexible, particularly when businesses go through cyclical demands based on certain times of the year. It’s not only about scaling up, but also scaling down. Businesses are most efficient and innovative when they can move fast, fail early and scale often. To sustain this motto, silos need to be broken down. An issue plaguing the industry is that a specific switch, firewall or server is solely dedicated to a particular customer or business unit. It is no longer realistic to dedicate specific resources if businesses want to stay economic and competitive.
Reduce Cost: Regardless of whether the discussion is based on CapEx vs. OpEx, what matters most is reducing the bottom line. Without significant upfront CapEx costs, the cloud offers bigger financial gains, or larger cost reductions with newer OpEx financing models. Adding automation further reduces the number of manual hours, human errors and operational complexities in the network. The shift to managing systems, not devices, allows IT to have greater control over the network rather than making small individual device tweaks. This leads to improved efficiency as time is better spent on other initiatives rather than manually turning up new applications on new servers or ongoing customer requests.
Enhance Experience: The big focus of many IT departments is to enhance both internal and external user experiences. The era of digital disruption has forced an undeniable reliance on technology and applications, from customer relationship management (CRMs) software to database applications to scheduling tools. It is rare to find anyone who will tolerate a slow response time, much less application downtime. IT teams must be able to cater to both business needs and customer demands. Eventually, responses will become automated and require no manual intervention at all. In some markets, the difference in a lag of a few seconds equates to hundreds of millions of dollars. As this reliance on technology grows stronger and faster, uptime becomes a critical element to the success of any business.
Each component of the RACE (Risk, Agility, Cost, Experience) presents new considerations and adds layers of complexity that quickly become overwhelming. The traditional enterprise network has become difficult to manage, hard to secure, time consuming and expensive to monitor. For example, IT professionals in the healthcare industry would be concerned with the safety of sensitive personal data, such as health records or social security numbers. And in government, they would be concerned with preventing cyber warfare for the safety of the public. No matter the industry, IT teams are taking this RACE head on and pushing towards the promise of cloud-enabled simplified, secure and open networks.
And this is where Unite Cloud solves customer challenges by offering the right tools and solutions that enable IT to make an impact in all aspects of the business and a winner of this RACE. Now, time to focus and train so that I can win my own 5K race. Who knows – maybe after that I’ll even go for a 10K.