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Industry Solutions and Trends
Intent-Driven Cloud
May 8, 2017

Carriers and enterprises know that success today is largely dependent upon giving customers and business units infrastructure choices that allow them to continuously move faster, all the time. New and improved applications and network services must be developed, packaged, and deployed across different environments—public, private, proprietary, open. To get there, they need a reliable and scalable infrastructure with security that is consistent across all environments, reducing complexity and risk while supporting growth opportunities.


Making this a reality requires giving developers a new set of abstractions that allow them to specify the infrastructure performance requirements that these services will demand in order for them to deliver the business value that customers expect. At the same time, operators of the infrastructure need to automate the monitoring and remedial actions necessary to keep those applications performing as expected.


This, in a nutshell, is what Intent-Driven Cloud is all about.


Intent-Driven Cloud is a concept that extends terms like “intent-driven networking” that were advanced by Gartner and others. Think of Intent-Driven Cloud as a means whereby application developers can inform the infrastructure what needs to be accomplished rather than what to do. Intent-Driven Cloud abstracts individual configurations away from the developer to more closely align infrastructure with the actual purpose the application needs delivered.


This approach allows us to translate higher-level business policy (what) into necessary configurations (how). It provides configuration across the infrastructure via automation or orchestration. And it can dynamically optimize application and software-defined infrastructure performance and assure network function service levels by validating in real-time that the stated intentions are being met. If not, the system can take corrective action based on automation informed, in part, by machine learning and A.I.


Through the synergy of Juniper Networks AppFormix, Contrail Networking and Software-Defined Secure Networks (SDSN), Juniper Networks has delivered these capabilities with real-world implementations.


How AppFormix Makes Intent-Driven Cloud Possible

The AppFormix platform for cloud operations is purpose-built to deliver an Intent-Driven Cloud. It is built to leverage big-data analytics and machine learning to redefine telemetry and operations management for cloud-native applications and infrastructure. Acquired by Juniper Networks at the end of 2016, AppFormix offers real-time and historic monitoring, visibility and dynamic performance optimization.



AppFormix is a new breed of full-stack optimization and management software that tracks performance and corrects orchestration of applications and software-defined infrastructure in real-time. The platform uses a distributed edge-computing approach coupled with machine learning to monitor environments where maintaining network performance demands quick response time.


Service Assurance

AppFormix is a tool for service assurance to optimize the performance of infrastructure and applications and provide guidance for services. The purpose of service assurance is to optimize the end-user experience while maximizing the profitability of services delivered over the network. It provides capabilities for operators in cloud-native environments powered by OpenStack (running VMs as well as containers), on VMware vCenter, Kubernetes and in public clouds. AppFormix software provides predictive analytics driven by machine learning to issue alerts and take remedial action before performance problems impact users.


When using software-defined, cloud-based environments to deliver network functions—like internet access, firewall, VPN, VoIP and load balancing—a reliable infrastructure layer is key to reliable service availability. Metrics such as drop rate, latency and jitter are tracked to manage virtualized network function (VNF) performance. AppFormix reduces jitter by more than 70 percent in environments where VNFs are deployed across thousands of nodes and dozens of geographic regions.


In these virtualized environments, operators need automated and real-time tools to schedule VNF workloads across network infrastructure that is often distributed across many nodes and regions. Faults must be detected, quantified and remediated in real time, and that’s what AppFormix software delivers.


Application Monitoring for the Cloud-Native Era

AppFormix takes the high-level business intent provided by operators and developers—service levels, for instance—then monitors cloud operations to ensure that this intent is being met. If not, AppFormix can:

(a)       inform the operator and developer/application that the intent is not being met;

(b)       inform the respective orchestration tool of the violation in real-time, along with the insight of what needs to be done to remedy the violation (these are global actions, going to one or more controllers, e.g., nova for VM scheduling, or heat for workload scheduling, or Contrail for network scheduling); and

(c)       take local corrective/orchestration actions to ensure that adequate resources are supplied to the workload to meet the intent.


Stated more simply, AppFormix is the mechanism for translating “what” into “how” with automated implementation, real-time state awareness and dynamic optimization. It provides a 360 degree loopback mechanism and visibility to ensure that the intent of cloud operators, let’s say SLA for a specific VNF service, is properly fulfilled.  


What does this mean for cloud operators? With AppFormix, cloud operators have the means to heuristically validate that infrastructure environments are in sync with the organization’s business intent. The ultimate outcome of this approach is cloud infrastructure that not only aligns with business intentions but also delivers unprecedented speed and agility. In essence, delivering the Intent-Driven Cloud.


Want to Learn More?

Come see us at OpenStack Summit Boston, booth #A1 and check out our full list of activities planned at the event.


Sumeet Singh, Vice President of Engineering at Juniper and founder of AppFormix, as well as other Juniper executives, will be available for press interviews during the conference. Please contact Michelle Zimmermann ( with any requests.

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