Musings from the Cold Aisle
, Regular Visitor
Musings from the Cold Aisle
Surfing the Wave of IT Automation
Feb 10, 2014

Last week, Mike Marcellin talked to Bloomberg Businessweek about Juniper's partnership with companies like Puppet Labs and the innovative work that we’re doing to solve some of the most difficult problems in the data center.  This is an exciting topic because it speaks directly to what we’re seeing in our customers, and highlights the approach that we’re taking to help them.


To begin with, it’s all about agility. Business transformation has put the impetus on IT for greater speed, quicker response times, and less downtime.  And in the data center network, this is even more pronounced.  Server virtualization has made the compute infrastructure agile.  You can instantiate a virtual machine in seconds, but it still takes hours to days to even weeks to provision the network – and there’s a greater chance of error due to manual configuration.


This is where automation comes in. Juniper is helping our customers solve their problems with data center network operations through simplification and openness.


When most think about automation, they think about saving time due to automating repeatable manual tasks, which is true.  This is what the extensibility and flexibility of Junos enables for our customers – they can easily apply scripts and policies to automate whatever task they need.  However, Juniper takes that a step further because it’s about the simplification of the management interface itself.


The primary users of tools like Puppet, Chef, and others are system administrators.  They typically don’t know (or want to know) the first thing about network configurations or CLI.  We’ve solved this problem by abstracting the network into something they can easily understand and easily work into their operations workflows.


Juniper’s second distinct advantage is embracing open.  There’s a diverse set of customers with different use cases and different tool sets.  There are sysadmin using Puppet or Chef to manipulate infrastructure as code and there are other customers using VMware or OpenStack to orchestrate their infrastructure.  Because we are open, we’ve managed to productize a lot of this capability into both our hardware and software solutions.  Ultimately this gives our customers greater flexibility (without having to do a costly rip and replace of their infrastructure) in choosing automation tools, cloud orchestration, and even SDN approaches.


We are heavily engaged and invested with Puppet, Chef, VMware, OpenStack, and SDN.  But really it’s about a holistic approach to automation.  With the MetaFabric Architecture, we’ve set a high bar on how we support all dynamic environments, partners, and users we see in the data center – and delivering greater agility through automated management.