Secure Automated Cloud: Service Providers Occupy the Central Position in the Multicloud
Jul 1, 2019
This is part five in a five-part series about how Juniper Networks is helping network service providers (SPs) around the world build out Secure Automated Cloud architectures. See part four here.
Over the past 25 years at Juniper Networks, we have been able to see the future of networking more clearly than our peers. Founded in 1996, we set out to solve the problem of the internet scaling given the traffic increases it was facing. Juniper placed a bet on IP back then that turned out to be right. IP is just as relevant today due to its inherent ability to handle scale. We were also the first company to separate the control plane from the data plane in our routers, with the M40 back in 1998. Ten years later, people started calling that SDN. Our Junos operating system was natively built for openness, modularity and programmability, with operational consistency that spans all infrastructure. Trustpower, a Juniper customer, put it well: “Junos is Junos, whether it’s running on a router, switch, or firewall, and that simplifies our configuration templates significantly.”
Over the years, our strategy and commitment to high performance networking has never wavered. For our SP customers, this means access to the most innovative networking technology in the industry and a smooth path to migration. The cloud era has added new requirements to networking infrastructure that we have already anticipated at Juniper. High-performance networking is still necessary. In fact, this has allowed our cloud provider customers to achieve the hyperscale that has supported their massive growth. But perhaps even more important now is the modularity required for integration and innovation across disparate infrastructure.
At Juniper, we approach openness on three levels: open standards, open source and open systems – we have challenged the incumbency in many of these areas. Network disaggregation is both a strategy behind many of our efforts and an engineering principle that underscores virtually every architectural decision we make.
On a macro level, openness is a strategic imperative for traditional SPs to harness the innovative horsepower of the third-party vendor ecosystem – no single company today can continuously foresee dynamic customer requirements and act on them with the speed necessary to be successful. In addition to building new services themselves, SPs must also establish open platforms for others to build on top of.
The Digital Value Chain
Cloud era “platform” business models now dominate the global economy. The traditional value chain is linear and sequential; strategy revolves around:
Internal optimization of labor, resources, processes
Accumulating capital and intellectual property
Investment in sales and marketing to acquire customers
The “Digital Value Chain” is no longer a linear “chain;” it is a multi-faceted ecosystem. Success relies on frictionless interactions among producers and consumers. Often, the toughest part of a platform strategy is accumulating a critical mass of users – incumbent network operators have already cleared this hurdle. The new SP role is to facilitate and orchestrate these interactions. Platforms show up in SP business models in several areas, including enterprise managed services marketplaces, edge cloud solutions and IoT applications.
Moving to the cloud? We’re already there
A fundamental driver for Juniper as a business is to help our core customer segment of network operators transform so that they can play a central role in the new cloud economy. Juniper provides several capabilities that guide SPs down this path:
We are doubling down on performance, scale and routing innovation. On the one hand, we are committed to networking ASICs in a way that none of our competitors are, but we are also agnostic about hardware technology. The use case determines whether we use ASICs, merchant silicon or the lightest weight COTS processors.
SPs have billions of dollars of investment in the ground and these assets are still useful in the new cloud world. We have driven technologies such as EVPN, RIFT and segment routing to modernize SP infrastructure. We offer an unparalleled story of longevity. For example, our MX routing platform is in its 10th generation of line cards, including the accumulation of our capabilities in automation and programmability. Whether you call it investment protection or no forklift upgrades, we have executed a consistent, clear strategy that has ensured a smooth migration path for our customers and we expect to do the same for the next 10 years.
Given the size of the company, Juniper has always had the incentive to be open and interoperable with others. This has helped us adapt to and integrate with the myriad of recent “cloud native” initiatives that have sprung up throughout the software stack.
Pervasive security is integrated with every network component, providing end-to-end encryption without sacrificing performance. Some see the network as a liability when it comes to security; at Juniper, we view it as an asset.
We will continue to drive the economics of networking through technology innovation as we have done in the past. But we now know this is no longer enough. The SP industry has no choice but to transform. The challenge today is the implementation and integration of “virtualization” beyond the hype and the promise. At Juniper, we are tackling these issues head-on across several fronts. We are delivering pre-validated Contrail Cloud solutions that tightly bundle several different elements of the Telco cloud architecture. Additionally, we are driving a variety of collaborative projects for the thorniest problems that require deep collaboration across multiple vendors and SPs, such as lifecycle management of Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi) and Virtual Network Functions (VNF) onboarding.
Juniper is uniquely positioned to be the trusted partner for SPs to deliver a smooth migration path as we all push forward in this cloud era. Ultimately, this benefits the end users who have come to rely on networks that have become invisible, but pervasive, throughout our daily lives.