The Academia Technology Group provides cloud, connectivity and mobile solutions from the desktop through to the data center. We launched our initial cloud and hosting infrastructure from a single data center, but we’d reached a performance ceiling and we wanted to increase the resilience of our solutions. So we decided to expand our operations to a second data center, which would add additional complexity to the network demands. Reliability was a critical requirement, as was ease-of use and simplification of the new operating environment.
We chose Juniper Networks to expand our network infrastructure because it offered a future-proof, best-in-class networking, value for money and a single unified operating system. It’s proven to be a great choice. We use Juniper Networks® MX5 3D Universal Edge Routers at each of our data center sites, acting as border gateways and providing connection to our tier-1 internet partners. We also use the MX5 routers to provide connections to those customers who only require internet access. We’ve deployed Juniper Networks® EX4600 Series Ethernet Switches at the primary sites and Juniper Networks® EX4550 Series Ethernet Switches at our disaster recovery site, to provide a resilient backhaul network and to connect customers to our cloud services. We use Juniper Networks® SRX1400 Series Services Gateways to provide an aggregation layer and implement security and IDP (Intrusion Detection and Prevention) services. We’ve deployed the SRX Gateways at each site, configured as a single virtual system running over the network, which has allowed us to simplify our operations by managing multiple components as a single device. We also provide a Juniper SRX on the end of every customer connection we provide.
We took advantage of the expertise in Juniper’s TAC (Technical Assistance Center), to help us through the expansion. At one point we had experts staying up with us all through the night to make sure our migration worked smoothly. I have worked with Juniper products over the last 10 years and have yet to meet a vendor like them.
Now we have a tenfold increase in the capacity of our systems. Network uptime is extremely high, as is customer satisfaction. And we’ve benefitted from increased operational simplicity, running all of our network and security functions with only three staff while our other engineers focused on different priorities. It was critical for us that the new network could ensure reliability, scalability and affordability and Juniper has ticked all three boxes for us. And with JUNOS providing a single unified operating system across all our different systems, from security to routing and switching, we have less administration and it’s easy to bring on new skilled engineers. There’s only a single platform to learn, with the same commands required across the whole range of product types. Cross-training from other vendors is also easy and fast, with far less courses required. We also benefit from a single management environment for both our own network and our customers, because we can manage our CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) from the same system.
The transition was seamless. We had virtually no downtime and I don’t think we could have achieved that with any other vendor. For example, Juniper’s commit-confirm feature and their ability to validate configurations in advance helped us reduce our risk through the whole process. We’ve achieved reliability, flexibility and a great service in an extremely short space of time.
Now we’re considering Juniper Networks vSRX Virtual Firewall to collapse the CPE functionality back onto its own premises, or maybe even running it on an optical termination device. This is one of the benefits of Juniper’s open approach to networking, the flexibility we have to run a virtualized Juniper system on a third party platform is unique, and a great illustration of the how the network is moving towards software.
Last week I had the pleasure to attend MPLS SDN NFV World Congress. Once again, the event brought together some exceptional people to discuss and debate some of the most critical issues in our industry.
Amid several virtual product demonstrations that kept the Juniper booth filled to capacity throughout the week, we also showcased the MPC9E line card for the MX2000 3D Universal Edge Router family.