The World Deserves the Ability to Create Hybrid Clouds Securely and Easily
As a kid, I always knew when the power had gone out at my house. The flashing “12:00” on the VCR was like a fingerprint left behind at the scene of a crime. My parents loved the ability to rent movies and record shows, but they avoided any interactions with that machine beyond the simple one-touch buttons (play, rewind, etc.). It was my task to “program” the VCR with the correct time or to record a show for them in advance, perhaps foreshadowing my “IT customer support” journey later in life.
Thirty years later, both of my parents are now quite adept at manipulating the DVR, along with a bunch of other apps that are on their smartphones. Some of this skill has come with time and exposure, but I think this turnaround is largely due to the fact that it is so much easier to interact with consumer technology now.
I believe the same will be said for the cloud. The benefits of adding cloud to an IT strategy, whether it is reducing cost or accessing unlimited, high-powered computing as needed, are easy to grasp. Most companies should naturally want those things (just like my parents wanted the freedom to watch movies in their living room). In fact, according to Gartner1, 92% of enterprises plan to use a hybrid cloud by the end of 2017.
Yet, there is a difference between planning and actually doing. Plans may stall amid the inertias of fear, uncertainty, and painfully steep learning curves. According to IDC2, the top three inhibitors of cloud services are concerns with security, reliability, and operational governance. If plans are to become reality for mainstream users, then connecting to the cloud must be simpler to do and safer to use. It’s not as effective if you need to conscript extra effort and knowledge just to get by (e.g. getting me to ‘program the VCR’).
Fortunately, the vision and commitment to simplify and secure the cloud has driven innovation at Juniper Networks for years. It begins with our twenty-year pedigree of building secure, carrier-class, global networks. The passion we applied to building the Internet has been amplified as we take networking into the cloud era. For instance, when it comes to running our own business, Juniper Networks has a “cloud first” IT policy. Last year, we announced our partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), in which a majority of our IT operations systems had been migrated into AWS. Gary Clark, IT CTO at Juniper Networks, explained this journey and how our approach to a hybrid cloud architecture has translated to increased business agility and tremendous operational cost savings and benefits in this video.
This journey began over four years ago and wasn’t easy. We understand that it is more difficult for a company with an established IT infrastructure to migrate into the cloud, as opposed to companies that are simply “born into the cloud”. The experience has provided us with empathy for the customers’ perspective and valuable insights for our own product development and innovation. Connecting to the cloud had to become easier and the market needed better networking products to do it. That drove our commitment to make our industry-leading software platforms, the vMX and vSRX, even better.
Today, both the vMX and vSRX platforms are featured on the AWS MarketPlace. The platforms are designed to simplify the experience of using virtual private cloud services and unite with the full-strength of Juniper’s solutions portfolio. They are offered as a managed Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to allow customers to launch and use a pre-configured vMX or vSRX in minutes.
Once launched, the vMX and vSRX platforms operate exactly like their physical counterparts (Juniper’s MX Series routers and SRX Series firewalls). Therefore, when used, the AWS cloud appears exactly like another secure node on the corporate network, completely manageable through a single pane of glass. AWS customers can immediately take advantage of Juniper’s virtual routing and/or security functionality for workloads. Routing with the vMX automates multi-region deployments, provides high availability for on-premises applications with automated failover, and streamlines service development agility. The vSRX allows customers to extend their existing on-premises security architecture into the cloud environment. Any defense policies in use on SRXs within the existing corporate network can be easily applied to the vSRX in the cloud without compromising security compliance. The entire architecture becomes unified under Juniper’s Software Defined Secure Network (SDSN) solution. For example, Juniper’s Spotlight Secure, Sky ATP, and Security Director solutions can be leveraged for real-time security intelligence, advanced threat protection, and automated operations.
The collaboration between AWS and Juniper helps to drastically lower the barrier of entry into the cloud. Businesses can more readily migrate their corporate IT services and applications from on-premises infrastructures into the cloud securely, reliably, and with complete operational governance. It’s already starting to happen as we excitedly begin to tally our own wins for these hybrid cloud deployments. As for Juniper, it really has helped us to look at the cloud from “both sides now”, as a builder and as a user. However, contrary to the conclusion in the song, it turns out we really do know clouds after doing this!