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Juniper Networks Engineering Simplicity for the Multicloud Era

Friday Oct 19th 2018 by Sean Michael Kerner

At its NXTWORK 2018 event, Juniper's executive management lay out a strategy for the next evolution of networking.

Networking is no longer just about enabling connectivity within an enterprise or data center. In 2018, the reality is that most enterprises use multiple clouds, and connecting to them, enabling the true multicloud, requires networking.

That was one of the key messages that emerged from the Juniper NXTWORK 2018 event. In his keynote address, Juniper CEO Rami Rahim talked about the growth of networking in terms of users and bandwidth and especially the cloud. While growth can be a positive thing, for networking it also represents new challenges.

"Networking is inherently a hard problem because it actually gets more difficult with scale. It's pretty easy to make two things talk together, " Rahim said. "It's an entirely different thing altogether to make a billion things communicate and communicate reliably."

As networking scale grows, so too does complexity, which in Rahim's view is the big challenge that Juniper is trying to help solve. He said that IT growth has come at the expense of complexity. At Juniper, Rahim said the company's goal is to battle complexity and abstract it away for customers.

"Engineering simplicity takes the single most important thing that needs to be solved in this industry today — the pursuit of simplicity — and couples it with the engineering acumen that is absolutely necessary to truly solve this challenge, " he said.

Complexity is only getting worse with the shift to multicloud, which in Rahim's view is the next major chapter for all sectors of the IT industry and one where networking and specifically software-defined networking (SDN) can help lead the way.

The shift to mulitcloud, according to Rahim, is not just about building better networks, but rather about making networking itself better. The path to multicloud has different levels of sophistication, with the initial stage being human-driven, moving to workflow-driven, then event-driven and finally a full self-driving network automation model for multicloud.

Products

"We want to make multicloud simple and secure," Rahim said. "Contrail Enterprise Multicloud is a great answer to the complexity of achieving a single pool of resources across the multicloud."

Contrail Enterprise Multicloud provides overlay and underlay networking capabilities, works across all major public clouds, orchestrates networking and security policies and provides an intent-based networking model. Contrail Enterprise Multicloud was originally announced during NXTWORK 2017 conference and has steadily improved over the past year.

At NXTWORK 2018, Juniper Networks CTO Bikash Koley announced the new EngNet service which provides a suite of automation tools that enables access to virtual devices in the cloud. Alongside EngNet is NRE Labs, which provides education and training for network reliability engineering. The goal of the new solution is to help enable network administrator to more fully benefit from and deploy next generation automation.

"Imagine a world where car makers kept pushing out new vehicles every year, but drivers’ education never existed. You’d end up with stagnant automobiles that no one knows how to drive," Koley stated. "Automating the network is no different."

"Every year we hear of a new product that can automate 'this' or program 'that,' but if you don’t first start with the people, process and cultural change of automation, then you’ll never see anyone actually adopt it," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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