How Juniper is Enabling Era of Self-Driven Networks

Smart Network

Juniper Networks is on the forefront of driving a lot of automation inside the very fabric of network – its initiatives around cloud are set to bring more benefits to telecoms and enterprise networking infrastructure than ever before.

Dinesh Verma, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Juniper Networks interacts with Zia Askari from about the company’s strategy to enable an era of self-driven networks and how telecoms and enterprise can benefit from this.

What are some of the big priorities that Juniper has today?

If you think and see globally, we are transforming the way, services are getting consumed. Initially we were completely focused on service providers. That’s how we started off, but now as technology has shifted, as innovations are coming in the cloud play, we are getting big into the cloud era.

Today, how do you look at the growing importance of SDN and NFV for enterprise as well as the telecom customers?

Let’s divide this into two. As you rightly said, one is where the SDN, NFV is primarily meant for the enterprises to be connected. And (secondly), it’s for the service providers to give it as a service, and for the ease of operations.

Thus, there are different ways of looking at things. If you look at it on the service provider end, they obviously want to lock in the customers.

And they want to have the ease of manageability because they can do it from a central site.

So, in our terminology it will be ‘service provider as a channel’. Because they are creating a service to be rendered to the enterprise.

From the consumer perspective, which are the enterprises, that trend is still yet to take off in a larger way. So, service providers are advanced in adapting to it, whereas the traditional enterprises are slow in adapting to it. And it’s happening not only in India, but globally as well.

That’s happening now, but is it useful to them? For sure! Would it take some time for them to adhere to it? Maybe the next one year – 12 to 18 months – they would start realising the benefits of doing the SDN, NFV either on their own or through the service provider as a channel.

What are some of the big innovations that are coming from Juniper today that can strengthen its offering in the networking space?

We are very proud of bringing in the automation drive. The kind of automation that we bring in onto either the hardware platforms or to the software platforms is parallel to none.

Nobody else in the industry can boast about the kind of information that can be collected from the hardware boxes that we deploy across the service providers or the enterprises. Or even the SDN, NFVs that we’re talking about. We’re above the rest.

And it has been proven many times that the operators can make real, sensible use of the data that is coming out of those gears and adapt themselves to the way that is good for their businesses. So that’s one innovation that we’re absolutely clear about.


Dinesh Verma, Juniper Networks

The second one is the cloud innovation. Because the way, cloud is being operated upon and the way that it needs to be architected has to be a totally different one than the way the service provider network, which is more predominant on the WAN side or the enterprise network which is more on the LAN side- it needs to be architected.

And if you see the kind of switching platforms that we have created – the QFX series – it is growing phenomenally – at global level. And it’s been adapted by most of the large operators like Google or Amazon or Facebook etc. So that’s another innovation from our side.

The third one is the access. How we make the access by the consumer as simple as possible to consume that service. So we are innovating there. With our solutions – we can create bundles and suites of service in a single box. You don’t have to architect 3 different networks to access 3 different services. We can merge all that together and create a unified network which allows the consumer to access (whether its B2B or B2C) to the cloud services that they are rendering.

What according to you are some of the most critical technologies that can change the way networks are built and operated in the near future?

Let’s talk about Indian demography. I think whatever works here works everywhere in the world. There are three things that are most critical – the faith in the network that it can deliver, the competency of the people who are managing it and the competency of the OEM who is architecting it.

These three things are most critical for any consumer today – be it a service provider, a cloud provider or an enterprise – they have to make sure that there is a quantum jump in the faith that they’re having on the OEM.

Then it becomes more actionable on the OEM to deliver that result. So the simplicity of the network has become the key. And the cost of transportation per bit is another factor because everybody wants to drive down the cost. You cannot remove the network elements. So you can a) scale it up, you can do the multiplicity of the operations in the same network or you can do the automation so that you are alerted, which is called Self-driven network.

So, if the networks are able to correct themselves on their own basis the information that they are receiving from the network elements, then the operation cost comes down and so does the end user delivery. So these are the innovations I think we’re miles ahead.

We have all these multiplicity of the features, you can streamline the networks, you can automate the network and you can do the self-corrections. And the users are realizing the impact and they’re guiding us through in the entire process as well of what they need and what they don’t need.

How does Juniper look towards the future, especially in light of the accelerated development that we see around 5G?

My take is that 5G will require the cloud to be moved from a central site to a more distributed site. Since we are extremely strong in cloud, the technology will go from hyperscale to a smaller scale.

So we will be relevant there because the virtualisation which will happen will call for telco clients and we are one of the market leaders in creating telco clients.

So any partnership with the radio providers to realise that dream of telco cloud would help us to leapfrog the 5G way. That’s where we look at – because of the technology existing today, we just need to do the breakdown of that plus the orchestration of it. So we have both the things.

We all have been looking at uni-decisional, centralised model with all the 2G, 3G, 4G so far. 5G is where you get real broadband and its finally breaking all the sleeves and all the bumpers which we had for data growth, so now you don’t have thousands around, you have billions. So the dynamics has become that- the millions which were sitting in the central side, and you could engage a cloud or a cache or a serial network there, now you have millions in the central side and you don’t want to take them to the central side.

So the distributed telco cloud has to be near the cell site. Not only because of scale but also about the latency which is going to help deliver the new use cases. The telco itself has to go into the enterprises as we started talking about. There cannot be a unique telco now. A telco will be between the healthcare to drive this 5G. The telco will be between the financial, BFSI sector. The telco will be in the manufacturing sector.

I’m 100% sure that in a couple of years we’ll have 100s of these data centers moving near metro locations rather than at the centralised national location, which was the norm. And we have innovated enough in the switching gear and orchestration piece which allows the services to go distributed near the customer. And I think 5G will only enable us more.