A lot is being said about the need for a ‘modern network’. What does that mean in practice?
Businesses of all sizes are looking to transform by moving to a cloud model for their networks, which is the next logical step now that many have already embraced the multicloud for their business applications. The modern network is built on a microservices cloud platform that delivers scalability, reliability and agility to support the rapid influx of new applications, mobile and IoT devices. It delivers automation through a combination of complete and open APIs with data science and artificial intelligence.
With the soaring numbers of mobile and IoT devices entering the networks of today and tomorrow, it is critical to incorporate a scalable AI-driven platform to automate and support these devices and users in order to reduce the impact on the IT team.
Using a combination of hardware- and software-based solutions, service providers and enterprises can leverage this modern network to deliver great user experiences while automating network operations to control and manage repetitive processes and improve network service availability. This frees up IT operations employees’ time for more strategic work. By automating networking features and implementing software products that offer automation, organisations benefit from lower costs, improved business continuity and a more strategically-managed workforce.
Juniper Networks acquired Mist Systems earlier this year. What are the benefits to its customers?
The biggest technology challenge of our time is complexity, so simplicity is at the heart of everything that Juniper Networks and Mist Systems do together.
Mist Systems is leading a new era of IT that brings simplicity, scale and insight to companies of all sizes through an AI-driven cloud platform. By combining forces, Mist will now be able to harness the rich telemetry data and states from the Juniper LAN, WAN and security portfolios to extend its AI platform across the IT stack. This will help customers accelerate their move to an AI-Driven Enterprise which will boost user experiences while transforming and streamlining IT operations.
Mist Systems champions the AI-driven enterprise. How are proactive notifications, automation and AI-driven insight transforming how enterprises manage their networks?
AI can be used to transform the traditional enterprise support model with proactive notifications, automation, AI-driven insight and streamlined help-desk processes. Mist Systems’ customer support teams utilise AI to proactively reduce time-to-problem resolution, creating a satisfying customer experience.
These customer support cases are then fed back into the AI to continually enhance its capability and functionality. Mist Systems is therefore able to notify customers and partners proactively when issues are detected, enabling rapid problem resolution.
As an example, Mist is leveraging proactive notifications to alert customers of issues even before they detect them. This has delivered concrete benefits for one major retail customer where the Mist solution proactively identified an issue caused by a third-party SD-WAN gateway firmware update and alerted the customer of the issue detected at one location before the customer even knew about it. This prevented a national outage as they had planned to rollout this firmware to over 1,000 locations the following day, prior to the proactive alert by Mist.
This allows customers and partners to bypass the inefficiencies of traditional IT support models and immediately escalate their issues to the necessary individuals, with the data required to analyse and mitigate, thus transforming how enterprises manage their networks.
What are the core elements of an AI-driven enterprise?
The ultimate goal of an AI-driven enterprise is to bring simplicity through automation and enhanced visibility into user behaviour to deliver better IT experiences. If we were to take this one layer deeper, the AI-driven enterprise has the following key traits.
• First, control is abstracted. The days when networks are managed device-by-device must come to an end. If the cloud has taught us anything, it is that abstracted control can change the economics of operations in meaningful ways, allowing people to interact with the network rather than a specific command line into a box.
• Second, workflows are automated. Operations should not be about rote memorisation of specific commands. We need to elevate to workflows. Companies that embrace automation will achieve operational efficiencies that will ultimately allow their employees to spend more time on the “business of the business” and less time just making it all work.
• And third, as we move towards a more self-driving infrastructure, the core tenets of machine learning and AI will become more than supporting elements. AI is the future of IT. We simply must build infrastructure that is more responsive and ultimately adaptive to the conditions in and around the network.
Does AI add complexity to IT operations or does it have the potential to simplify IT for the better?
AI has the exponential potential to simplify IT operations. There is currently a shift underway in enterprise IT, from service management to strategic enabler, as the purpose of IT itself has changed. Where the past was about uptime in a largely static environment, the present is about user experience amid a rapidly changing technology landscape. Looking forwards, speed and the ability to automate the network, bearing in mind soaring numbers of mobile and IoT devices, will be imperative, and this will require a simpler, AI driven approach to operations.