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Juniper CEO on IoT, co-creation and the IOP

shaygan kheradpir

Shaygan Kheradpir blogs and talks about company strategy and a new style of customer interaction

An Internet of Things is much more than simply connecting things to things or data to devices, argues Juniper CEO Shaygan Kheradpir; it should include the ability to inform users on why things are happening and then take appropriate action, such as reconfiguring itself to address or correct the situation.

Juniper’s been quiet on its own IoT strategy while competitors, chiefly Cisco, have been bullish on the opportunity and its ability to address it. But that’s not to say Juniper doesn’t have an IoT strategy, Kheradpir told us in an exclusive interview this week:

It’s the cloud and the very tentacles and tributaries you’ve got now – smart sensors. The next step on this is, how do you use all of this information? Which is High IQ networking in the service of healthcare… transportation… energy… media. It’s a coming together – finally – of high performance networking, big data analytics, and control system theory. These three things together… now you can actually do stuff because finally you are closing the loop on many things. Clearly, Internet of Things is a step toward there, cloud was a step towards there. We have a lot of use cases we are working on at Juniper of how you can make the network tell you stuff that you don’t know.

Kheradpir’s first Juniper blog, posted this week, states an example of the network tweeting information to an operator on an event, its status and remedial activity undertaken to address it. The engineering of this intelligence and self-sufficiency is cloud, sensors and control systems working in concert to achieve an operational goal.

So Juniper’s IoT strategy is working towards this goal, which is consistent with its cloud and “High IQ” networking imperatives, Kheradpir says.

Kheradpir has been in the corner office of Juniper for eight months now. He has been traveling extensively in that time, talking to customers and implementing his Integrated Operating Plan (IOP), an effort to streamline company operations, reduce costs and return more to shareholders.

Customer priorities are all over the map, and differ by business segment, he says. Telecom and cable providers are looking for operational cost efficiencies, scale, density and power improvements, and the ability to quickly turn up new services and tap new revenue streams through DevOps and virtual CPE.

Web 2.0 and webscale companies are targeting hyperscale growth, with the ability to scale both up and out, he says. They are also prioritizing on precision and context sensitivity in delivery of services to maximize the user experience at low cost.

Financial services firms are interested in carrier grade infrastructure, with high availability, automation in provisioning, and security and compliance assurance and enforcement by embedding associated policies into the fabric of the infrastructure. Infrastructure flexibility and multitenancy support also ranked high among customer needs, Kheradpir says.

In fulfilling these requirements, Juniper has adopted a “co-creation” relationship with customers in which both collaborate to address business challenges and develop an adaptable solution to a customer's unique and evolving needs. Asked if this approach places a greater emphasis or investment in the professional services aspect of Juniper’s business, Kheradpir replied:

It’s basically making sure there’s nothing lost in translation and maximum context sharing. You just can’t catapult to the other side of the river. They have a legacy that they have to deal with. So it’s extremely important to help them to operationalize all of this new innovation by helping them pivot their operations to the new world. There, the issue is not necessarily classical services. In these networks and clouds, there is huge amount of capability that what you really need to do is make sure that all those handles that are into these systems are executed at the maximum level for operationalization, which is basically making the network become much taller, making the network rise up to the business flows of these customers. And make sure that these business flows take maximum advantage in new ways – DevOps is one of them. That is not something that the industry has ever done. They’ve always done patch upon patch upon patch on top of networks rather than having the networks get taller. And hook the handles into the business imperatives that help them pivot their operation into the future. This is where High IQ networking is critical to help them walk through the bridge and pivot their operations. But it’s not like the old prof services, it’s a different kind of thing I’m talking about here.

Another topic of discussion with Kheradpir is the progress of the IOP he implemented for the company back in February. Under the IOP, Juniper has consolidated product R&D into a single Juniper Development and Innovation unit; pared its workforce by 6%; ended development of products based on application delivery control technology licensed from Riverbed; and sold off its Junos Pulse mobile security management assets.

Kheradpir says Juniper continues to review its product portfolio to make sure it’s focused on areas of growth and customer need. There have been no further developments since the Junos Pulse sale.

As for wireless LANs, which many believe might be next to be divested – especially after a comprehensive arrangement recently with Aruba Networks – Kheradpir says it’s an important product with important customers, and that Aruba represents best-of-breed even though Juniper has its own WLAN technology from the 2010 acquisition of Trapeze Networks.

But it sounds like Advantage Aruba:

We partner very deeply with other best-of-breed, like Aruba. Customers want best-of-breed, they want open; what better than Juniper at cloud building and wireless LAN with Aruba?

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