The News: Juniper Paragon Automation is a modular portfolio of cloud-native software applications that is designed to deliver closed-loop automation in the most demanding 5G and multi-cloud environments. These solutions target translating business intent into real-world performance across the lifecycle of a network and services. They seek to eliminate manual tasks and processes, empowering operations teams to work more quickly, efficiently and accurately. And they aim to protect customers and business by measuring real service quality on the data plane, assuring that users have a consistent, high-quality experience throughout the life of their service. Read more at the Juniper blog.
Juniper Wants to Know: Are You Experience-First? Have You Ever Been Experience-First?
Analyst Take: Juniper earns kudos for developing new products that deliver on its “Experience-First Networking” strategy and organization-wide marketing message. The new Juniper Paragon Automation solution set is built for swiftly expanding 5G and multi-cloud environments. To meet the unique demands of 5G and cloud, Paragon Automation is fully cloud-native and microservices-based, designed specifically to bring flexibility, elasticity, and resiliency to the network.
To review, Juniper rolled out the company’s “Experience-First Networking” strategy to kick-off 2021, combining the twin goals of enabling simple operations and providing the portfolio that allows customers to attain a superior experience. From my perspective, Juniper’s portfolio is now better aligned to deliver the three “As” of AI Ops, Assurance, and Automation that are essential to realizing its Experience-First Networking vision.
Juniper is committed to focusing on establishing market leadership in the three major business domains of cloud, service provider, and enterprise. By developing a connected security approach that enables cloud-ready data centers, automated WAN solutions, and AI-driven enterprises, Juniper proposes to drive the enablement of the superior experience across all three domains. In fact, Juniper is betting that by focusing its portfolio development and marketing to lead in the automated WAN, AI-driven enterprise, and cloud data center areas that it can lock-in its growth targets for the next three years across FY2021 to FY2023.
In particular, Juniper seeks to lead the automated WAN market by exploiting the rapidly growing demand for 400G refresh, 5G buildout, and automation across the WAN realm. I believe Juniper can establish key differentiation by stressing its rapid support of in-line MACsec for 400G implementations and delivering a 5G-ready Metro portfolio that leverages its acquired Netrounds assurance and automation assets as well as supporting NETSIA open source market objectives in accelerating 5G Open RAN adoption.
For AI-driven enterprise, Juniper seeks to assert AI leadership from “client to cloud” by ensuring that cloud-delivered wired and wireless (e.g., WLAN) services scale without interruption and powering ecosystem-wide secure WAN transformation. Juniper is touting the integration of the recently acquired 128 Technology (128T) SD-WAN assets with its Mist AI technology to deliver a more differentiated user experience and comprehensive AI-driven WAN operations. I foresee Juniper using 128T’s identity driven routing and built-in zero trust security capabilities to obtain key differentiation in the heavily crowded SD-WAN market, although timely execution of the 128T assets with Mist across the portfolio remains crucial. This is especially important as the SD-WAN market already includes formidable foes like VMware, Cisco, HPE, Fortinet, and Versa in nascent leadership positions.
In pursuing leadership throughout the automated cloud data center (DC) realm, Juniper is leveraging its recently purchased Apstra assets and investing more in closed loop, intent-based fabric management with the objective of enabling the cloud majors and high-end enterprises to streamline the experience of deploying and operating modern data centers. Juniper seeks to win cloud DCs, drive high-end firewall attach to service provider/enterprise/cloud DCs, and expand the acceptance of application-aware DC automation. Specifically, Juniper is targeting 400G upgrade opportunities, which Juniper estimates will constitute 45% of DC switching by FY 2023.
Juniper Experience-First Strategy: Paragon Automation Delivers the Goods
Juniper is promoting Paragon Automation as the toolset needed to bring Experience-First Networking to businesses. From my perspective, Juniper is successfully executing the advancement of its strategic message by fully aligning the claimed benefits of Paragon Automation with its Experience-First vision that includes:
- Assure consistently excellent experiences, using active testing to validate the performance of services before activated, immediately after and throughout their life.
- Minimize risk by modeling and analyzing new services, buildouts and optimizations before implementation, reducing failures and service level agreement (SLA) penalties.
- Deploy new services more quickly and accurately with the ability to automatically deploy networks and activate services at scale.
- Turn network insights into predictive actions, so potential issues can be fixed before users even know there is a problem.
- Maximize return on network investments by optimizing path computation and utilization of network resources.
- Continually improve network and services with continuous learning through network-focused ML analytics.
I anticipate the new Juniper Paragon Automation proposition will boost Juniper’s overall portfolio differentiation goals as the solution crystallizes its entire automation proposition. This gives Juniper a notable contrast to rival portfolios that tend to have fragmented automation messages that are spread across different parts of their portfolio.
Of importance, the Paragon Automation combines previously disparate assets Juniper had accumulated into a cohesive solution blending specialized components. This includes Paragon Pathfinder (formerly NorthStar), Paragon Planner (formerly NorthStar Planner), Paragon Active Assurance (formerly Netrounds), Paragaon Insights (formerly Healthbot) as well as a partnership with Anuta Networks in using the Anuta ATOM platform to provide multivendor configuration and compliance management.
Juniper Experience-First Networking Strategy: Key Takeaways
I view the formation of Juniper Paragon Automation as boding well for Juniper’s prospects in further assimilating its 128T assets to make deeper inroads into the AI-driven enterprise realm as well as successfully integrating its Apstra assets to alter the competitive dynamics within the automated cloud DC realm.
I also believe Juniper can further augment its Experience-First portfolio development strategy by sharpening its 5G messaging beyond support for open source 5G initiatives such as Open RAN. Juniper needs to place bets on evolving 5G areas that the company can seize early mind share such as the distinct deployment benefits of mmWave in allowing service providers to advance their FWA deployments, especially including harder to serve rural and suburban communities, and firming up the business case for accelerated enterprise adoption of private 5G.
Juniper’s debut of Paragon Automation demonstrates the ability to execute on its Experience-First Networking strategy. The formation of Paragon Automation indicates Juniper has the blueprint to bolster its portfolio through a well-executed acquisition strategy that most recently includes 128T and Apstra. Through Paragon Automation, Juniper is ready to win new mind share and move the needle across the automated WAN, AI-driven enterprise, and automated cloud DC market realms.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
Other insights from Futurum Research:
Juniper Networks Tops Expectations on Strong Demand and Execution
Juniper Reveals Data Center Intentions with Apstra Acquisition
Juniper Acquires 128 Technology to Swiftly Differentiate its SD-WAN Portfolio but Must Prove Market Readiness
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The original version of this article was first published on Futurum Research.
Ron is an experienced research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets. He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including software and services, infrastructure, 5G/IoT, AI/analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.