I recently had the privilege of attending the Juniper Networks AI in Action event in Las Vegas. It was a free public event that happened to be occurring at the same time as Cisco Live. This allowed me to invite some clients and colleagues who were already in town but were not as familiar with what Juniper is doing with their Mist platform. It was a short event (only a day and a half), but wow, did the Juniper team cram a ton of great content (and fun!) into the conference. I would be remiss not to give a massive shout-out to the coordinators and logistics team at Juniper for pulling off such a fantastic event.
The event started with a series of keynote speeches led by the Juniper AI-Driven Enterprise (AIDE) management team, including a welcome from Rami Rahim, the CEO of Juniper. In his remarks, Rahim called out the recent announcement that the Enterprise segment beat the service provider segment in sales for the first time in Juniper’s history. He also mentioned that although Juniper acquired Mist, there was almost a reverse acquisition as the Mist team has brought their culture and passion into the Juniper organization. Seeing the excitement and intensity of the management team in the following keynotes, you can tell they are not slowing down. The keynotes included hearing from Juniper clients in enterprise, education, retail, and events. We listened to the good and bad of how their massive rollouts went when they deployed the Mist system. There was a discussion of wired and wireless and the look toward SD-WAN. We even got a sneak peek at what’s coming from the Juniper acquisition of WiteSand and how identity and ease of access will be “Mist-ified.”
We also heard from Mike Toussaint from Gartner and his expectations of the Network of the Future. With a significant focus on how the network is no longer about the network (if it ever was) but about the business value, the network delivers. We are no longer measuring the network uptime in the number of 9s, but in the quality of the user experience. Like my colleague (and LinkedIn buddy) Sudheer Matta, VP of Product Management, said one of the first times I heard him, “Up is not always good.” As a networking professional, so much focus has previously been on if the network was up. Could I ping the routers and switches? Was Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) polling? If so, then we’re good. If a link was congested, we looked to fix it, but it became a critical action when it started to impact those “up” numbers.
These days, a large part of the networking world has shifted focus to the user experience. We used to use flow monitoring, link metrics, and predefined scripts to measure whether our critical applications were behaving as expected. We deployed sensors to measure how those user applications performed. Now, by using the Juniper Mist full-stack platform, we have visibility, troubleshooting tools, and AI to help us not only understand why a user had a poor experience, but also to head those off before they happen. Through a simple conversational interface with the Mist Platform’s AI (Marvis), we can ask who had a bad experience and drill down to get a root cause analysis of why, and even what steps we should take to prevent it from happening again. The entire “mean time to innocence” fire drill is now a matter of a conversation with Marvis.
Following these fantastic keynotes, we were invited to a great party thrown by the Juniper team. We met with our peers, the Juniper AIDE management team, and partners. I had a great time talking to Mike Bushong about Juniper’s data center business and how the Apstra product is revolutionizing the data center segment (be on the lookout for another article on Apstra, or drop me a line below if you don’t want to wait). Just as exciting was my discussion with Joel Crane from Hamina Wireless. Seeing an in-person demo of their forthcoming Wi-Fi design product and going hands-on solidified my excitement for this new tool, especially with the integration into the Mist platform. The party was fun, the music was great, and the food was tasty. But the best part was the great conversations I had.
The event’s second day was filled with deep-dive sessions on different topics in the AIDE ecosystem. I attended sessions on Juniper’s revolutionary SD-WAN implementation (I’ve written about it before, and it just keeps getting better), Wi-Fi 6E network design, and Automation using Mist’s API. Each of these sessions was led by Subject Matter Experts and let us dive deep into everything from how Session Smart Routing works, to the attenuation differences between 5Ghz and 6Ghz wireless networks. I hope that I’ll be able to see or hear recordings of the three sessions I couldn’t attend because those looked just as interesting!
So, to wrap this up, the event was a great display of the technology behind Juniper’s AIDE platform and capabilities and the commitment of Juniper to bringing the best experience to our clients and their users. It is no longer just about “speeds and feeds;” it’s about ensuring that our users have the best experience regardless of where they are or how they engage with our network.
If you’d like to hear more about the event or Juniper’s Mist platform, I’d love to set up a time to chat.