Juniper floats Contrail Insights for cloud, adds AI-driven network for Mist

Juniper floats Contrail Insights for cloud, adds AI-driven network for Mist

At its NXTWORK conference in Las Vegas, Juniper Networks announced on Monday new capabilities for its Mist and Contrail solutions that were designed to help its enterprise customers. For Mist, Juniper announced what it claimed was the first “AI Driven Self Diving Network” for enterprises that use Mist’s AI engine. It also uses Mist’s microservices cloud to streamline IT operations to help simplify troubleshooting across both wired and wireless networks.

Using Mist’s integrated AI-engine, which is called Marvis, the Mist platform identifies the root cause of issues across various IT domains, such as WLAN, LAN, WAN and security, and automatically resolves them when possible. If the issue is outside the domain of the access network, Marvis will provide a set of recommended actions to help IT managers resolve their issues.

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Juniper also announced its Marvis Actions, which takes the analytics generated by Mist’s artificial intelligence (AI) engine to come up with actionable insights for IT managers. Juniper said Marvis Actions was a framework for self-driving networks.

Marvis also delivers wired visibility for third-party switches, proactively identifying issues, such as inactive/missing VLANs, firmware compliance, PoE budget constraints and insight into wireless users’ issues caused by wired problems. The Marvis Actions dashboard is a new capability within Mist’s Marvis Virtual Network Assistant (VNA) Service.

RELATED: Juniper Networks’ struggle for profitability continues in Q3 as service provider business slumps

Earlier this year, Juniper bought wireless local area network (WLAN) vendor Mist Systems for $405 million in cash, and that investment is already paying off. During Juniper’s third quarter earnings call last month, CEO Rami Rahim said Mist customer base has grown 42% since Juniper closed the deal in its fiscal second quarter, and doubled year-over-year.

“It’s also worth mentioning we secured over 100 new Mist customer proof-of-concepts in just this past quarter, more than 80% of which included an EX or SRX opportunity,” Rahim said on the earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “We believe we have just scratched the surface of Mist potential and we are investing to further monetize our existing customer base and capture new logos as the industry transitions to WiFi 6 and the AI driven enterprise.”

Juniper’s Contrail Insights is the newest addition to Juniper’s Contrail Enterprise Multicloud platform. With data center monitoring continuing to increase in complexity as more infrastructure abstractions, services and software are stacked up to build cloud-native applications, Contrail Insights provides historical and real-time visibility to help cut through the clutter.

Contrail Insights is able to provide the network visibility by using machine learning (ML) for the historical data and real-time streaming telemetry. It also includes service-level and fine-grained observation capabilities for data center infrastructure from overlay and underlay networks’ physical and virtual services and their workloads. The data center topology heat map allows operators to see their entire data center and then drill down to inspect localized issues.

Contrail Insights has a new “top talkers” query engine with tabular and charted views. Coupled with drill-down query filtering and a tie-in to topological path finding, these Contrail Insights diagnostics enable engineers to proactively mitigate issues such as network congestion and resource contention.

Contrail Insights’ overlay-underlay correlation and path finding features help operators uncover root cause by mapping virtual infrastructure for workloads and network abstractions down upon the physical infrastructure and network. In data center underlay physical networks, where overlay traffic is typically load-balanced across the fabric, Contrail Insights path finding features show the topology heat map to pinpoint problems during troubleshooting.

“We are excited to offer customers a comprehensive Contrail solution with the addition of Contrail Insights,” said Juniper Networks CTO Bikash Koley, in a statement. “Cloud frameworks within data centers have provided tremendous infrastructure automation, but also bring about added operational complexity. We have designed Contrail Insights to bring visibility to troubleshooting and analytics issues faced today with powerful tools for discovery and analysis through all layers of the network.”

Both the Contrail Insights and Mist announcements show an increased focus on the enterprise sector by Juniper, especially as its service provider division has struggled ahead of larger 5G and 400G deployments next year. Mist also gives Juniper a louder voice in the wireless sector.

In the third quarter, Juniper’s cloud business posted revenues of $272 million in the third quarter, which was a 6% year-over-year increase, while its enterprise sector was up 8% to $408 million. On the downside, Juniper’s service provider segment was down 17% year-over-year to $453 million, primarily due to routing.

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