Archive for November 2017

At its Advanced Technology Fair, Cisco provided a glimpse of the near future by demonstrating how artificial intelligence can be used to improve meetings.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in the past few years. What was once something only witnessed in science fiction has now become very real with AIs playing poker, telling us when to leave for the airport and letting us know what the weather will be like tomorrow. In the business world, AI has been used to improve cybersecurity and help contact center agents be smarter but it has yet to do is make workers more productive in any significant way but that will change soon.

Nov
16
2017

Cisco survey shows workers are ready for AI-enabled meetings.

In the “Iron Man” series, business tycoon Tony Stark had a virtual assistant named JARVIS (acronym of Just A Rather Very Intelligent System). JARVIS would notify Tony of appointments with Pepper Potts, pull up schematics of a super-secret weapon Stark Industries is working on, or remind him of things he may have forgotten, like Pepper’s birthday. The effectiveness of JARVIS in keeping Tony on track makes one wonder if people today would be ready for a JARVIS-like virtual assistant in the workplace.

Last week at the OpenStack Summit in Sydney, Australia, networking vendor Juniper announced a number of new capabilities to its Contrail Cloud platform to help telcos realize the benefits of migrating to a cloud architecture faster.  Network service providers are under tremendous pressure to keep up with cloud providers requiring them to modernize their environments.  However, many of the technologies they need today, such as Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), are either immature, do not interoperate with other vendors or require new skills to deploy.

At the event, Juniper announced a number of updates to Contrail Cloud as well as a reference architecture and professional services to help their telco customers overcome these obstacles.  When Juniper acquired Contrail about five years ago, one of its strengths was that it’s an open product and Juniper kept it that way.

For those not familiar with Contrail Cloud, it’s a cloud platform designed for service providers to run NFV services on instead of having to deploy dedicated appliances like firewalls, routers and VPN concentrators. The product also allows for service chaining so different network services can take different paths through the network.  For example, traffic coming in from unsecured locations may need to pass through an IPS, firewall and router where traffic emanating from a secure location might only need to be sent to the router.  Historically all traffic would have to pass through all devices and now telco can create multiple service chains. This can greatly improve performance, security and provisioning times for businesses that use the services of that particular telco.

There were four elements to the Juniper announcement:

  • AppFormix Integration. Juniper acquired NFV service assurance vendor AppFormix in 2016. The product helps Juniper customers understand how the NFV based services are performing so they can be tuned and tweaked.  The problem was that the data would have to be exported out of Contrail and imported into AppFormix slowing down the process of understanding what the data means.  Now the product is part of Contrail Cloud and the integrated product can collect data in real time and use machine learning to discover new insights faster.  The information can then be used to fine tune the services.  Long term this should be fully automated but I expect telcos to take a crawl-walk-run approach where they’ll first use the data to inform them of what changes to make and then automate down the line when a comfort level is reached.
  • Increased collaboration with Red Hat. Juniper has had a relationship with Red Hat for years but has expanded it. Cloud Contrail is now integrated with Red Hat’s highly scalable OpenStack infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution and the open, massively scalable Ceph storage product.  The Red Hat – Contrail integration eliminates many of the integration and interoperability problems that arise when products from two vendors are brought together.  Telcos need to move into cloud solutions faster and this can shorten deployment times by months.
  • Pre-Validated Virtualized Network Functions. Appliances may have been resource inefficient but they were straightforward to deploy.  The vendor would ensure that the hardware and software on the appliance was finely tuned to the needs of the function.  As things have gotten more open and virtualized, resource efficiency has gone through the roof.  Also, service providers are free to use a variety of hardware solutions, including white box which should lead to lower cost services available faster.  The problem is the complexity in getting things to work together.  Juniper now offers a pre-validated version of Contrail Cloud with a vetted hardware and software compatibility list.  Juniper includes validated versions that work with its own vSRX virtual firewall and Affirmed Networks Mobile Content Cloud virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) with more third party solutions on the roadmap.  The joint offering with Affirmed will be of particular value to mobile operators that are looking to move to a distributed cloud architecture.
  • Contrail Cloud Managed Service Offering. For telcos that do not have the skills or do not want to run cloud platform, Juniper is now offering an end to end managed service where it will build and operate the cloud infrastructure on behalf of its customer. This includes 24×7 solution support and high touch professional services designed to ensure that the customers that adopt Contrail Cloud are getting full value out of the product.

Businesses of all sizes rely on their telcos to provide the network and mobile services required to let them compete effectively.  Telcos must now embrace cloud architectures so they can roll out new services faster, with greater security and at lower prices while maintaining or increasing their level of profitability.  Juniper’s Contrail Cloud offerings takes much of the complexity out of the equation ensuring that teclos can meet the increasing demands of their business customers.

Startup Nyansa adds machine learning to its Voyance user performance management tool, enabling it to provide proactive remediation advice.

Over the past decade, network management tools have evolved from being fault based to performance based. This has become a critical element in running infrastructure because faults don’t matter as much.

That might seem like a strange thing to say, but consider the fact that critical infrastructure such as switches, routers, Wi-Fi access points and servers are deployed in a way to protect against outages. Infrastructure is built so redundantly today that any hardware device can go down and its likely no one will notice.

Nvidia’s Holodeck shows how virtual and augmented reality can improve collaboration and speed up business decisions. Companies must get on board or be left behind.

Earlier this year, Nvidia unveiled its Holodeck. The product is a virtual world in which all of the laws of physics apply, so images cast shadows, objects experience gravity and objects act as they should.

Network modernization, software-defined networking, and virtualization have had a profound impact on network infrastructure. However, the one network device that has managed to stand tall and buck that trend is the router. Switches operate locally, so taking a high-priced switch out of a branch and replacing it with something a little lower-cost is straightforward as the operations there do not impact anything else. Even in the data center, enterprise IT organizations can experiment with white boxes running a software operating system to keep the environment contained.

The new version of SteelCentral provides an end-to-end view of the user experience, monitoring applications, network traffic, devices and infrastructure from one console.

Digital transformation is on every IT and business leader’s radar today. The path to it, though, may not be simple. While many industry pundits like to call out the likes of Uber and AirBnb, those digital natives didn’t have to worry about disrupting an existing business.



Insight and Influence Through Social Media
ZK Research: Home
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn
Facebook
RSS Feed
ZK Research is proudly powered by WordPress | Entries (RSS) | Comments (RSS) | Custom Theme by The Website Taylor