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The 5G Factor: A Look at Juniper Cloud Metro and the Role it Can Play in 5G Evolution

On this episode of The 5G Factor, part of The Futurum Tech Webcast, I’m joined by fellow analyst and colleague Ron Westfall to talk about 5G network builds and some of the things 5G network decision-makers should consider when they are focused on things like streamlined builds, operational capabilities that provide AI-powered intelligence and end to end automation, along with all things sustainability, which is a key business focus today. And when I mention sustainability, that includes sustainability in operations, sustainable systems overall, and sustainable architecture.

Thinking all things 5G networks means that we’re going to take a deep dive into Juniper’s Cloud Metro offering and the role it is playing in all things related to 5G network builds.

Our conversation included the following touchpoints:

What is Cloud Metro and why is it important to the 5G ecosystem? We started by talking about the 5G ecosystem as a whole. As we move from 2G, to 3G to 4G to 5G, we are looking at more connected devices than ever before – to the tune of 10x to 100x. We are looking at 1000X mobile volume data, and a 10x-100x increase in data rates. Latency is also a key part of this equation, and we’re looking at 5X in lower latency performance.

The 5G Factor: A Look at Juniper Cloud Metro and the Role it Can Play in 5G Evolution
Image Credit: Juniper

That’s where Juniper Cloud Metro comes in, which Juniper positions as being all about Volume, Velocity, and Variety.

Metro sits in the middle of apps shifting service delivery into the Metro platform. Cloud Metro is the place where video caching is being distributed, where we’ll see 5G user planes and security gateways getting distributed, and also as we have a massive increase in workloads residing in edge cloud, applications moving to the edge will be pushing into Metro. Here’s a look at that in action:

The 5G Factor: A Look at Juniper Cloud Metro and the Role it Can Play in 5G Evolution
Image Credit: Juniper

So, essentially, Metro becomes the “new edge” representing some fairly substantial growth potential, including a rapidly growing edge computing market, with a whopping 50% of enterprise data being distributed in edge clouds in less than a two-year time period and metro transport traffic growing at an equally rapid pace, along with subscribers willing to pay more for a better experience and beyond.

The 5G Factor: A Look at Juniper Cloud Metro and the Role it Can Play in 5G Evolution
Image Credit: Juniper

Our conversation covered the elements of the Juniper Cloud Metro portfolio and how we see that portfolio driving innovation. This includes:

The 5G Factor: A Look at Juniper Cloud Metro and the Role it Can Play in 5G Evolution
Image Credit: Juniper

We discussed how the Juniper portfolio advances 5G network builds and took a dive into how cloud principles in general apply to metro networks in that they allow for resource pooling, automated operations, elastic scalability that can scale up and down as needed, along with secure and measured services with built-in security, Service SLA, and QoE which are all actively tested and assured.

Our conversation also covered how we view the Juniper Cloud Metro offering and how it is distinguished from what can be characterized as “retro metro.” Here are some of the key differences on that front:

The 5G Factor: A Look at Juniper Cloud Metro and the Role it Can Play in 5G Evolution
Image Credit: Juniper

Speaking of sustainability, there are some key reasons that 5G decision-makers should consider the Juniper Cloud Metro offering in areas such as sustainable operations, sustainable systems, and sustainability architecture. With a significant 86% of telecom leaders citing staffing shortages as their top industry challenge, moving away from manual operations makes knowledge transfer easier and jobs more enjoyable overall. From a growth standpoint, increased user expectations mean providing better service quality isn’t an option, it’s a business necessity, and of course being able to protect against security threats is key as well. Lastly, when organizations across the globe are focused on meeting and sustaining their carbon commitments, technology solutions that drive energy and space efficiency and which can help reduce e-waste are business mission critical.

The 5G Factor: A Look at Juniper Cloud Metro and the Role it Can Play in 5G Evolution
Image Credit: Juniper

Juniper Paragon Automation

We explored Juniper Paragon Automation, and how Juniper automation capabilities can help streamline 5G network builds and operations, as well as how this as-a-Service offering can help streamline 5G network builds and operations by providing capabilities like AI-enabled intelligence and end-to-end automation. It’s also attractive that customers can experience AI-enabled device onboarding as a service, which is the #1 primary use case identified by CSPs for SaaS automation.

The 5G Factor: A Look at Juniper Cloud Metro and the Role it Can Play in 5G Evolution
Image Credit: Juniper

These are the highlights, and for the full details on Juniper Cloud Metro and the role it might be able to help organizations play as they embrace 5G evolution, you can watch the full episode of this webcast here:

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Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we ask that you do not treat us as such.

Transcript:

Shelly Kramer: Hello, and welcome to the 5G Factor. I’m Shelly Kramer, principal analyst here at Futurum Research, and for this series that is focused on all things 5G and the 5G ecosystem and which is part of our Futurum Tech webcast, I am joined by my colleague and fellow analyst here at Futurum, Ron Westfall. Hello, Ron. Good to see you.

Ron Westfall: Hey, good. Yeah, thank you, Shelly. Good day. And of course, it’s great to be here, especially after the momentous Mobile World Congress 2023 event. It was just great to see everybody again under the same roof, basically everybody being able to talk normally, communicate normally, and up to 90,000 people were in attendance, so it was just a thumbs up all around.

Shelly Kramer: It was thumbs up all around. Absolutely. So what we are going to talk about today on this episode of the 5G Factor, we’re going to take a look at Juniper’s Cloud Metro offering and kind of take a dive into the role that we see it playing in 5G evolution. So 5G network builds. 5G network builds, when it comes to 5G network builds. There are some key things that decision makers should consider when they’re focusing on things like streamlined builds, operational capabilities that provide AI-powered intelligence and end-to-end automation. We also know decision makers are paying attention to all things sustainability, which is a key business focus today. And when I mention sustainability, that includes sustainability and operations, sustainable systems overall, and of course sustainable architecture. So thinking all things 5G networks, we’re naturally going to highlight Juniper’s Cloud Metro offering. And so let’s start a little bit by talking about the 5G ecosystem as a whole. So as we move from 2G to 3G, to 4G to 5G (and 6G), we’re looking at more connected devices than ever before.

Anyone listening to this show probably knows that, right? More connected devices than ever before. We’re looking at 1,000 times increase in mobile volume data and amazing increases in data rates and latency is also a part of this equation. And we’re looking at a 5x lower latency performance. So we’ve got lots of things that are going on here, and that’s really where Juniper Cloud Metro comes in. And Juniper positions this as being all about volume, velocity, and variety. And Metro sits in the middle of apps that are shifting service delivery into the Metro platform. And it’s a place where things like video caching is being distributed and we’ll see 5G user planes and security gateways being distributed and we’ll also have a massive increase in workloads that are residing in edge cloud applications being moved to the edge. All of these things will be pushing into Metro. And that’s, I think, part of what makes this such a valuable solution. Ron, essentially the way that I look at it is that Metro kind of becomes the new Edge. What do you think about that?

Ron Westfall: Well, I think that’s a very apt characterization. I think we’re seeing that not just at Mobile Wolf Congress where Juniper raised both its profile and its game, I believe, but also we’re looking at various critical industry trends that are driving the Metro to becoming the new Edge, really where all the action is going on or certainly critical portions of the action is going on. And so I view it as this is where our connectivity, edge cloud hosting and service experience outcomes are really converging. And this includes, I think, information that we’re seeing that’s basically a consensus. For example, in the consumer side, we see that many of them are willing to pay for a premium service, that is to have quality of experience assurances that can guarantee something like cloud gaming or video surveillance, and things of that nature. But I think it’s not just about consumers, it’s certainly about the business side, the enterprise side.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely.

Ron Westfall: And what I think is important here is that enterprise data will be increasingly distributed throughout Edge clouds. In fact, by the year of 2025, over half of this traffic will be residing in that environment. And so this is why it really becomes imperative to know what is going on with Metro Cloud in terms of, for example, that we can anticipate that Metro traffic will increase by fivefold, that is 500% over the next few years through 2027. So that reinforces the fact like, yes, this is the new Edge, Metro cloud is where the action is happening, and this is resulting in projections like by the end of the decade, this will be a $500 billion business. Let me rephrase that. It’ll be a half trillion dollar business by the end of the decade. So already we’re talking multi-billions in the very near turn. And so this is definitely a space that, one, a supplier needs to bet on, but it’s also a very smart, solid bet. And that’s why I see the Juniper Cloud Metro portfolio is really teed up to really take advantage of these opportunities.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. To follow on your comments with some additional stats that I think are interesting is, well, by 2022, we’re already there, 82% of video IP traffic, video caching is getting distributed into Metro. And so we’re seeing mobile data traffic, which will increase 54% by 2025. And by 2025, 30% of workloads will reside in Edge Cloud. So what you’ve got is you’ve got Metro, and then you’ve got all of these things around it kind of feeding into it. And that’s really where I think the key part of the value proposition there is.

Ron Westfall: Oh, I agree wholeheartedly. And I think it’s important to, first of all, understand that Cloud Metro, yeah, it’s definitely the space that people have to pay attention to. But also it’s important to understand why the Juniper Cloud Metro portfolio is very well-suited for meeting these demands, but also in particular to 5G network innovation, but also builds and scaling and so forth. And so this is an opportunity to take a snapshot of the Juniper Cloud Metro portfolio and the areas where it excels. I think first of all, we have to have a portfolio that is purpose-built and purpose developed to support sustainable operations. And that includes automation capabilities. We, I think, understand that automation is going to be critical to enable scaling at these massive levels. There’s just no way around it. You cannot do it with manual legacy approaches. And that has to be combined with AI-enabled engines, that is using AI to assure that you know what is going on with the network, but also to be able to proactively respond to emerging, say security threats or to be able to assign distributed workloads on the most intelligent real-time basis.

And then finally taking advantage of all these cloud capabilities, that is as-a-service flexibility that many organizations appreciate when it comes to, for example, meeting time to market challenges and so forth. But it’s not just about sustainable operations, it’s about sustainable systems. And I see the ACX7000 family that Juniper offers really addresses this all the way from the low end to the high end in terms of meeting sustainable systems demands. For example, we have the ACX7024 pizza box type solution that meets, for example, small business requirements or branch office requirements and other important requirements. It just depends on what the customer needs. Certainly when it comes to the CSP, they want to be able to use these types of products to meet a broader array of customers.

But also at the high end, you have the new ACX7908 product; that it can meet all of these intense scaling demands on a flexible agile basis with security assurances. And so this is, I think, reinforcing the ability for Juniper to meet sustainable architecture needs. So I see that they’ve done a lot of grid work in terms of investing in, for example, IP services fabric capabilities, which are important for hybrid cloud and multi-cloud implementations, but also integrating that with embedded service assurance and built-in zero trust security.

Shelly Kramer: That’s my favorite part, built-in zero trust security, baked-in security! It’s my favorite part of any equation.

Ron Westfall: Exactly. Amen. And so what is different here is it has to be native, it has to be built in. We can’t no longer depend on solutions that are more bolted in or only applicable to specific applications, specific networks and so forth. It really has to be based on this IP services fabric approach. So these are, I think, our key characteristics that distinguish the Juniper portfolio, but more importantly, differentiate it from competing solutions.

Shelly Kramer: I agree, absolutely. Well, and I think it’s worth mentioning too, that some of these members of the ACX7000 family are actually somewhat new, the ACX7024, which is the one you mentioned first, which is kind of a smaller system going all the way up to the ACX7908, which is a much bigger system. So these are kind of new offerings, and I think they’re definitely worth knowing about and taking a look at as you assess your own needs.

Ron Westfall: I agree. Yeah, I think that ACX family’s just that, it’s flexible, it’s able to not only address any deployment scenario that ACSP or a cloud provider or any other player who is addressing the 5G networking builds, but again, it’s about all of these capabilities combined together in a package that definitely is, I think, optimal for enabling all of these capabilities that we’ve already highlighted in terms of Cloud Metro environments.

Shelly Kramer: Right. Well, and I think too, for me, something that’s incredibly important is that based on this family of offerings, what you’ve got is a situation where Juniper meeting you where you are, in your journey. There’s a solution for everyone, a solution for your specific needs, for your specific business size, that sort of thing. I think that’s really important because this isn’t a kind of one size fits all situation.

Ron Westfall: Exactly. In fact, when it comes to, for example, performance metrics, what we see is that Juniper is delivering scalability from one gig all the way up to 345 terabits. So that is, I think, a key breakthrough. And it’s not just at the system level, it’s also at the per slot line card level. For example, they can deliver 21.6 terabits per line card, and it’s already purpose-built and ready for 800 gig and 1.6 terabits scenarios. And what’s important in addition to that is the fact that it has that flexibility. So it can go from port speeds all the way down to one gig, but all the way up to 800 gig plus. So we know that customers need that for their evolving deployment scenarios. And that certainly applies to 5G network deployments, particularly a standalone kicks in and 5G advance kicks in later on.

But I think it’s also about the fact that you have, I think, clear differentiation when it comes to the highest, for example, 400 gig density, that’s up to 54 ports. And this, I think, is something that differentiates Juniper from players like Cisco. And I think it’s also important to note that it supports highest timing precision accuracy. That is class D verification. And where this is important is again about syncing across multi-network scenarios, across multi-cloud scenarios, multi-vendor implementations, but also upstream applications and so forth. And I think, also, it’s very impressive. It has adaptive power capabilities, so it’s modular, removable power shelves that can meet each scenario that we already touched on. But what I think is equally impressive, it has titanium grade power efficiency ratings. So what’s not to like in that particular regard, but I think where the rubber really hits the road is like, okay, these capabilities are built in, but what is the wow factor? What is it delivering? Well, for example, up to 70% power consumption improvements. So hello, sustainability. That’s really-

Shelly Kramer: That’s a big deal.

Ron Westfall: …a point to help. Yeah, help any CSB, any organization out there in terms of meeting their ESG ambitions, for example. But it’s also lowering total cost of ownership by 70%, improving space efficiency by over 50%, and again, delivering a longer system life cycles and so forth, that again, reinforces that need to meet sustainability goals. So I think these are the highlights. These are, I think are the key reasons why Juniper has the goods when it comes to enabling 5G network optimization across Cloud Metro environments.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, I agree. So I wanted to touch here on basic cloud principles and how this applies to Metro networks. And I think that we would all agree that the beauty of cloud is in agility and in things like resource pooling and automated operations and scalability and security and measured services and things like that. So those are basic cloud principles, and that’s exactly what Cloud Metro provides for Juniper customers. And again, resource pooling. They’ve got one converged Metro instance for all use cases. And when it comes to automated operations, you’ve got a full service one network provisioning with cloud native tools, and you’ve got the ability to easily scale and optimize for EastWest traffic. And then you’ve got, as we talked about earlier, you’ve got built in security service SLA, QOE, all of which are actively tested and assured.

So this is Juniper doing the heavy lifting for you, for operators. You don’t have to worry about all of these separate pieces. It’s all part of the Cloud Metro offering. It’s all part of the lift that Juniper covers for customers. And I think that’s really it, as somebody who is charged with making technology decisions for our family of companies, what I’m looking for as a customer is I need you to make it as easy as possible for me. I need you to solve all of my problems at one fell swoop. And I also need to know that you’re there for me from a service level agreement, from a support level agreement, all of that sort of thing. And so when I see offerings like this that encapsulate exactly what it is I need, it moves me a lot closer to the buy button.

Ron Westfall: Right on. And I think you really touched on the core principles here. Resource pooling, that’s essential. That is leveraging server storage and switching capabilities throughout cloud fabrics, multi-cloud implementations. And yeah, I like the fact that you emphasize elastic scalability, the fact that it’s not about just scaling up, but scaling out to support network slicing and supporting microservices and so forth. So all these I think are going to be key capabilities that are going to drive 5G network innovation and monetization.

Shelly Kramer: And that’s really what CSPs are looking for, right?

Ron Westfall: Yes, indeed.

Shelly Kramer: This is the whole theme of Mobile World Congress was really – I felt like – I did a wrap up presentation with GSMA, the team at GSMA, and one of the things that came out in our conversations was that we collectively felt like the winner at Mobile World Congress 2023 was the ecosystem as a whole. There were so many solutions that really fit into this is how we level up, this is how solutions that serve the ecosystem. This is solutions that really serve what we know customers want and need. And I think this fits into that.

Ron Westfall: Yeah, I agree. I think it wasn’t just about sustainability, sustainability and sustainability, it was definitely about the ecosystem and how it can help fulfill those goals. But in terms of, again, driving applications that are meeting customer needs, being able to again, use capabilities that basically the CSP is allowing developers to take advantage of and so forth. So I mean, a lot of key takeaways came out of the show that address what the Cloud Metro is so well-suited for, and I think this is an opportunity to shine a little more spotlight on the Cloud Metro and why it’s so different from what could be characterized as the Retro Metro.

Shelly Kramer: The Retro Metro. That was my next thing I was going to bring up. So let’s talk about how can we distinguish the Cloud Metro offering from Retro Metro?

Ron Westfall: Yeah, I think it really touches on three care areas. One is operations, one is at the systems level, and finally the architecture. And we’ve already teased this, I think we’ve addressed this some, but now we can crystallize it even more. I think with the Retro Metro, we are still dealing with this focus on devices and yes, devices are important, but we also need to be able to optimize devices in terms of how they work within a service experience. So really it’s about experience-first networking. I think that’s one way to definitely look at it. And this is, I believe correlating strongly with moving away from those manual operations that are definitely not going to be able to meet the new demands of 5G networks, particularly as standalone implementations really take off. It’s really about cloud-delivered automation and there’s just no way around that.

And what’s interesting is that I think we definitely saw the cloud players step up also at the show, that there’s more keen interest in working with the operators and it’s going to vary from operator to operator to what magnitude they want to work with the cloud providers. They already are, the magnitude is about how much of the capabilities they want to entrust to a third party cloud provider. And so yes, for customer-facing portals and things of that, the cloud is very well-suited, but when it comes to core network functions, it’s going to vary. You have, for example, one player like Verizon and saying, we’re going to keep this in-house. And a player like AT&T saying, oh, right, we’re going to actually act on enabling these capabilities with a strategic partner and all kinds of various degrees in between. And what this is leading to is that the systems are no longer about just traffic aggregation, but enabling these feature sets that make scaling and aggregation a lot more flexible.

That is, it’s tuned to workload optimization. It’s like it doesn’t matter where the workload is, we’re going to be able to assure that you can make it deliver that experience-first networking that the customer is going to be satisfied with what is going on, in terms of their new 5G network capabilities. It’s also about getting away from monolithic power designs. Again, having those modular power capabilities that are again optimized for energy efficiency. No longer are we having to basically try to shoehorn power efficiency ratings. It’s more about new systems like the Juniper Cloud Metro portfolio that enable this. And then finally, the architecture, we already touched on being able to scale out and also scale up on a much more massive level. But it’s also about things like not relying on passive assurance anymore. It’s about having that active assurance that can enable things like proactive monitoring, being able to alert the CSP monitoring teams about emerging cybersecurity threats, because as we know with the transition toward clouds, they have a more exposed surface attack. And so you definitely need that zero trust, zero architecture built in from the beginning.

And then also it’s just those, all these things combine together in a cohesive solution set that definitely gives the operator more confidence to be able to accelerate these 5G network builds and focus more on, again, the service innovation, being able to focus more on optimizing the experience and getting away with the nuts and bolts aspects of delivering services.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, I wanted to move and touch a little bit about…we’ve talked about sustainability, we’ve talked about how to think about it and how you get to sustainable business growth. And part of what Juniper has identified is really that sustainable business growth is all about people and planet and profit. And it’s always interesting to see that because everybody breaks up sustainability in different ways. And so part of a challenge as it relates to people is how do you sustain your skilled staff? In some research done recently, 86% of telco execs named the skilled staff shortage as the number one industry challenge. I think across the board in the industry, in the tech industry in general, that’s a common challenge. People want work-life balance and probably more so now than ever before, especially I think some of this is a generational thing. Some of this is coming out of navigating a global pandemic, but work-life balance is important to teams.

The ability to transfer knowledge amongst and within your teams is a really important part of the people challenge. And then of course you’ve got manual operations are not sustainable. You’ve got chances for human error, all that sort of thing, and so that’s really where AIOps and automation especially are so important. And then you’ve got planet and everyone is focused on their sustainability commitments, the fact that they made them. And now what’s happening is people are going, oh my gosh, we planted this flag in sustainability and we promised that we were going to have such and such accomplished by 2025. Oh my god, that’s two years away. What are we going to do? Or 2030. And so you’ve got the new ITU standard, which is all about reducing greenhouse gas emission from 45% from 2020 to 2030. Well, I mean, we’re already on that journey.

So organizations are highly focused on how to do that. GSMA net carbon emissions are focused on our net-zero by 2050, seems really far away. In a blink of an eye, we’re going to be going, oh my gosh. And then you’ve got energy and space efficiency and technology longevity and all of those things around reducing e-waste. So that’s a part of the sustainability equation. And then you’ve got sustaining, you’ve got profit and about sustaining profitable growth. And so we touched on this a little bit earlier, but you’ve got 5x Metro bandwidth growth from 2021 to 2027. At the current cost this is not sustainable. You’ve got users who increasingly reset their expectations. They want better service in every way, everything across the board, and so organizations are focused on reducing churn. And then you’ve got expanded security threats and people are very, very concerned about protecting distributed devices, data and users. All of these things are an important part of sustainable business growth. Retro Metro addressed some of those, but I think the Cloud Metro platform really does a great job of helping get arms around these issues in a much more comprehensive way.

Ron Westfall: I agree. I think that was a major takeaway from the Mobile World Congress event. European operators, I believe, are even more focused on meeting their sustainability goals and in the process avoiding accusations of greenwashing. And I think it really came to the forefront because of recent geopolitical events, for example, with the clash between Russia and Ukraine, energy suddenly became very important for European operators and-

Shelly Kramer: And very expensive.

Ron Westfall: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And it slowed down some 5G network builds. Thankfully, I believe we have, now, more stability in that regard. There’s been the adaptation to getting energy supplies from other parts of the world, and that I think is giving the European operators more confidence to build. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that energy is very much central to their planning. And that certainly feeds into meeting their ESG goals. And that’s not to say that North American and Asia-Pacific and other parts of the world are certainly focused on that, but it was just more acute at Europe, and I think that was certainly something that was a very deep impression from the show.

Shelly Kramer: I have to say, every time I’m in Europe, I walk away impressed and embarrassed, impressed by them and their efforts and embarrassed on behalf of all of the United States of America because we are not close, we not close to – I mean everything across the board, from when you go to an event like Mobile World Congress, I mean there’s composting that’s available. There’s not water bottles all over the place, that plastic cups that are in meeting rooms are made of recycled materials. Airports, when you’re on your way to Mobile World Congress, airports like Heathrow does a terrific job of really publicizing, this entire facility is heated and cooled by way of sustainable power or whatever. So it’s just really interesting the strides that they’re making certainly in the European market. And so when you are a vendor serving that market, this is more important than ever.

Ron Westfall: No doubt. And I think those are good examples I think you’re seeing at hotels, airports, public facilities, the fact that they are developing these facilities according to ambitious environmental goals. And we’re seeing progress, I believe, in other parts of the world, including the US. But yes, Europe is at the forefront. I believe that.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, we have some ways to go before we catch up. So I want to talk now a little bit about, I touched on automation a little bit and now I want to go and talk about network builds and operations and how Juniper’s automation capabilities, like Juniper Paragon Automation. What kind of role can they play in helping to streamline 5G network builds and operations?

Ron Westfall: Well, I think it’s critical, and I think this is another area where I think Juniper has done very good work in terms of portfolio development, but also marketing and branding. Something that sometimes doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. I think by attaching Paragon to their automation proposition, that is Paragon Automation as a service, that helps distinguish Juniper from competing solutions and portfolios. Where you see automation is, yeah, it’s there, but it’s like it’s distributed and this product set and it’s distributed in another product set. In other words, the proposition’s not as cohesive. And so I think this is an advantage that Juniper could definitely drive throughout 2023. And what’s important here is that it’s cloud-delivered. I think we are repeating ourselves somewhat, but it’s just so important because that’s the only way you’re going to get instant, cost efficient deployments versus the Retro Metro implementations.

And again, it’s about enabling that platform approach so that all the use cases are supported. You’re not having to again be silo bound and say supporting a particular vertical or supporting a specific set of applications. It really is just that capability that will make a difference. And it’s not just about the cloud capabilities, which also is about the AI engines. And I think once again, Juniper has done a great job of recognizing this early on and distributing across their entire portfolios, not just about, okay, here’s one set of products again. So this is about detecting issues that humans quite simply can miss. So I think we understand that fully, especially in these emerging 5G network builds, but it’s also about identifying the alarms that matter the most. And we’ve seen this so many times where ops teams are just overloaded by alarms, but a lot of them are false or they’re repetitive and they get tied up and it makes it a lot harder to identify a threat.

And when it comes to, say, for example, a ransomware threat, that could be devastating for an organization. If some organizations get shut down, up to a third of the workforce can be laid off as a result of that attack, or many executives have to resign as a result. So this is something that definitely is at the forefront. And thankfully it’s tied into the overall Cloud Metro portfolio.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely.

Ron Westfall: But it’s also about maintaining continuous innovation. It’s not just about DevOps, but net DevOps and set DevOps. So I think these are important because it’s about, again, that collaboration between the supplier, certainly Juniper and Partners, but also the customers. So this is something that is already built in with the Paragon proposition. And again, it’s about fulfilling those sustainable and ESG goals. And that is definitely something that is going to drive a lot more purchasing decisions and decision-making. So I think that’s something that will resonate even more. And I touched on-

Shelly Kramer: And you have to stop talking because you’ve been talking a really long time.

Ron Westfall: Well, now I’m handing off to you, I am.

Shelly Kramer: I’m going to jump in and say, the thing to me that I love about Paragon’s automation as a service is that today organizations are focused on operating with lean teams and doing less with more. So what you’ve got when it’s cloud delivered, you’ve got that, it’s an instant cost effective deployment, and you’ve got the fact that it’s use case focused for real business outcomes. So again, it’s not this you have to buy into, ‘oh, we’re going to make a difference in some ephemeral way.’ This is really, really dialed into use case focused, instant deployment. There’s an easy button that, and seriously, I always want the easy button. There’s an easy button though with a simple UX and UI and guided workflows. Who doesn’t want that? You talked about continuous innovation with DevOps. The AI-enabled part of this equation is AI can detect things that humans miss, I mean, in a way that we can’t possibly do.

And to your point about reducing the noise by the identifying alarms that matter and fixing issues before they impact experience and all those things. But what we’re seeing though is, okay, great, that sounds great, but what are the real outcomes that customers can expect? And to me, this says it all. You’re looking at a 50% reduction in deployment time, sold. You’re looking at 70% faster new case deployment, even better. And you’re talking about 40% cost reduction. So again, when we’re navigating a time that is best, the world over is best characterized as challenging macroeconomic conditions, when you have a value proposition that’s all about shortening time to value, easier to deploy and use, and significant as in 40% cost reduction, those are attention-getters.

Ron Westfall: Absolutely. And in fact, I think it also aligns directly with AI capabilities, again about giving the customer the CSPs, the flexibility to use, as a service, to really meet their needs on a cost effective basis, but also on a very flexible basis. And again, meeting those time-to-market, time-to-value goals. And I think what we’re seeing now is that when it comes to the use cases that the CSPs are emphasizing, that is being able to meet vertical needs, being able to develop new capabilities that deliver an experience-first networking capability, that SaaS automation is pretty much integral to this, that clearly you have to have this built in. And I think this is where Juniper investment and development has really paid off.

Shelly Kramer: I agree.

Ron Westfall: It’s about, again, making it easier for the customer to be able to use these capabilities to purchase these capabilities, to develop these capabilities. And so we’re no longer waiting around for software licenses that are delivered on many months’ basis. And if you need to customize it or upgrade it, then you’re stuck for another several months. And now we’re talking weeks, days, even hours, minutes. And so that is, I think going to be vital in terms of driving 5G network innovation.

Shelly Kramer: So as we wrap up this show, what do you think Juniper’s biggest challenge here is?

Ron Westfall: Well, I think it’s really about getting the operators and other partners to really focus on what is most important. And I think part of that is Cloud Metro has to be at the forefront of their planning. They just can’t be too bogged down in the old school ways of planning…how do we really make our 5G networks perform better? It’s about, again, having those cloud native capabilities and these built-in AI engines driving all of this evolution and being able to meet new challenges, meet new opportunities and so forth. And so, I’ll keep beating the drum on this. These are capabilities that you have to have, you just can’t stop and try to catch up on them.

And so this is what I think Juniper is excelling at in terms of their Cloud Metro portfolio, why it’s so essential to the 5G network of the future. That is certainly having an experience-first networking proposition, but also it’s about already having the portfolio that can meet the demands of the Cloud Metro. And that’s where all of this action is going to be happening, at least the vast majority of it when it comes to enabling any of these capabilities on a scalable, flexible level. So that I think is one major takeaway.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, I agree. I agree. Well, and I think that what Juniper has done with Cloud Metro is impressive. It is, you don’t have to think a lot about the value proposition here. I feel like I’ve used that word more than once or twice, but I do think it is a significant value proposition. And I think really Juniper’s biggest challenge is just messaging, getting that value proposition communicated throughout the ecosystem, throughout the CSP ecosystem, so people can really understand this is a solution that’s a pretty far reaching solution. And so before you start making final decisions about your network, you need to take a look at this. And I think that Cloud Metro can play a really significant role in 5G evolution, but that a lot of it’s going to rely on getting the attention of customers.

Ron Westfall: I think that Juniper can help the CSPs get off the schneid, or at least get more of them off the schneid and into the game at a more impressive level – actually executing on these use cases we’ve been talking about for a few years, taking advantage of the lower latency capabilities that you so eloquently emphasize, the higher bandwidth capabilities and massive scale. You got to take advantage of these capabilities; they’ve invested billions of dollars in these networks and the spectrum and all the capabilities. So now this is where the rubber hits the road. And this is where I think Juniper does have a challenge, but I think Juniper already has the portfolio in place and the marketing message that can really provide not just differentiation, but help catalyze getting to these monetization goals that are going to be essential for CSPs to really be able to make a difference in the 5G ecosystem.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, I agree. You know what, I think really the next conversation I’d like to have on this topic, and we can maybe work with the Juniper team to get some information on that, but I’d love to, at some point in time, hear customer success stories.

Ron Westfall: Oh yes.

Shelly Kramer: And those are always my favorite part of any discussion. But you and I can talk and opine and everything else, and we can take a look at Juniper messaging and all of that. But the reality of it is hearing from customers who say, ‘you know what, I wasn’t sure, maybe part of the story is, I wasn’t sure, but I took a leap and oh my gosh, this is what happened.’ So I really look forward to that. I think that’s going to be the next iteration of our conversation on this topic. Ron, what do you think?

Ron Westfall: I love it. I think what’s not to like?

Shelly Kramer: What’s not to like? Well, all right. And with that, we’re going to wrap this episode of the 5G Factor to our viewing and listening audience. Thank you as always for hanging out with us. We’ll see you again next week and I will include in the show notes some information and some stats on the things that we touched on here, as well as a link to some of the articles we’ve written and our coverage of Juniper, and then some information, a link for you to find out more. So with that, thank you Ron, and thanks to our audience. It’s always great spending time with you.

Ron Westfall: Good day.

Author Information

Ron is an experienced, customer-focused research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets, working with businesses to drive consistent revenue and sales growth.

He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including a wide range of topics across software and services, infrastructure, 5G communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Ron worked with GlobalData Technology creating syndicated and custom research across a wide variety of technical fields. His work with Current Analysis focused on the broadband and service provider infrastructure markets.

Ron holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of Nevada — Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in political science/government from William and Mary.

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