|Asia-Pacific II 2009
|Product innovation, performance and support
|Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific
Adam Judd is Juniper Networks’ Senior Vice president of Sales and Operations for Asia Pacific. Mr Judd joined Juniper Networks as part of Juniper’s acquisition of Unisphere Networks, where he co-founded its APAC operations and served as vice president for the theatre. He formerly held APAC management roles with Bay Networks and Nortel Networks.
Technology sprawl, the uncontrolled proliferation of brands of servers, software, systems and devices increases the complexity of data centres, uses data centre space inefficiently, increases energy consumption, reduces performance, security and reliability and bites into profits. Equipment vendors do wonders with technology, new product development, and sales, but services to support these new products are often lacking, and their basic technical strategies are fragmented. Users need high-level professional support from vendors for overall guidance regarding operation, maintenance and advanced service needs.
Customers constantly demand innovation in services to improve performance and features and to lower complexity and cost. Yet, despite dazzling technological innovations, advances on the services side have not kept pace with product development. There is a growing gap between products, services and support. This gap contributes to a network innovation lag, impedes productivity and generates inefficiency and overhead. However, a new paradigm for proactive vendor services can overcome these problems. Market outlook Typically, the telecommunications environment is cluttered and decentralized. A mixed bag of hardware, together with a complex web of software, creates a virtual labyrinth of protocols, devices and applications. As a result, network operators bog down trying to find cost-effective solutions to the following problems: • Growth/technology sprawl – Keeping pace with product advancement has resulted in the uncontrolled proliferation of mixed brands of servers, systems, and devices. Even normal growth causes a physical space crunch in the data centre and increases energy consumption. More networking, server and storage equipment eats into floor space, energy resources and, ultimately, profits. • Infrastructure complexity – Underlying the physical issues of technology sprawl are its less tangible side effects: Growing complexity in the data centre slows application performance, delays business-enabling applications, and hinders innovation. In addition, servers, systems, and devices may be running different operating systems and using different management tools, requiring additional training and software to make new pieces of equipment work with one another and with the existing network. Of all the challenges businesses are facing, complexity may be the most noteworthy because it impedes efforts to improve performance and reduce costs. • Systems and software – Overburdened networks lack visibility across protocols, systems, devices, and applications. This problem, compounded by the excess of systems and applications, aggravates the management problem, increases the chance of human error and further reduces network efficiency. • Security – Increasing demand for network access, including remote and mobile access, leaves organizations vulnerable to human error and security breaches, potentially compromising the privacy of millions. Security flaws are likely to continue, since one consequence of technology sprawl is a lack of consistent policies and the inability to apply, enforce, and integrate policies across different devices, networks, and systems. • Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity – Businesses cannot afford lapses in service during system builds, network changes, application updates, or emergencies. Data centres require consistent, reliable protection and replication. The current problematic technological environment increases the likelihood of network downtime. On top of that, maintaining consistency requires costly bandwidth, and must be managed efficiently to balance performance and reliability with cost-effective solutions. • Virtualization – While virtualization improves the efficient utilization of network resources, it can also exacerbate all of the previously mentioned problems by adding complexity, especially when using a variety of virtualization platforms in the environment. Obstacles to simplifying data centres will continue to mount because virtualization places greater demands on QoS, imposes low latency performance requirements, and stresses data centres, leading to, inefficient use of infrastructure resources, higher operational costs, downtime, and increased security risks. In the wake of all this technological expansion, networking companies are beginning to realize that they are trapped by their own network creations. Despite the staggering advances in fundamental technologies, until now there have been only modest improvements in services. Many networking companies, including product vendors and the service providers, which implement the vendors’ products and solutions, have only improved their service capabilities incrementally because they have had no avenue for true services innovation. They have implemented basic technical strategies that were fragmented and opportunistic. They have been boxed in by the complexities and cannot break through with a competitive services advantage because they did not see the connection to strategic services offerings. The solution Customers already know what to expect from the conventional service model: it is reactive, and it relies on customer input to identify problems, collect information, analyze situations, and then call in partners and vendors. Network outages that degrade and damage productivity, and downtime while resolving issues, result in staggering losses. Most current service models are incapable of effectively resolving these problems, but an effective solution is on the horizon and some companies are leading with a new approach. The industry has long recognized the importance of services and support, but attention to these two crucial aspects has historically lagged that of products, by service providers, vendors, and vendors’ sales channels. Primarily focusing on ever-newer technological products will not be sufficient to satisfy demand. Telecommunications companies must build a bridge between the products that already exist and enhanced services and support, in order to derive the most value from these products. This can only happen when the industry adopts a fresh paradigm of professional services. Research and experience shed light on what customers require from this new service mode. A number of users invested in virtualization to reduce costs, but are instead experiencing the increased complexity that virtualization imposes. They are ready to invest in technology to improve data centre performance, increase productivity, and expand service delivery. Achieving these goals and sustaining performance in the face of growing workloads, managers require rapid problem identification and resolution, accessibility at all levels – application, system, platform, and network – and a consistent, user-friendly, provisioning interface with which to access network and data centre technology. In addition, companies cannot focus solely on reducing costs; they must also create enough space in the data centre to support new applications that will leverage their moneymaking capabilities. It may seem difficult, at first glance, to resolve these complexities, but experience shows that customers want three things from networking vendors: mitigation of risk, accelerated ‘time-to-value’ and enhanced operational efficiency. In short, users seek: • professional services’ consultants to map out the entire process, ensure the shortest time-to-value, maximize return-on-investment and reduce risk; • maintenance services’ teams ensure that in-house teams have the expertise to continuously adopt new technology and manage change in the network – they need to be available 24/7 on a global basis to address operational efficiencies; and • advanced services’ teams should be in place to work at a higher level and ensure that the network stays at peak performance, with ongoing consulting and proactive services. In response to these needs, a new breed of proactive support services is coming to the market. Vendors can serve as a catalyst to raise the entire industry to the next level by providing proactive, intelligent, support services. This new category of services will alleviate the problem of complexity by incorporating the use of a single operating system platform. A single operating system platform can effectively integrate features and management to maximize transparency and control and address security concerns, while increasing profitability and reducing costs. The new wave of support services will include self-analysis capabilities that can store and track potential risks, proactively notify customers of these risks, and provide the information that assistance centres need to open support cases and help resolve problems. It is time for the customers to have the power to determine their deployment needs; this support model will allow users to choose a particular level of engagement, from simply passing information and updates to co-branding with service and technology vendors. Proactive services that can use virtualization efficiently will manage multiple customers from a single point so that separate customers and their collected data and detected issues can be managed through a single console. Given the potential for disaster that technology sprawl entails, it is clear that a new direction in support services is long overdue. Complexity must be combated with proactive, virtualization-ready, single-operating-system networks. The coming services paradigm achieves this goal with personalized services that proactively identify potential device problems, accelerate their resolution, reduce space needs in the data centre and, ultimately, reduce cost while increasing profits.