Juniper Networks empowers network automation practices and adoption

Bangalore: Juniper Networks, a global player in networks announced a range of new offerings for network automation practices. With this, Juniper is unveiling a collaborative community that includes tools, labs, libraries and an exchange of innovative applications to accelerate automation adoption for companies and individuals.

Juniper EngNet features access to virtual devices that run in the cloud, complete with documentation, along with a full suite of tools to move from manual to automated operations. To complement Juniper EngNet, Juniper designed NRE Labs, a web-based, on-demand automation curriculum focused on the emerging network reliability engineering (NRE) role.

It is also announcing additional professional services to help enterprises break ground on automated testing, a key thrust for any enterprise looking to leverage automation to do more in their network.

Despite nearly two decades of industry effort to drive network automation, network operations are still dominated by manual operations issued through the command line interface (CLI). Compare this to a Gartner report that forecasts that “by 2022, only 25 percent of network operations teams will use the CLI as their primary interface, which is down from more than 70 percent today.”

Migrating an industry from 70 percent CLI to 70 percent automation requires industry-wide rethinking of the approach to network automation. If automation is to become a mainstream practice, the industry needs to do more than create new products. The success—or failure—of automation in networking will depend as much on the people as on the technology. This means that the education and upskilling of the existing network engineering teams are critical in modernizing the network to keep pace with advances in compute, storage, applications, cloud and multicloud.

By providing tools, virtual resources and a collaborative community for free, Juniper is putting customers first. Through hands-on practice and experimentation, these new offerings aim to ease and accelerate the adoption of automation across network operations, processes and workflows. This will give NetOps teams an industry advantage by advancing their automation skills, practices, and processes so that automation doesn’t remain a mostly specialized practice that only a select few can leverage.

Juniper EngNet consolidates a full spectrum of automation tools, resources and social communities into one single site. The site features API documentation, access to various Juniper Labs, virtual resources, a learning portal and an Automation Exchange of useful network automation tools. Juniper EngNet is aimed at elevating the entire networking community to move beyond only knowing the incumbent’s CLI knowledge and toward an automated, abstracted self-driving technology. The networking community, including Juniper customers and partners, can contribute to the Automation Exchange within the community.

NRE Labs provides engineers and network operators an intuitive in-browser experience with quick-paced and interactive network automation lessons that focus on real-life workflows like troubleshooting, verification and configuration. Inspired by the site reliability engineering (SRE) movement, with NRE Labs, network reliability engineers can freely practice their automation proficiency and apply their learnings. In doing so, they can confidently automate workflows in their own network using the open tools from the lessons. Built as an open-source project, NRE Labs can now be accessed by anyone interested in advancing their automation expertise free of charge.

Cloud Customer Certification Labs (CCL) provides users with a platform in the Juniper cloud to design and run a virtual lab environment consisting of networking systems, traffic generators and other network automation tools, such as Juniper’s Network Implementation and Test Automation (NITA). For users without their own physical labs or those who want to supplement their labs with Juniper’s cloud, Cloud CCL provides network engineers with a critical environment for automated testing and staging.

Juniper’s extended service offerings provide a variety of educational, professional and advanced engineering services to improve network automation capabilities. For example, Juniper Testing-as-a-Service (TaaS) uses the new Cloud CCL to replicate customer network topologies, configurations, traffic flows and real-life environments, validating all planned changes and to emulate future requirements. Cloud CCL helps users validate specific functionalities of scheduled upgrades or changes, mitigating any risk to the production network. Juniper Automation and DevOps training courses are now also available at introductory and intermediate levels, along with exams to certify engineers at JNCIA and JNCIS respectively. Additionally, as part of Juniper’s global OpenLab Network Automation Throwdown Program, Juniper is offering new events for network engineers interested in using NRE Labs and Cloud CCL in person. Learn more about upcoming events here.

“Our multifaceted initiative announced today aims to close the gap between automated product and automation skillsets to foster adoption across the industry,” said Bikash Koley, CTO – Juniper Networks.

“It’s time for a new crop of companies to step in, providing more than just products. If we are to move forward, we need leadership in both technology and practice. Today, Juniper Networks is taking an important step forward for Juniper and all the network operations teams for whom continued inaction represents an existential threat,” said Michael Bushong, VP – Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, Juniper Networks.

“Juniper Networks’ consistent support of automation has enabled us to embrace automation in a straightforward, cost-efficient way. We have turned Juniper’s automation capabilities into a powerful tool to deliver value to the organization by dramatically reducing configuration mistakes and time to deliver, ultimately positioning the network team as a reliable partner for the business,” said Alejandro Salinas, Head – Networking, Groupon.

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