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Software lies at heart of digital transformation, software-driven, open 5G infrastructure to enable quicker ROI: Juniper Networks CEO - Daily News Egypt

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Software lies at heart of digital transformation, software-driven, open 5G infrastructure to enable quicker ROI: Juniper Networks CEO

Egyptian Government clearly really ‘gets’ the social and economic value that a digital transformation can deliver, says Rahim

The key to a successful 5G business model is the approach SPs take to their network transformation, Rami Rahim is Chief Executive Officer of Juniper Networks and a member of the company’s Board of Directors told Daily News Egypt.

Juniper Networks, Inc. is a networking service provider, the company develops internet infrastructure solutions for internet service providers and other telecommunications service providers. The Company offers network infrastructure solutions that include IP routing, Ethernet switching, security, and application acceleration.

Rahim recently visited Egypt to meet with some key customers, and signed an MoU for youth and human capital development with ITIDA in presence of Egypt’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Amr Talaat.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Rahim, to find out his views on the future of networking industry, 5G prospects, his company’s plans, and what can digital transformation offer.

Juniper Networks Q2 preliminary financial results showed an increase of 10% sequentially in revenues, what are the main drivers for growth, and what is your growth forecasts for Q3? 

Overall, secure networking continues to be a key area for investment as organizations around the world undertake digital transformation projects. So while our end markets are dynamic, they remain healthy, and we continue to see good opportunities across our key segments.

Looking forward to our Q319 results due in October, we’ve provided guidance that we expect revenues to continue to grow sequentially.


What is Juniper Networks’ competitive edge when it comes to 5G?

  5G offers a lot of new revenue potential for SPs, in terms of the rich mobile services and IoT capabilities it can deliver for users. At Juniper, we believe that the key to a successful 5G business model is the approach SPs take to their network transformation. Relying on legacy, hardware-intensive, proprietary networks to deliver 5G is one potential strategy, but may well prove to be very costly and inflexible – the precise opposite of what market dynamics demand.

To break out of this conundrum and reach viable 5G ROI (return on investment), we advocate that SPs must transform their end-to-end network strategies to support the following, software-driven capabilities: Predictive Automation, Distributed/Edge Cloud, Converged IP Transport, and Pervasive Security

So, being able to deliver these transformative capabilities to our customers is Juniper’s differentiation. I would also call out our focus on simplicity, in terms of delivering such sophisticated, innovative concepts in a very consumable, manageable way for SPs.

How do you view Egypt’s digital transformation plans and ICT sector?

  As you know, I recently visited Egypt to meet with some key customers, and I was, frankly, hugely impressed with what I learned about the country’s approach to digital transformation. In particular, what struck me as most remarkable is both the high ambition and the speed of the projects in hand. The Egyptian Government clearly really ‘gets’ the social and economic value that a digital transformation can deliver. I’m very pleased that Juniper is involved, and I’m very excited by the future for Egypt!

What can governments do to increase the affordability of 5G, and increase its implementation rates?

For me, this plays back into my earlier point about the business models SPs choose in pursuit of their 5G offerings. Building a flexible, software-driven and open infrastructure will enable a much healthier, quicker ROI, which should then lead to more cost-effective pricing models for users. I also think that the services possible thanks to 5G will be richer and more compelling – but that will lead to a very competitive, user-led market. The smart SPs will be those that are innovative with their services, which will only be possible with the right platform in the first place!

In your opinion, when would 5G be commercially available in Egypt in particular, and MENA?

  In our experience, SPs and telcos across the region are currently applying for spectrum licenses, and in parallel are also creating their infrastructure strategies. In many cases, they are also beginning to undertake trials of 5G infrastructure on a small scale. This is a similar pattern to SPs in other parts of the world.

Recently national security concerns have been on the rise, with doubts over the implementations of 5G, do you believe those security concerns towards 5G exaggerated?

As network infrastructure becomes more strategic, it is inevitable – and sensible – that this gives rise to more rigorous security considerations. Specific to 5G, as I already mentioned, one of the key capabilities Juniper delivers for customers is pervasive security, regardless of the scale of a 5G deployment.

An intelligent, software-driven network should utilize every component – routers and switches, not just security devices – to enforce security policies. The ability to do this in a multi-vendor environment is also key, so a truly open approach is fundamental. Automation is another important factor because it helps to scale security enforcement and eradicates human error.

Moving on to data centre networking, what differentiates between Juniper Networks and its competitors?

What really sets us apart in the data centre space is our vision and ability to help enterprises simplify their multicloud operations. This means, for example, being able to bring together distributed sites with a single management capability and a consistent operating system. This offers our customers huge technical and administrative dividends – the reasons why we’ve again been named a “Leader” by Gartner, Inc. in the 2019 Data Center Networking Magic Quadrant.

What is Juniper’s strategy when it comes to software?

Software lies at the heart of digital transformation and the multicloud era. It provides the means for networking infrastructure to be flexible, scalable and agile in support of innovative services and applications. It enables those services to be highly personalized, tailored to an individual user’s specific requirements or preferences, yet still be offered at scale. Several products across our routing, switching and security portfolio are available in both hardware and software form, enabling our customers to deploy bespoke yet flexible solutions that are eminently easy to manage.

It’s fair to say that Juniper has always been a software company, though! From our first router, the M40 brought to market in 1998, the software has been the differentiator. In those early days, the M40 was the first router from any vendor to use customized, programmable silicon, which enabled different functions to be separated and managed independently of one another. This unique approach drove game-changing performance and scale in the early days of the internet, an era of ‘scale-out’ which Juniper led thanks to our innovation with silicon. Looking into the current era – ‘scale-out’ – which is all about connectivity, collaboration and communication using multiclouds, we intend to continue our leadership, with the power of software. Our customers are building highly-scalable infrastructure using software-defined, cloud-based solutions, which enables a high degree of automation, and helps to harness the power of AI.

I like to talk about the fact that over time ‘the network’ as a concept has become increasingly complex. Today, the ability to automate functions within these networks – using software – actually simplifies them. So, in the right hands, this technology holds the key to its own future.

JunOS, our single operating system, remains at the heart of the Juniper portfolio today, from the largest to the smallest products. That makes life very easy for our customers, being able to train staff on one software product, being able to migrate from product to product without having to change the underlying software. That is another fantastic example of our desire to simplify the engineering around our customers’ networks, too.

What do you think are the top [trends] that would influence the networking scene in the near term?

Cloud and multicloud must be at the top of the list – they continue to be the single most influential factor shaping our industry, driving digital and business transformation. Automation and Ai are also hugely important because they enable the underlying, sophisticated networks to operate intelligently, reliably and at scale, in the cloud.

Taking all these things into account, I’d also add that Juniper’s focus on engineering simplicity into the networks we build for our customers is pretty significant too – just ask our customers!

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