Executive Blog

Juniper Networks Acquires Mist Systems to Bring AI to IT

Delivering on Promise of Software-Defined Enterprise

There is a movement underway in enterprise IT. With a shift from mere service management (ITSM) to strategic enabler, the very purpose of IT has changed. Where the past was about uptime in a largely static environment, the present is about user experience amidst a constantly-changing mosaic of technology. When the only currency that matters is time, IT cannot be a manually-manipulated Rube Goldberg machine. The future will favor the fast and the fast requires a simpler, AI-driven approach to operations.

We announced the next big step that Juniper Networks is taking in pursuit of a simpler IT experience. With our planned acquisition of Mist Systems, we are not only expanding our enterprise portfolio into the wireless arena, but also staking claim to AI-driven operations in the era of multicloud.

Operations is inherently an end-to-end proposition. User experience is not siloed. It requires all of the elements, from wireless access to the wired LAN across the WAN, to servers in the data center or cloud to work together. Having the breadth of product to service this entire space is important. With the addition of Mist’s industry-leading wireless portfolio, we are becoming one of a limited number of technology suppliers that can truly service the end-to-end enterprise.

Our industry is at an inflection point and what has served us well until now simply cannot get us to where we need to be. We cannot cling to the past while we stare into the future. Multicloud and the software-defined enterprise are upon us. AI for IT is upon us.

Wireless is the most strategic place to start as we adopt AI for IT. Companies are already increasingly going wireless first, meaning Wi-Fi is the entry point onto the network for virtually everyone and everything. And whether it’s a person accessing an application or an IoT device communicating with other devices, connectivity is not enough to declare success. User experience is the new uptime and it cannot rely solely on manual intervention.

It’s also more than just wireless. AI-driven operations must extend across the whole IT stack if it is to reach its full potential.

By integrating Mist’s cloud-management and advanced AI engine into the balance of Juniper’s enterprise portfolio, we are setting ourselves up to continue to lead the transition to the software-defined enterprise.

As we venture down this path, it is important to note that Mist shares Juniper’s principled approach to design. Multicloud will be multi-vendor and Mist’s commitment to an open framework for their AI-driven wireless solution is critical. It means Juniper customers can gracefully evolve from whatever legacy infrastructure might exist, leveraging whichever elements make sense for the enterprise. And while we have the best-of-breed components to serve even the most advanced customers, we fundamentally believe that choice and flexibility matter.

The addition of Mist to Juniper’s portfolio will benefit customers in a myriad of ways:

  • Full end-to-end software-defined enterprise. Customers that look to Juniper to build out their campus, branch and SD-WAN capabilities with both wired and wireless can get the full stack from Juniper. Notably, Mist is already integrated with Juniper’s management software.
  • AI for IT. The Mist acquisition brings immediate operational benefits to wireless customers. Over time, as Juniper integrates Mist’s AI engine, customers will see these benefits accrue through the entire software-defined enterprise.
  • Purpose-built for the cloud. Mist’s revolutionary solution goes beyond just what it promises. In delivering a cloud-first, microservices architecture, they have the building blocks to accelerate customers’ adoption of AI-driven operations software. Importantly, their products and team will also help accelerate Juniper’s existing efforts in this area.

Finally, I want to express how excited I am to bring these two companies together. Put simply, we picked the best. Having been deployed at 2 of the Fortune 10, 1 of the top 3 carriers, 1 of the top 5 airlines and 7 of the top 40 retailers, Mist brings a proven track record along with its visionary approach.

Additionally, they complement our existing enterprise strategy perfectly. While many people think of Juniper today as a high-performance networking provider to SPs and cloud providers, many do not know that we have deliberately built our strategy to help enterprises transform in the cloud era. This strategy has been working as we have now achieved six quarters of continued growth in the enterprise by combining our technologies across routing, switching and security to offer customers solutions to help them transform and simplify operations as they move to cloud.  

Our enterprise areas of focus are enterprise multicloud—where we offer an open, differentiated solution compared to Cisco, Arista and VMware—and the software-defined enterprise, which includes campus and branch networks. These are not new for Juniper. Our multicloud solution has been shipping since mid-2018 and our business today in the campus and branch market is growing as customers are upgrading their access and core networks to enable multi-rate switching.

All-up, our enterprise business topped $1.6B in 2018. We fully expect the addition of Mist—their portfolio, their technology and their talent—to accelerate our enterprise momentum as we help blaze the path to AI for IT in the era of multicloud.

Rami Rahim - 14 May 2019

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