Today, Juniper Networks made some groundbreaking announcements: we announced the next step in our Cloud Metro vision, an expanded portfolio of metro network systems, a brand-new and easy way to consume network automation as a cloud-delivered service – and more. Individually, each of these innovations is exciting. Together, they underscore something greater: big changes are coming to the digital services landscape. For Service Providers (SPs), the combination of exploding demand for new capabilities, plus the emerging network technologies that will make them possible, represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvent the service experience—and by doing so, redefining their role in the digital ecosystem.
With the announcement of our Cloud Metro vision last year, Juniper laid out the blueprint for this transformation. We introduced a framework for a converged, intelligent IP services fabric that uses cloud capabilities to deliver higher-quality service experiences at a lower cost. With today’s announcement, SPs can now take the next step in this transformation with an enhanced Cloud Metro portfolio that features:
- New options for building a scalable architecture for converged services and network slicing
- An innovative, AI-Enabled Device Onboarding Service to ensure devices are ready for service in minutes
- Embedded Active Assurance to deliver consistently excellent subscriber experiences
- Built-in Zero Trust Security to protect the network and its subscribers
With these expanded Cloud Metro capabilities, SPs can start reinventing metro networks to fuel sustainable business growth and strengthen their place as key drivers of the emerging digital ecosystem.
Tomorrow’s Digital Applications Require a Next-Generation Metro Infrastructure
Emerging cloud, 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) applications bring demand for ever-more capacity, and large numbers of new devices at the edge. That’s not exactly new. What is, however, is the kind of service experiences these new edge applications entail. Ultra-high-definition 4K/8K video streaming, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), Industry 4.0 applications and others require guaranteed quality and latency on a different scale than legacy services, both for residential and business users.
Meeting this demand requires more flexible and intelligent access and edge resources—and metro networks are the perfect place to deploy them. It’s one of the main reasons analysts forecast that metro traffic will grow 500% through 2027. SPs can’t ride this growing wave of next-generation edge services if their metro still functions as a “dumb pipe”, aggregating traffic toward a central data center. They need to reimagine the metro architecture for network slicing, edge cloud applications and experience-first service delivery with Juniper Cloud Metro.
Juniper Cloud Metro Architecture
Cloud Metro reimagines today’s siloed, point-to-point metro networks as a versatile IP services fabric that enables “Any Service, Any Place, Any Device” connectivity for distributed edge clouds and applications. It offers the ability to intelligently steer traffic not just to central data centers, but across multiple hubs (edge cloud), vaults and caches within the metro domain. These capabilities enable a more intelligent and future-proof metro, with improved latency and bandwidth efficiency. The result: lower cost per subscriber and higher profit per bit in the network.
To make this vision a reality, Juniper is expanding the Cloud Metro portfolio and adding dynamic new tools to enable an Experience-First Metro, including:
- Flexible capacity: Juniper now offers many more choices in ACX7000 Family platforms. These include the industry’s highest-capacity metro router, new Juniper pluggable optics and a wider range of form factors, giving SPs the flexibility to position the right resources at every metro location. Users can choose interface options from 1-GE up to 400-GE and beyond, as well as next-generation Juniper ZR/ZR+ optical interfaces—eliminating the need for optical transponders for metro distances. All Cloud Metro systems are powered by the modular Junos OS Evolved operating system, providing the same consistent features and functionality at any location in the metro network.
- Converged traffic-handling: A Cloud Metro is built for network slicing, enabling any-to-any intelligent traffic steering across the distributed network to meet Service-Level Agreements (SLAs). Every Juniper Cloud Metro platform supports Ethernet Virtual Private Network (EVPN) overlays, IPv6 Segment Routing (SRv6) and Layer-2/Layer-3 VPN. Cloud Metro consolidates all metro use cases—residential, business, mobile xHaul transport—onto a single converged architecture, with a single operational model.
- Pay-as-you-grow scalability: Cloud Metro offers a more sustainable approach to ongoing network expansion. As demand grows, SPs can continue using traditional scale-up approaches in existing ring architectures. Alongside them, all Juniper Cloud Metro systems also support the same scale-out models—and spine-leaf architectures—that public cloud providers use in hyperscale data centers. By building the next-generation edge with smaller distributed platforms, SPs can align network investments more closely with demand while reducing the “blast radius” if any node goes down.
These capabilities have been part of our Cloud Metro vision from the very beginning. But now, we’re introducing two big additions to what a Cloud Metro can do:
- Automated, Embedded Active Assurance to deliver consistently excellent user experiences, which is expected to be available in 2H 2022
- Built-in Zero Trust Security to help SPs safeguard users, applications and infrastructure, which is expected to be available in 1H 2023
Best of all, we’ve embedded these enhancements directly into the metro networking systems and architecture itself.
Embedded Active Assurance
Juniper announced a new model for experience-first service delivery, embedding automated Active Assurance directly into the metro fabric. Every ACX7000 Family metro networking system now features Paragon™ Active Assurance software test agents natively embedded within Junos OS Evolved. The network itself becomes an “experience sensor”, with the ability to continually self-monitor, self-diagnose, self-remediate and self-optimize to enable the best user experiences.
These capabilities eliminate the need for external probes and other monitoring tools for assurance. Embedded test agents measure service quality as experienced by subscribers—instead of just inferring it based on passive testing—and ensure that slices and services meet SLAs.
To validate that network slices deliver on SLAs, 5G operators must be able to send traffic through the 5G user plane. With Paragon Active Assurance’s 5G Mobile Assurance capability, operators can now use synthetic traffic from emulated user equipment (UEs) and gNodeBs to proactively answer questions like:
- Is this new site ready to start serving customers?
- Can the backhaul provide the required quality to meet a guaranteed SLA for this network slice?
- Does the edge cloud connectivity meet application requirements for latency, loss and availability?
SPs can manage and visualize these experience sensors via a web-based multitenant control center. There, they can run on-demand tests and view real-time and aggregated performance monitoring results, as well as KPIs and SLA metrics for a wide range of services and administration tasks. They can detect reliability and performance issues from device to cloud, and resolve them before they affect customers. In all, SPs using Paragon Active Assurance report a 50% improvement in mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) for network incidents—and a 30% increase in subscriber satisfaction and loyalty.
Built-in Zero Trust Security
Massive growth in edge cloud and metro devices allow SP customers to enable new, more profitable applications. However, these changes also dramatically expand the potential vectors for cyberattacks. But now, they don’t have to worry because Juniper has applied the Zero Trust security principles (never trust by default, always verify) across the entire Cloud Metro architecture. The enhanced Juniper Cloud Metro portfolio features:
- Unique device identity: Each Cloud Metro platform is assigned a unique digital identification at manufacturing. This hardware trust anchor is cryptographically bound to the device using Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0, verifying that you’re using an authorized Juniper product.
- Hardware and software attestation: All Cloud Metro platforms feature standards-compliant Secure Zero Touch Provisioning (sZTP). When booting a Cloud Metro platform or accessing it over the network, SPs can automatically validate that device hardware and software are authentic and have not been tampered with.
- Built-in data security: Cloud Metro solutions support native file encryption to protect data at rest, such as customer specific configuration information, as well as Media Access Control Security (MACsec) encryption for protecting data in transit. And unlike other metro solutions, Juniper supports MACsec on all ports, not just one or two.
Plus, AI-enabled Paragon Automation-as-a-Service validates hardware and software authenticity, images the latest software, secures zero-touch configuration and provisioning, checks device health and network performance and updates the inventory so that Cloud Metro devices are fully ready for service in minutes. By having the Zero Trust security built into the Cloud Metro architecture, SPs can safeguard their users, applications and infrastructure and significantly reduce risks of devices and data getting compromised.
Reinvent Metro Architectures, Reimagine Your Business
Each day seems to bring new 5G, IoT and cloud innovations, and new possibilities for enterprise and consumer services. SPs that take advantage of these changes have an opportunity to reinvent the service experience and redefine their role in the digital ecosystem. But they can’t do it with a retro metro designed for the siloed, centralized architectures of the past.
To meet this moment, SPs need a Cloud Metro built to bring cloud resources and intelligence closer to users which enables secure, experience-first service delivery at the edge. They need a Cloud Metro that provides the latencies, timing and guaranteed performance needed to make next-generation edge experiences possible. With Juniper’s enhanced Cloud Metro portfolio, SPs can start building that network today.
 ACG Research, https://acgcc.com/reports/next-generation-cloud-metro-network-requirements-a/
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