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IBM's Consulting Arm Will Drive Juniper Networks’ Multi-Cloud Transformation

The seven-year, $325 million deal will leverage IBM’s cognitive solutions to guide the networking powerhouse's transformation of its IT systems.

IBM's Services division notched a big win with a deal unveiled Wednesday to guide the digital transformation of networking powerhouse Juniper Networks.

As part of the seven-year contract, IBM's consulting arm will help Juniper manage its existing IT investments while leveraging IBM Watson cognitive technology to enhance its IT infrastructure and drive further adoption and integration of cloud solutions from multiple vendors.

The services procured from IBM for $325 million will span Juniper's data centers, help desks and data and voice networks.

[Related: 7 Things To Know About The $1.8B IBM-HCL Technologies Deal]

"Under the agreement, IBM will provide Juniper with a broad range of information technology services, such as applications, including support, development and maintenance; infrastructure management and support, including for servers, storage and network devices; and end user support including service desk," an IBM representative told CRN.

IBM didn't comment on whether the deal involves procurement of any of its applications, cognitive platform solutions or cloud infrastructure services.

The companies, in a joint statement, said the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based networking company will "leverage IBM's cognitive technologies to create an agile IT environment."

IBM will introduce a "Factory Development" concept for application management through implementation of automation and cognitive tools, helping Juniper implement a "cloud-native landscape."

The procured services will encompass IBM Services Platform with Watson, which takes advantage of IBM's cognitive solutions to augment the efforts of its IT management specialists.

Juniper CEO Rami Rahim told CRN in October that CIOs of Fortune 1000 companies "are pragmatically thinking about a hybrid or multi-cloud architecture."

Those large enterprises want the benefits of the cloud, but not to be locked in on a single provider, Rahim said.

While those comments were in promotion of Juniper's own products to enable multi-cloud adoption, they seem highly relevant to Juniper's own business, given the recent deal with IBM.

Darrin Nelson, vice president of software sales at San Antonio-based Sirius Computer Solutions, one of IBM's largest partners, said the deal "appears to be a nice Services gig for IBM, which also allows Juniper to leverage some IBM IP as part of the engagement."

While, on its face, the contract represents "a sizable Services engagement," Nelson said, "it certainly could evolve into something more interesting."

In a prepared statement, Juniper Network CIO Bob Worrall said, "A key element of our digital transformation is to manage the complexities of our global operation and to get the most out of our current investments. In working with IBM Services, we will be able to collaborate with them on innovative solutions for our cloud-first business model."

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