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Juniper, Mist Systems Connect Wired, Wireless Environments With A Dash Of AI

Juniper is adding artificial intelligence into enterprise networks with its new cloud-based Mist Wired Assurance Service and unveils Contrail Insights, a data center monitoring and analytics feature.

Juniper Networks, with Mist Systems' technology, wants to inject artificial intelligence into enterprise networks while at the same time simplifying management across wired and wireless environments.  

Juniper acquired AI-powered networking startup Mist Systems in March for $405 million. Now Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper is folding its EX switch line for campus and branch environments into the Mist cloud to pull in more intelligence and target more enterprise business, Mike Marcellin, Juniper's chief marketing officer, told CRN.  

Specifically, Juniper's Mist is expanding its platform with a new cloud subscription service called Mist Wired Assurance Service. The new service brings Juniper's Junos switch line into the Mist microservices cloud and AI engine, which can simplify IT operations, Juniper said at its NXTWORK 2019 partner and customer summit in Las Vegas Monday.  

[Related: Juniper Networks Revamps Partner Program To Zero In On Software, Recurring Revenue: Exclusive]  

The Mist Wired Assurance Service also can give partners service-level expectations for how networks will perform, Marcellin said.  

"Basically, it extends what Mist has been doing with wireless to the wired infrastructure. Now we have a common solution for any enterprise campus environment, or branch or retail environment, and can manage that together, while using AI to troubleshoot the network," he said.

Mist’s AI engine, Marvis, also is getting an upgrade as Juniper works to create a single interface for wired and wireless environments, bolstered with automation. The Marvis Actions dashboard, a brand-new capability within Mist’s Marvis Virtual Network Assistant (VNA) Service, can identify the root cause of issues across the wireless LAN, WAN and security environment. It can automatically resolve a problem when possible or, if the issue is outside the domain of the access network, Marvis will give IT administrators recommended actions to take, the company said.

Marvis also can serve up visibility for third-party switches, proactively identifying issues, including inactive or missing VLANs, firmware compliance, or Power over Ethernet budget constraints.

"We didn’t acquire a wireless company, we acquired an AI company that delivers that value through wireless," said Michael Bushong, vice president of software products and solutions for Juniper.

Structured Communications, a Portland, Ore.-based solution provider, was a Mist partner before the acquisition and today partners with Mist and Juniper. Juniper's acquisition of Mist helped to validate the startup's technology, said Bill Tracy, executive vice president for Structured Communications.

"It really allowed us to take it to the user experience/edge platform conversation," he said. "Enterprises are migrating data centers to the cloud, and this edge access is becoming so much more important. It really rounds out the portfolio that Juniper has been missing in the access layer."

The Juniper and Mist partner programs are separate for now but will be combined in 2020, according to Helda Lopes, head of global partner programs and marketing at Juniper.

Juniper also revealed a new data center monitoring and analytics feature, Contrail Insights, which is the newest addition to the Contrail Enterprise Multi-Cloud offering. Contrail Insights gives partners and businesses better insight and real-time and historic visibility into data center network overlay-underlay correlation and multitenant resource usage, as well as troubleshooting analysis, the company said.

"This improves the level of insight you can get into application performance, as well as the entire data center stack, and uses machine learning to really get proactive and predictive with what's going on in the infrastructure," Juniper’s Marcellin said. "it's another great tool for managed service providers that want to offer SLAs to their customers."

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