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Juniper Networks CEO Rahim Ready To Tackle Multi-Cloud 'Realism'

‘More realism has come into the picture, and most CIOs of Fortune 1000 companies are pragmatically thinking about a hybrid or multi-cloud architecture," Rami Rahim says in a recent interview with CRN.

Juniper Networks CEO Rami Rahim doesn't see cloud repatriation as a significant trend. In fact, he said, enterprise customers have become savvy enough about the cloud to adopt a hybrid strategy from the beginning.

"More realism has come into the picture, and most CIOs of Fortune 1000 companies are pragmatically thinking about a hybrid or multi-cloud architecture," Rahim said in a recent interview with CRN. "They want to reap the advantages of the capabilities public cloud offers them, but they don't want to do it in such a way that they are completely locked into a single public cloud provider."

While that approach makes sense for enterprise customers, Rahim said, it does come with challenges. The primary challenge is that each public cloud performs important tasks, from security to compliance, a little differently. Also, enterprise customers understand that some workloads will remain in private clouds, Rahim said.

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"It's easy to say, but it's much more difficult to do," Rahim said. "Each of the different public clouds and private clouds offers a different set of automation capabilities, security policy capabilities. [Customers] need a solution to extract away the complexity and to provide the peace of mind that they can have a similar security posture across all these different environments. That's an unsolved problem—at least it's not solved well today."

To that end, Juniper rolled out its Contrail Enterprise Multicloud offering early this year as a way to give customers a simple, secure multi-cloud experience, and it has gained some positive early feedback in the market with customers including Icelandair and NEP Group.

In the second quarter, Juniper landed three Tier 1 global carriers and a Fortune 500 enterprise account for the Contrail portfolio offering, Rahim said in a conference call to discuss the quarter's results. About 60 percent of Juniper's top customers during that quarter were cloud customers that had designed next-generation networks with Juniper, Rahim said.

Dominic Grillo, vice president at Atrion Communications, a Branchburg, N.J., solution provider that works with Juniper, said Rahim's thinking around enterprise customers' approach to the cloud market is solid.

"He's on target," Grillo said. "Most large customers, and some regulated industries, won't go fully public cloud. They'll still have some private data centers." That pattern contrasts, however, with what Grillo called typical midmarket customers, and Juniper's offering takes a big step toward being able to cover both ends of the market.

"Your typical midmarket customers will move most, if not all, of their workloads to the cloud over the next three to five years," Grillo said.

Contrail Enterprise Multicloud was designed to address such a deeply fragmented market, Rahim said, and "based on initial updates from our customers, I believe we're on to something."

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