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IBM, Juniper to offer joint network analytics

IBM and Juniper say they will work together to deliver customer intelligence to cloud and communications service providers.

IBM and Juniper Networks are combining some of their hardware and software to let cloud and communications service providers extract business intelligence from subscriber data traveling across their networks.

The partnership announced Feb. 24 integrates Juniper's MX Router Service Control Gateway with IBM analytics, which will slice and dice big data collected from mobile devices and PCs. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Among the questions the combined products will answer are how services are used, which are popular and which are not, and whether there is an opportunity to upsell subscribers, said Ahmed Guetari, Juniper's vice president of product management. The data can also be used to improve delivery of video and business applications and to manage Internet-connected devices.

"There's a huge amount of information that can come from the network," Guetari said. "[And] one of the differentiators of IBM analytics is they're simple in the way they are presented."

Collected data displayed in easy-to-digest format

The IBM software is based on code from Now Factory, a customer and network analytics engine IBM acquired in 2013.

The application's real-time processing engine crunches data passing through the Juniper gateway and stores the results in a reporting environment like a data warehouse, said Inhi Cho Su, vice president of strategy and business development for IBM analytics.

Once the data is in the reporting tier, IBM software will arrange it so it can be displayed in a way that's understandable to analysts.

Some IBM technology will be embedded in the Juniper gateway while deeper analytics for extracting business intelligence would run in a separate appliance, Su said. The client used by customers to view results will be available as on-premises or cloud-based software.

Hadoop support available

Companies that want to analyze big data-scale information in the hundreds of terabytes can choose to replace the data warehouse layer with a Hadoop cluster of servers, Su said. Hadoop, developed under the Apache Software Foundation, is a Java-based programming framework that supports the processing of large data sets in a distributed computing environment.

In addition to Now Factory, IBM products available through the partnership include InfoSphere BigInsights for Hadoop, InfoSphere Streams, the SPSS predictive analytics software and the Cognos reporting engine. IBM's Watson Analytics, which is based on the company's advanced cognitive computing platform, is also available.

IBM and Juniper plan to release the combined products in the third quarter. Customers can choose either vendor for support. Pricing was not disclosed.

The partnership comes as IBM searches for ways to bolster sales that have fallen each of the last three years. Data analytics and cloud computing are two areas IBM has targeted to increase revenue.

Juniper, on the other hand, has been losing market share to rivals as key customer segments shift from proprietary hardware to software-defined networking. Those segments include telecommunication companies and large data centers.

Cisco provides its own software for analyzing network data for business intelligence. In December, the company unveiled applications for retailers, sports venues, service providers and contact centers.

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