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Juniper Networks has made its MX routers and SRX firewalls available on the Amazon cloud, providing technological consistency for companies that want to build hybrid clouds using the vendor's products.
Juniper introduced this week virtualized versions of these products and made them available through the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace as managed Amazon Machine Images. Once deployed, the vMX and vSRX hybrid cloud network services "operate exactly like their physical counterparts," wrote Jonathan Davidson, general manager of Juniper's development and innovation division, in a blog post.
"Therefore, when used, the AWS cloud appears exactly like another secure node on the corporate network, completely manageable through a single pane of glass," Davidson said.
Having consistency in infrastructure running in-house and on AWS, the largest public cloud provider, enables network managers to use the same set of tools for both environments. Today, most companies use AWS for failover, disaster recovery, backup and spillover traffic from in-house applications during spikes in usage.
"There are always native offerings on the public cloud that are [networking] alternatives," said Dan Conde, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, based in Milford, Mass. "But, ultimately, the choice is whether you want a common platform that can, in theory, run on AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure."
Juniper's strategy is similar to VMware's
The Juniper announcement reflects a hybrid cloud network services strategy similar to VMware's. The latter said in October that it would provide customers with a single set of tools for migrating workloads between their VMware-driven private clouds and the AWS public cloud. Essentially, the VMware-AWS partnership provides a unified hybrid cloud network that stitches storage, CPU and security services together across a VMware virtualized data center and the Amazon cloud.
Brad Casemoreanalyst, IDC
Data center infrastructure vendors are making their products available on AWS as customers increasingly adopt hybrid clouds to reduce on-premises hardware costs. Overall spending on cloud IT infrastructure will rise by 15% annually through 2019 to $53 billion, according to IDC.
Products vendors are reworking to run in a public cloud include routers, switches, firewalls and application delivery controllers. "Many enterprise customers will expect their incumbent vendors to provide those virtualized network and security services for workloads moving to the public cloud," said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC.
Cisco's hybrid cloud network strategy
While Juniper focuses on AWS, the largest networking company, Cisco, is taking a broader approach. In March, the company acquired CliQr Technologies Inc., which provides a central platform for deploying and managing applications across multiple cloud environments.
Cisco has said it will make its software-defined networking platform, called the Application Centric Infrastructure, a key management component for hybrid clouds. At the same time, Cisco has stressed the importance of hardware in powering corporate networks that have to cope with increasing traffic from mobile devices, video and IP communications. The role Cisco gear will play in the company's cloud strategy is not clear.
"Cisco's challenge is that it is so much bigger than other networking companies, including Juniper," Casemore said. "That size confers benefits, of course, but it also makes it harder to create alignment and consistency across business units and product portfolios."
Cisco's unwieldy size could leave openings for nimbler companies in the hybrid cloud market, just as it did in other markets. Smaller companies have successfully competed with Cisco in data center switching, load balancing and WAN optimization, Casemore said.
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