Brian Roach of Juniper Networks Talks Redefining the Government Data Center and Gives Update on IT Modernization Efforts

Brian Roach

Brian Roach, Juniper Networks

With the current market environment and demands, Juniper Networks is leading the way for network solutions and technology. Brian Roach, Juniper Networks Vice President of National Government, spoke with WashingtonExec about the company’s public sector growth over this past year, breaking down IT silos, as well as network consolidation efforts both in the defense industry and intelligence community.

WashingtonExec: Can you tell us about your role with Juniper Networks?

Brian Roach: I am the vice president of National Government for Juniper Networks. I work directly with the North American government and indirectly with all international governments. I’ve been with Juniper six years but have been working within the federal space for 30 years.

WashingtonExec: Last year was a great year for the public sector team, what contributed to your success?

Brian Roach: Juniper saw good trends in US federal and continued solid progress in first quarter of 2015. A lot of our success was aided by a more stable market environment and government budgets normalizing after a protracted period of constraint, as well as consolidation and modernization efforts that are underway. We saw healthy and fairly consistent growth across the board, from civilian agencies to the Department of Defense and national security customers.

WashingtonExec: How does Juniper help government meet the growing demands placed on IT infrastructure?

Brian Roach: Juniper is at the forefront of network innovation. We continually invest to ensure that our products meet the highest performance demands of the marketplace. Globally, we do this to support a variety of industries. In North America, the federal government takes great advantage of our capabilities, as the products we build are really well designed to meet their demands.

In fact, we have had a number of years of development that have resulted in a huge outgrowth of products this year. We have a new core routing product in the PTX product series, we announced a number of new switches for the data center, and recently introduced the industry’s fastest firewall.

We’ve also been working with our customers and partners to be more market specific in developing solutions that meet their needs, including converged systems. These systems involve converging compute, storage, and networking, which have typically been defined as siloed solutions. We’re seeing the advent of converged and super-converged systems in the marketplace and we’re playing well in this area with our partners.

Converged systems are important to governments, who are looking for the “easy button” – pre-integrated, converged solutions – as well as the ability to procure, for lack of a better term, a pod of capability, that they can drop an environment into. Converged systems are pre-validated and pre-tested, and government IT professionals appreciate that they do not have to do the integration work on their own.

We’re seeing a tremendous amount of consolidation activity. This is certainly true in the Department of Defense in reference to the Joint Information Environment initiative, and ICITE in the intelligence community.

WashingtonExec: What sort of network modernization efforts are you seeing in public sector?

Brian Roach: We’re seeing a tremendous amount of consolidation activity. This is certainly true in the Department of Defense in reference to the Joint Information Environment initiative, and ICITE in the intelligence community. We’re also seeing a consolidation of security infrastructure, including efforts such as the Joint Regional Security Stack. These large consolidation activities drive greater bandwidth demands. As you start to consolidate all of these functions into a single data center or through a narrow security pipe you have to be able to maintain your communications at a much higher rate than normal. This suits Juniper well because we play in the high end by offering high bandwidth and high throughput capabilities

We’re also seeing a number of new networks evolve. For example, we’re paying close attention to FirstNet, a nation-wide LTE network designed to enhance communications between first responders.

Finally, Juniper is partnering with carriers who are looking to modernize and virtualize their interface to the government. Together, we’re addressing the customer provider edge of the network and looking at more innovative ways to address demands with virtualized solutions.

WashingtonExec: How is Juniper redefining the government data center?

Brian Roach: We’re doing so many different things that are really groundbreaking.

Out of the gate, we were the first company to develop a flat fabric architecture for large scale data centers. This was revolutionary, because Juniper offered the only technology that enables a truly single layer, any-to-any network within a data center. We continue to innovate and develop new technology to meet government’s vastly growing demands with regards to consolidated data centers. Think about data centers coming together, putting more and more strain on the network infrastructure; we build products to meet those demands, not only in very unique flat architectures, but in traditional data center architectures as well.

We’re also developing technology for the security perimeter around these data centers, such as our new high-performance firewall. It’s a traditional multi-function firewall, but the real magic is that we’re leveraging our expertise in high-performance networking and high bandwidth communications and bringing the technological advances we created for our routers into this firewall. Not only is this a thoughtful reuse of technology from a router to a firewall, it provides the ability to achieve high performance six 9’s of reliability. There’s no one else in the market that can perform at that level. In fact, we just validated with the Department of Energy a 98.2 percent efficiency rating, which no other technology provider can match. This blew the scientists away; it’s a mind-blowing capability.

Our network modernization solutions have directly impacted agencies’ bottom lines. Many of our customers have seen total cost of ownership savings of up to 30 percent.

WashingtonExec: Specifically, how do you see having open standards benefit government data centers and making modernization more convenient?

Brian Roach: Having an open standard approach enables the government to access innovation when they need it. If you don’t invoke open standards you’ll be locked in to a particular vendor and be on their timetable for innovation. If you leverage open standards you’ll open yourself to a global marketplace that’s very dynamic, highly innovative, and provides the opportunity to take best advantage of the tools that are available in the marketplace to meet your mission.  We believe that if you have open standards you can bring in the best of breed technology to meet your needs and mission.

WashingtonExec: Which projects at Juniper are you most excited about?

Brian Roach: As I mentioned before, we’ve got a lot of new product development happening, with groundbreaking solutions dedicated to data centers, virtualization, security, and more. We continue to innovate in all of these areas, and I’m very excited about the solutions we’ve introduced and the products in our pipeline.

Juniper’s innovation comes from a team of highly energetic and remarkably intelligent people that work in a culture of accountability and follow a core set of values. Our founders are very humble, which I find meaningful in this market. Everyone is dedicated to developing the highest performance network equipment on earth. If you work in the public sector, that’s a very exciting connection point. There’s no question that we’ll always be at the forefront of technology and be able to meet the highest demands of the marketplace.


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