IBM has been chosen to assist Juniper Networks in modernizing its cloud infrastructure, in a deal worth $325 million over seven years.

As part of the initiative, Juniper will use the IBM Services Platform with Watson to help manage its existing data centers, applications and IT services.

Juniper, meet Watson

Watson, the early years
IBM Watson - the early years – Wikimedia Commons

California-based Juniper is one of the world’s largest networking equipment and software vendors, with a market cap of approximately $10.6 billion.

IBM Services will transition the company to a hybrid cloud architecture that uses Watson to simplify management - IBM’s cognitive computing platform relies on machine learning and features advanced natural language capabilities, which means you can theoretically talk to it the way would to a real human being. The platform is used by the US Army, among others.

IBM’s Watson tech will be applied to a wide variety of tasks at Juniper, from its help desks to its data and voice networks.

Juniper itself is no stranger to artificial intelligence tools, having applied AI to its networking software for years, most recently in the shape of network automation modules called bots, launched as part of its ‘self-driving network’ concept.

"A key element of our digital transformation is to manage the complexities of our global operation and to get the most out of our current investments," said Bob Worrall, CIO at Juniper. "In working with IBM Services, we will be able to collaborate with them on innovative solutions for our cloud-first business model."

It is not clear whether this means Juniper will also become a major customer of IBM Cloud – a quote from Martin Jetter, Senior Vice President of IBM Global Technology Services, suggests otherwise: "Our work with thousands of enterprises globally has led us to the firm belief that a 'one-cloud-fits-all' approach doesn't work and companies are choosing multiple cloud environments to best meet their needs," he said in a statement.

A Juniper spokesperson gave DCD an even more cryptic response: "Juniper Networks regularly reviews business operations and opportunities to improve services and reduce costs. IBM will continue to maintain the high-level of IT service our customers have grown to expect over the years, while allowing us to focus on driving toward long-term growth.”

Look out for our interview with Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Networks, in the next issue of DCD Magazine, available in print and online.