Mike Bushong, VP, Cloud-Ready Data Center, Juniper Networks

T-Systems: Using Automation to Modernize and Simplify Data Center Operations | Juniper Global Summit

Global Summit 2021 Operations
Mike Bushong Headshot
Split-screen from video of Mike Bushong, VP, Cloud-Ready Data Center, Juniper Networks (on the left) interviewing Robert Semjon, Head of Data Center Network Operations Global, T-Systems International GmbH (on the right) about digital transformation and T-Systems' partnership with Juniper.

Automation that modernizes and simplifies.

With a focus on cloud services and solutions, T-Systems is aiming to support its customers in managing digital transformation. In this interview with Robert Semjon, you’ll hear how T-Systems has partnered with Juniper to modernize and simplify its data center operations.

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You’ll learn

  • How T-Systems responds to changing customer demands

  • How automation helps simplify all aspects of day-to-day networking

  • The role machine learning will play in the future of the industry

Who is this for?

Network Professionals Security Professionals


Mike Bushong Headshot
Mike Bushong
VP, Cloud-Ready Data Center, Juniper Networks

Guest speakers

Robert Semjon Headshot
Robert Semjon
Head of Data Center Network Operations Global, T-Systems International GmbH


00:00 [music]

00:07 -Hi everyone.

00:07 My name is Mike Bushong, Vice President Data Center, product

00:10 management here at Juniper Networks.

00:12 Joining me today is Robert Semjon, who's a global head of Data Center

00:16 and Network Operations for T-Systems.

00:18 Robert, welcome, and thank you for joining us today.

00:21 -Hello, and thank you for having me.

00:24 -Robert, maybe we can begin with just a couple of sentences on

00:27 who T-Systems is and what it is that you do.

00:32 -T-Systems is a company which is present in over 20 countries,

00:37 almost 30,000 employees, and 4.2 billion revenue per year.

00:43 What we are trying to do is support the customers in successfully

00:48 managing to digital transformation and help them realize the full

00:52 potential of true digitalization.

00:55 We do focus on cloud services.

00:59 We do offer and operate a full range of cloud solutions.

01:03 In our portfolio or from a customer point of view, we have 30 customers

01:09 in Germany and 100 of the top 500 fortune companies who trust T-Systems

01:15 and rely on their IT services.

01:17 As part of the Deutsche Telekom, we are offering a single source from

01:21 the service secure operation of legacy systems

01:26 to the traditional ITC services up to the cloud technologies

01:32 and innovation of new

01:34 things developing to our market.

01:38 -Juniper and T-Systems have partnered together for many years in an

01:41 agile data center architecture supporting your customers,

01:44 some of the biggest businesses in the world.

01:47 Let's start maybe with a brief description of your responsibilities

01:50 leading data center worldwide, and how you meet the increasing

01:53 demands for your business.

01:55 -Sure.

01:56 As I already mentioned, we are cooperating with

01:58 Juniper for many years now.

02:02 Currently, we are mostly using Juniper as one of the data center LAN providers

02:09 meaning we use Juniper for our LAN infrastructure inside of T-System

02:15 data centers doing to basic LAN and networking things to ensure

02:22 the connectivity within the data center

02:25 for all the compute storage, and et cetera.

02:27 Everything, what is needed.

02:31 -Obviously customers, they have a lot of changing demands.

02:35 Do you think that what they're expecting changes over time as they start to

02:39 think about the technology as well?

02:41 If you could talk a bit about what you expect your customers

02:44 to be demanding of you going forward.

02:49 -If we are in discussion with the customers especially if it comes

02:53 to our network, in the past there was a situation that nobody was

02:59 really interested in the network.

03:01 Network was something that's supposed to simply work.

03:04 It's like an elevator in a building.

03:07 If you're coming to the elevator and you push the button,

03:09 you're not thinking that the elevator will not come or the door will not open.

03:12 It simply happens.

03:14 For you, it's automatic.

03:15 In the past, it was the same with the network.

03:17 Network was something there and network was something that

03:20 the customer itself was not very interested in the end of the day.

03:25 Simply, it must work.

03:26 That was the request.

03:28 It changes now because also our customers are realizing that

03:32 there can be a lot of added value coming up to the network services.

03:36 I'm not speaking, of course, about security, which is more and more

03:40 important, but also the capability of network to tell you where are

03:45 the weaknesses of your computer infrastructure, for example.

03:48 Not only in security, but also in performance.

03:51 How can you, by updating one device, gain 1% or 2%, for example, of

03:57 performance increase and such stuff?

04:00 This is getting more and more important, I believe.

04:04 -maybe you can talk a bit about what does this mean for those people

04:08 who are operating the network?

04:10 -Especially If it comes for example to automation, then many people

04:15 get ultimately (unclear) of course.

04:17 If we speak about automation of stuff, then everybody's thinking,

04:22 "Oh, now I'm going to lose my job, or similar opinions."

04:29 Actually, the opposite is true.

04:31 We are trying to simplify the easy tasks,

04:34 the tasks that are reoccurring every day.

04:37 At the same time, we then free up our people so we can then

04:41 use for more complex topics.

04:43 Topics that are having added value to our customers.

04:47 Not focusing only on solving our incidents within

04:52 putting commands to the CLI.

04:54 This is exactly the things we will like in the future, automate completely

04:58 and use the experts that we do hype on the floor to discuss

05:02 with the customers the problems and bring the solutions to them.

05:06 -Yes. we hear that a lot in the market as well when people are afraid that

05:11 the technology it's going to represent a threat to who they are, obviously,

05:14 it really unlocks more of what they can do.

05:18 When you're looking at this, and just relative to the Juniper solution,

05:21 can you talk a bit about the differences you see from our perspective

05:25 the benefits that the partnership that Juniper brings to your business?

05:30 -I see a huge advantage when we started the cooperation with Juniper

05:35 on one side, on the hardware that you're producing, of course,

05:38 it is also one of the reasons why we choose Juniper, but not only

05:42 hardware, also on the software side.

05:44 There is a huge advantage if I'm looking to Juniper now after the

05:50 acquisition of Apstra because Apstra is one of the things that we are

05:54 looking very closely since several months and more than one year.

06:00 Now, we start to introduce the solution also to our first or to

06:05 our existing Juniper buildups.

06:08 This should work or should bring in the future a much better scale

06:13 of simplification optimization of classical day-to-day business.

06:19 -you mentioned to Apstra that you had been

06:21 looking at Apstra for more than a year,

06:24 can you talk a bit about what drew you to Apstra, and what was it

06:27 that kept that engagement going strong even before the Juniper acquisition?

06:33 -There is a huge trend at the moment in the market about software-defined

06:37 networking, everybody started speaking and also predefined, et cetera.

06:42 Always in this discussion putting very simple questions like, what do

06:47 you understand under software-defined networking and what is behind?

06:50 Because there can be a lot of things hidden, and suddenly,

06:53 the discussion especially if we then start to discuss internally or

06:57 even externally with the customers, nobody exactly knows what to expect.

07:02 Everybody's talking about it, and only a few people have a very clear expectation

07:09 from software-defined networking care.

07:11 It is really about not only having the underlying hardware is

07:14 having software which is doing the driving or under the orchestration

07:19 of the network in the future.

07:22 Apstra is the solution which we see with a huge potential

07:27 fulfilling this orchestration part in software-defined networking.

07:31 Very important, also, the capability really as I already mentioned

07:34 of automation of the use cases.

07:37 We look to Apstra in order to be able in the future to automate and to automate

07:43 not only in one field or automate only in one technology, but really to cover

07:49 almost all aspects of networking that we are doing in our day-to-day business.

07:54 -Robert, you mentioned multivendor when talking about Apstra, maybe

07:57 you can comment a bit about how unique a value proposition that is.

08:01 Is that something that you see everywhere in all of the competitive offerings?

08:07 -Let me put it another way that Apstra is not a single solution which is

08:11 allowing multi-vendor support, of course, but a lot of solutions that

08:15 are focusing only on one technology or on one provider exclusively

08:22 which is always difficult because if you

08:24 are using different aspects of networking

08:28 and you then also, for example, go in several vendors strategically to get at

08:35 least two vendors per technology then, of course, it becomes very complex.

08:41 A huge advantage at least for us is that Apstra covers most of the technologies

08:48 which we are using, and that allows us, of course, for a much simpler rollout

08:53 of the solution into our network.

08:55 -Yes, there's been a lot of change.

08:56 You mentioned software-defined networking, obviously,

08:59 we've done some work around intent-based networking,

09:02 we've got changes

09:03 in technology everywhere.

09:05 Now, if you look forward at what you think is coming next,

09:08 what's next for the industry, and really what's next for T-Systems.

09:13 -If I look into the future I still think there is a huge potential in the

09:17 things that we are doing at the moment.

09:19 It's just lots of different things an entire network as already I mentioned.

09:24 If I should or if you're asking me what will come next in the next month,

09:29 in the next year, I think the trend will vary stronger into more machine learning

09:36 and in the trends of more and watching the network, and giving

09:42 the network capabilities to decide for itself in some situations what to do.

09:49 I'm not going to use some fancy wording because that is really a

09:55 far future for me, but really to have the possibility to decide on

10:02 strict-defined rules by the network itself,

10:05 how to react in simple cases,

10:08 or in some cases, especially in cases of potential outages and similar stuff.

10:14 This includes data mining.

10:18 This also includes also, of course,

10:19 the telemetry and collecting the data that we

10:21 already have today and using more of the data that we are

10:24 collecting because every single device in the network is producing some works .

10:28 Every single device is telling something about its state and

10:33 about the situation in the network.

10:36 It will be very strongly, and we'll be using this data, this information

10:39 much more in the future, in order to trigger some automatic events.

10:46 -If you were imagining that somebody's going to take your seat at some point,

10:50 what guidance would you give to people who are starting out early in their

10:54 careers on the network operations side?

10:56 What technology should they be paying attention to?

10:58 What skills should they be considering adding to their own set of capabilities?

11:05 -If you are looking to the situation today, at least we as a company,

11:11 we're trying to go to the way of the ropes and a series,

11:17 I would suggest the new people

11:21 or new person there in the seat to really to focus on that kind of

11:27 expertise to push the people,

11:29 become more agile, become more self-driven and

11:34 get immediate skills to become experts, for example,

11:39 in the (unclear) and engineering,

11:41 and that areas because we do see that is something

11:45 that is working, and we do miss, at the moment, people with the skill.

11:52 -You've obviously been engaged with Juniper and Apstra for a while.

11:55 I'm curious if you have any thoughts about, maybe what you're most proud of.

11:58 What have you accomplished that you really think is incredible

12:01 over the past year or so?

12:04 -If you're looking now and today, and how we enrolled the new Juniper

12:11 switches and LAN environment, I'm really glad that this is ongoing

12:16 and the implementation because doing such exchanges is always difficult.

12:21 It's not an easy thing to do, just unrake and recable and everything is working,

12:26 especially if you are migrating from some legacy platform or devices

12:31 to the new ones, but even there, we are able to do it very smooth and that's

12:37 something I'm really, really happy.

12:40 -Robert, thank you so much for your time today.

12:42 We really appreciate your insight and the stories that you've shared.

12:45 It's incredible to look at the journey that T-Systems and Juniper have been on.

12:49 I think it's at the time of great change in our industry

12:52 and I'm personally excited about what that means for our customers.

12:55 I'm excited about what it means for Juniper as a company.

12:58 I'm excited about what it means ultimately for the end-users of

13:01 the infrastructure that we provide.

13:03 Thank you so much and have a great day.

13:05 Thank you very much.

13:06 Bye.

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