T-Systems: Using Automation to Modernize and Simplify Data Center Operations | Juniper Global Summit
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.
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?
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.
01:56 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.