Original post on MSP Today
Digital transformation has swept its way across the world within the past couple of years, forever changing the way businesses go about daily processes and consumers go about daily tasks. The explosion of revolutionary technology has allowed enterprises of nearly every industry to enhance and optimize their systems and techniques.
Digitalization has affected many businesses internally, and innovative devices and applications have also allowed whole sectors themselves to grow amidst the start of the digital age, with the most notable growth coming from the managed service providers (MSP) industry.
The rise of digitalization had many enterprises realizing their lack of skilled IT professionals, as well as their lack of secure IT infrastructure as cybersecurity grew. These factors opened the door for unprecedented growth in the MSP industry, as they became IT experts across all functional areas, such as trial, installation, training, management, support, maintenance, and upgrades.
The global managed service provider market was valued at $243.33 billion by the end of 2021 but has grown since and is expected to continue growing still. Experts predict that the market will grow at a CAGR of 12.6 percent, bringing the total estimated value to $557.10 billion by the end of 2028.
The growth comes as no surprise, as MSPs have now become technological “jacks of all trades,” relied upon by numerous industries to aid with choosing, implementing, and correctly leveraging innovative technology. MSPs today deliver a wide array of digital services, including network, application, infrastructure, and security, via ongoing and regular support.
However, though MSPs have strived to become digital experts in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, there are still some hurdles for them to overcome when assisting clientele. One of the most notable challenges MSPs face today is network visibility, or, more so, a lack thereof.
“We’ve been able to break through this barrier working with Juniper Networks,” said Robert Sese
Senior Director, Global Strategy & Innovation at ConnX, a global MSP with hundreds of large enterprise customers. “Integrating their edge equipment and software into our Maestro platform, a multi-service system enhanced with AI Service Assurance, which helps tackle the complexities of today’s enterprise communications networks.”
The term “network observability” refers to being aware of everything within and moving through a network with the help of advanced, automated management tools. These tools are used to keep a close and constant eye on network traffic, monitor applications and network performance, and manage network resources and big data analytics, which in turn, requires effective and scalable data collection, aggregation, distribution, and delivery.
“Working with the team and technology at Juniper, we’ve been able to implement our AI Powered SD-WAN, with data generated at the far edge of the network,” Sese explained. “Our customers have been able to dramatically reduce cost, improve security, and benefit from our AI Active Assurance offering, which fully integrates Juniper’s market-leading technology.”
Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), a leader in experience-driven networking, brings its AI-driven SD-WAN capabilities to the ConnX offering.
Recognized as a leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure and the only visionary in Gartner’s 2022 Magic Quadrant for SD-WAN, Juniper is simplifying how enterprises operate their networks while improving user experiences with automation and proactive AI-driven operations.
Juniper’s AI-driven SD-WAN includes Juniper Mist WAN Assurance, a cloud service with AI-powered automation and SLE monitoring, as well as Marvis, a virtual network assistant with a conversational interface that helps IT teams get answers in real-time. With Juniper’s client-to-cloud AI-driven Technology, ConnX customers benefit from fully integrated AIOps, security, and troubleshooting across the WLAN, LAN, and WAN for lower costs and optimized end-user experiences.
“Together, we are bringing unprecedented advantages to our customers, with tunnel-free technology which eliminates 30-50% of wasted bandwidth, automation and zero-touch provisioning for precise and rapid deployment, and granular network visibility which reduces impairments and means time to repair,” Sese said. “With a zero-trust approach, session integrity goes beyond best efforts, and security is that much stronger.”
ConnX SD-WAN is a completely integrated, end-to-end managed service offering that solves major problems most enterprises face when they experience service impairments.
“Network visibility has always been important, but now, the growing volume and variety of data that typical enterprise networks carry make full visibility increasingly important,” Sese said. “Enterprises are accountable for the data that travels on their networks, and as this data becomes more complex, network monitoring becomes more difficult, and potential threats become more likely. This is not just an operational challenge, but a compliance risk for highly regulated industries like healthcare, financial services, e-commerce, and more.”
Safeguarding a customer’s security and ensuring optimal performance are top priorities, but there are some hurdles posed by our modern digital environments that they have to address. For example, with the rise of cloud computing and an increase in mobile traffic, there are more blind spots than ever for MSPs to look out for, as cloud and mobile both create new blind spots for MSPs to contend with.
“Because of these issues, MSPs are increasingly looking for ways to enhance their network visibility capabilities, for both their own and their client’s benefit,” said Karen Falcone, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Juniper Networks. “One way MSPs are going about enhancing their network visibility offerings is through the use of artificial intelligence for IT operations, also known as AIOps platforms like ConnX has been pioneering.”
AIOps is the application of AI, and related technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), to traditional IT Ops activities and tasks. With AIOps, teams can tame the immense complexity and quantity of data generated by their modern IT environments and thus prevent outages, maintain uptime, and attain continuous service assurance.
“AIOps can help MSPs address the ‘why’ behind incidents and enable the offensive play with software,” Falcone explained. “As development teams face continued pressure to provide new features and functionality as digital transformation continues, observability can make operations more seamless by offering one-stop capture, visualization, and analysis of incidents for holistic insight into operations. Insights gathered from answering the ‘why’ behind events can lead to answers MSPs wouldn’t normally ask up front.”
With AIOps, MSPs that often support customers with a mix of tools, applications, systems, and processes across on-prem and hybrid-cloud infrastructures can onboard and achieve value quickly by ingesting events directly from disparate apps and leveraging automated noise reduction, deduplication, context enrichment, event correlation, incident resolution, and predictive analytics. These advancements also help MSPs achieve scalability and agility to manage an increased infrastructure footprint.
“Full end-to-end network observability from edge to the cloud enables AIOps to unify all disparate data sources with integration, Sese said. “Consequently, MSPs can serve a range of customers even as they keep internal training costs in check. By working on the same AIOps layer, our team achieves faster time to value and deliver a sophisticated customer experience.”
AIOps may be relatively new to the game in terms of technological advancements, but the technology is gaining momentum quite rapidly. The global market for AIOps is estimated to grow from $3.0 billion in 2021 to reach $9.4 billion by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.1 percent.
With the market expected to grow as quickly as it is, MSPs must realize that the trend of AIOps is a truly beneficial and advantageous one for them to join. Digital advancements are only set to continue, making future networks set to be more complex than they are now, with even more potential openings for would-be cybercriminals. This means network visibility is only going to become more crucial than it already is, making the adoption and use of AIOps sooner rather than later no longer much of a choice but a necessity for MSPs.
To learn more, register for the “Gain Your Edge, with AI at the Edge” webinar featuring both Juniper Networks and ConnX, taking place March 23, 2023, at 2:00 PM EST.