The Internet has changed the fundamentals of networking by making it to essential to assume that any service could potentially be accessed by billions of customers, according to Juniper Chariman and CEO Scott Kriens.
Kriens visited Sydney last week and, late on Friday afternoon, conducted a closed media briefing in which he stated his belief that Juniper leads the market for large-scale networks.
"An application has to be online, real-time and global to succeed," he said. "This is why IT and networking are converging."
That requirement for global scale means the networking industry is rethinking its strategies.
"We are now redefining the market," he said. "It is not Juniper alone, but the whole industry that has discovered the market is the planet."
"Anyone on the planet is now available as a customer and a requester of a service."
"And when services ramp to millions of users quickly, you reach scale problems that have never been encountered before."
Coping with online operations at this scale, he says, is quite simply a task no-one has a manual to help them solve. Instead, he thinks the more intelligence can be packed into the network, the more likely it will be feasible to deliver wide-scale services online.
"We are seeing scale we have never seen and expectation of network intelligence," he said. "On the Internet, the network knows everything it needs to retrieve the resource and the expectation is that the network is faster, better and more reliable than the telephony network."
"But on the telephony network you have to give it network every detail about the resource you are trying to reach in order to get a connection."
That user driven input, he said, helps the telephony network's reliability.
But achieving similar stability for the Net is made harder by the fact much networking technology was developed to solve smaller problems.
"Routers were invented help different computers talk to each other," he asserted. "They connected DEC to Apple and Apple to IBM."
"That was the definition of the routing problem for 10 years."
"Then the Internet came along and the problem changed to how can one connect billions of users."
"We [Juniper] came along at a time when connecting billions was the definition of the problem. We had to start over."
Kriens believes having to redesign its equipment and software from the ground up gives his company a competitive advantage as it makes Juniper better-equipped for the task fo serving billions of users.
But he still sees many challenges ahead, as the complexity of delivering global online services and the network's role in making them possible is not to be underestimated.
"The world is made of the devices we all use," he said. "Think of them all as consumer electronics: they are low cost and differentiated by ease of use. There is a whole universe of information technology behind the scenes to make to those screen gets served with the data they want."
"The success of those devices is defined by whether the user experience is right. If the user experience is okay, the network has done its job."