IBM signs a $325M contract to help Juniper transition to cloud-native

IBM Services announced on Wednesday that it has signed a seven-year, $325 million agreement with Juniper Networks to help Juniper better manage its IT services and give it a quicker on-ramp to a cloud-native architecture.

As part of the deal, IBM will also help Juniper with its existing infrastructure and applications. IBM will use its IBM Services Platform with Watson to aid Sunnyvale, California-based Juniper to manage its support systems including data centers, help desk and voice and data networks.

Juniper Networks has had rocky revenues over the past year or so. The deal with IBM looks like an attempt by Juniper to reset itself as it faces increased competition from Cisco, Arista Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks, among others.

By signing on with IBM, Juniper is revamping itself internally by using Big Blue's cognitive technologies to create an agile IT environment. IBM will also put its "Factory Development" concept into play to help Juniper with application management by using automation management and cognitive tools, all of which were designed to help Juniper cut costs, improve efficiency and help move it toward a cloud-native environment at a faster rate.

With cloud-native, service providers and enterprises can split disaggregated systems into even smaller, independent microservice functions that can scale up or down as needed. Cloud-native also improves efficiencies while allowing them to turn on new services in a fraction of the time it takes today.

"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, chief information officer at Juniper Networks, in a prepared statement. "In working with IBM Services, we will be able to collaborate with them on innovative solutions for our cloud-first business model."

In its most recent third quarter that was released in November, Juniper's cloud revenues were down 28% year over year and 11% sequentially. For the three months that ended Sept. 30, Juniper reported net revenues of $1.179 billion, which was down 6% year over year and 2% from the previous quarter.

RELATED: Juniper Networks buys cloud storage company HTBASE

Juniper has been working toward moving away from hardware-only revenues by branching out into other areas. In late November, Juniper announced it was buying enterprise cloud storage vendor HTBASE for an undisclosed sum. Juniper said at the time that HTBASE would give it a means to move workloads from on premises into multicloud environments. Juniper put HTBASE's software-defined enterprise multicloud storage platform into its Contrail Enterprise Multicloud division.

In October, Juniper announced several initiatives that were designed to help speed up network automation for its carrier and enterprise customers.