I recently attended the very first Juniper-MistAI event in Las Vegas. Event was short (total of 1.5 days) yet very insightful, engaging and super helpful for the customers and partners. I’d like to share some quick thoughts.
Event took place at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Check-in process was painless, and the staff was very helpful. I had a nice, fancy room, which is mostly normal in Vegas.
As I was walking towards the registration area, I saw Peter Mackenzie. Now that was certainly a good start. We chatted for a little and after registration I asked him if he would be ok to take a picture.
Right after Peter, I ran into @tauniodia who recently joined Juniper-Mist for Product Marketing. Second time meeting her this year, she is totally outstanding and a wonderful person. Thank you for fixing my badge/registration, by the way.
As I was about to walk back towards my room, check out who I ran into Sudheer Matta and Bob Friday:
First time I saw Sudheer speak about Mist was during the WLPC 2020 conference. His passion and energy about what Mist is all about was impressive. I must have asked like 50 questions once I saw some features and he answered each question with passion and patience. It was that conversation with Sudheer and Bryan Ward that led me to look into Juniper-Mist. We never got to meet officially that day, so this was the first time we officially shook hands. Looks like our T-shirts were matching. Total coincidence or was it? I don’t know. Thank you Sudheer and it was a pleasure meeting you. We almost got Bob Friday in the pic too. Next time I’ll have to catch him alone.
This is just a random view from near the elevator.
Gartner had some excellent talking points but the two I really would like to mention here are:
- Define Technical use-case
- Do a robust proof of concept
Good marketing can make anything look like a diamond. Anytime you are looking to refresh your network or interested in deploying Mist, not sure how you feel not a problem. Define your project (Business and Technical needs) and do a proof of concept. Pick an area where you are having the most issues. So far, every demo or a proof of concept I have been involved in regardless of who was leading it (myself or Mist) customer has been impressed. You do not have to trust the word of any vendor, test it out yourself.
Sudheer talked about key technologies of Juniper-Mist and gave everyone a good high level yet technical overview. Two interesting things here I’d like to mention were:
- Supporting additional QFX switches in the Mist dashboard
- Mist Identity
We have been waiting for Juniper-Mist to complete this one last piece of the puzzle and come up with their own NAC solution. Earlier this year, Juniper announced that they have acquired White Sands. My first thought was, will that product get integrated into the Mist dashboard? But Mist took a completely different approach. Instead of trying to integrate that product, they used this opportunity as a talent acquisition. NAC solution is being built from the ground up; which is a great decision. Looking forward to seeing what’s next in the Juniper NAC world.
I was hoping Juniper would announce new switches, but looks like we will have to wait on that.
Customer panel at this event was extremely valuable. For Wi-Fi I always like to get direct feedback from the users after the install or changes. During this session, customers shared their experience of migrating from other legacy solutions to Juniper-Mist. They discussed their experience from the proof of concept to the deployment and post deployment support.
I talked to one customer; I asked, “what made them choose Mist?”. And the answer was the proof of concept and all the features they saw during their proof of concept.
Bob and Sunalini spoke about the Indoor Location services, BLE, vBLE. How Mist resolves the challenges and reduces operational and deployment cost. This is not an overlay solution, this is built into their access points, specifically AP33, AP43 and AP45 with 16 vBLE antennas.
Ok this was really cool, to bad I couldn’t bring it back with me.
I had some questions related to EVPN-VXLAN and Campus Architectures; Sudheer introduced me to Rohan Chadha, who is the Product Manager at Mist systems. We had a pretty good conversation on the subject and he told me about the EVPN-VXLAN session I should attend. I also finally got to meet Abhi Shamsundar, who is part of the Product Management team and has always helped me out with the deep technical questions. EVPN-VXLAN session was excellent, slides were great. Quick demo they showed was flawless. They showed a demo of deploying a campus fabric in 4 quick steps.
- add switch
- add VLANs
- connect the switches
If you don’t have the ports connected right, MistAI will tell you. This is important; why? Because troubleshooting takes time and faster, I can find out the root cause as an engineer, faster I can deploy, provision equipment. Above all, keep the downtime to minimum. Ability to get to the root cause fast makes the experience seamless for all the parties involved.
Reid Stidolph from the product management team presented a session on SD-WAN. Juniper-Mist is taking a very different approach for SD-WAN. Normally, I have seen vendors using tunnels for SD-WAN solutions and create business overlays like that. Juniper-Mist acquired 128 Technology back in 2020. Integration of their SSR is now integrated into the Mist Dashboard. Juniper SSR uses SVR (Secure Vector Routing) instead of traditional tunnels for the traffic. I found a good white paper on Secure Vector Routing if anyone wants to read more about it.
ZTP, scripting, traffic steering, overlays, policies, application disconnects were just some of the things we discussed.
Creating 6000 sites in 1321.985 seconds and getting them ready to deploy Juniper-Mist gear is super fun.
I don’t think @jjx needs any introductions. She has an excellent security focused blog at securityuncorked.com, founder and principal advisor with Viszen Security I have been wanting to get my book signed and meet her for a while and right after one session we connected and I could get my book signed in person. Yes, getting it signed in person is super outstanding. I’d like to thank Jennifer for signing the book; great conversation we had on some technology topics such as CWNP, NAC, security, CBRS and giving me some career guidance/advice.
I had a great time during this conference and met some really great people and connected with a few of them. Robert Boardman, it was great meeting you, thrilled for you and Kristin, and wish you best of luck with your move. Jason N. Beshara it was great to see you after a while. Keith R. Parsons, it is always a pleasure meeting you. Got the CWISA out of the way, so going to take your advice and finally apply for my passport. Wes Purvis, some serious brain power behind Mist. Thank you for answering my questions so patiently. Ryan M. Adzima, I didn’t get a chance to talk to you during the WLPC 2020, so it great meeting you at this event. I still remember your Ekahau and Mist integration totally blew my mind and I have been able to save so much time during my deployments because of that feature. Shaun Bender we have got to hang out more next time. Bruno Mejia and Brian Smith from AccelTex. It was good hanging out and talk business/tech. Rob Horner, it was great meeting you at the Chandelier, I still can’t figure out where do I know you from but I’m glad we connected. Thank you for hanging out with my team. I’m great full to meet some of our customers during this event also (you know who you are) we had a great time hanging out with you. Many thanks to Imperium Data and Brian Hill and Nick Scarsella for the opportunity. I’m sure I probably missed lots of other great people I shook hands with and chatted with, please accept my sincere thanks for meeting with me and interacting with me.
It was a great event, and I enjoyed every bit. Thank you to everyone at Juniper-Mist who made this event happen. One very important detail I forgot to mention. Food, yes I love food. Food was great. Especially the sushi area. Looking forward to attend the next MistAI event in 2023.