IBM and Juniper Networks today extended their partnership in a way that will apply advanced predictive analytics software to network management in real time.

Announced at the IBM InterConnect 2015 conference, Bob Picciano, senior vice president for IBM Analytics, said that alliance represents an industry first in that for the first time advanced predictive analytics will be applied in real time to data as it transverse the network.

Terms of the deal

Under the terms of partnership, IBM will work with Juniper Networks to apply IBM analytics software in the form of IBM Now Factory, InfoSphere BigInsights for Hadoop, InfoSphere Streams, Cognos, PureData for Analytics Watson Analytics and SPSS software to network management.

That software will be packed up in an IBM Now Factory offering that will be packaged with MX Router SG routers and Contrail software-defined networking (SDN) software from Juniper Networks. Juniper will then use the data collected by IBM analytics software to automatically update and optimize network performance. Juniper also plans to integrate IBM analytics software into the Cloud Analytics Engine the company developed on its own.

MSPs and real time predictive analytics

For MSPs the promise of applying predictive analytics in real time to networking could be transformative on multiple levels. Reducing the number of bottlenecks will not only increase network uptime; it should also significantly reduce the ongoing costs associated with managing those networks as routine management tasks increasingly become automated.

Ahmed Guetari, vice president of product management for Juniper Networks, said the alliance with IBM extends a long-standing partnership between the two vendors that stretches now for more than a decade. Naturally, Juniper Networks will not be the only network vendors applying analytics to network management. But IBM has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars building out an analytics portfolio that included the acquisition of SPSS to the development of the Watson cognitive computing platform.

Predictive analytics and networking

It may take a while yet for predictive analytics software to redefine how networks are managed. But with everything from cloud computing to the Internet of Things (IoT) now dependent on highly distributed networks to ensure delivery of applications, networking has reached a level of complexity that often challenges the skillsets of even the most sophisticated MSPs.

The good news is that as more of the management of hose networks becomes automated the easier it becomes for MSPs to stay in business no matter how complicated the underlying network infrastructure eventually becomes.