The traditional model of the branch was developed long ago. In order to better serve a distributed clientele, banks and retailers adopted a strategy of using branches to spread out their operations. Each branch was a dedicated, permanent facility with all of the attendant operational concerns and costs of an independent entity. The variety of services offered in each branch depended on the services offered by the individual organisation but, generally speaking, remote branches followed the same, static architecture.
As technology advanced to include software applications, each branch would begin to house a more responsive infrastructure. This included a wide range of responsive applications – from business productivity applications, such as ERP, to email and file servers, to stock management applications, to loyalty card databases. In effect, each branch became its own independent ‘island’ of IT within the company’s infrastructure – and this resulted in a high degree of replication and proliferation across the organisation at large.
1Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchThe Real-Time BranchDe ning the future of branch connectivityA Juniper Networks Business BriefJuniper NetworksUntitled Document2Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchExecutive Summary In the late 1990s, it was predicted that the Internet would soon become the sole interface between organisations and the public. Bank branches and retail outlets were sure to disappear with the convenience of online transactions.But the forecasters were wrong. Customers today expect more and more from physical retail outlets. Inspired by the capabilities of the Internet, they want extra services and better access to real-time information in-store. For instance, if a customer nds that a product is not in stock, they often want to know if it can be delivered, or at the very least when the store will receive its next shipment. This is incentivising the adoption of a real-time enterprise approach to branch infrastructure, where customers and employees can gain access to up-to-the-minute information and services. The arrival of kiosks in branches is a sign of this move, offering as they do real-time access to stock inventories, account services, medical records or whatever information an organisation needs, there and then. But at the same time as retail organisations across industries are looking to extend the capabilities of their infrastructure further into the branch, there are also massive plans for streamlining. Branches already play host to a high degree of complex technology that challenges pro tability and regulatory compliance.To answer these con icting demands, what s needed is a centralised, consolidated IT architecture which joins up business processes across operations to make the real-time enterprise a reality.This is Juniper Network s vision of the real-time branch: where individual of ces and retail outlets cease to be outlying nodes and become exible, intelligent parts of the network backed by the resources of the whole enterprise.However, it s a vision with a catch. As the IDC recently commented, traditional converged branch network equipment has its own issues to address before it can claim to be the solution that branches have been looking for1. This paper looks at overcoming the equipment gap: making the branch environment not just an opportunity but something tangible that can be secured and assured through advanced networking technology. Juniper Networks technology. 1 Branch Networks The Way Ahead, IDC [Sep 2005]Untitled Document3Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchContentsExecutive Summary ................................................................................2Contents .................................................................................................3The changing face of the branch ............................................................4 The evolution of branch IT .....................................................................4The challenge for today ..........................................................................7 Transformation to the real-time branch ...................................................7Overcoming the barriers .........................................................................9 De ning the thin branch today .............................................................9Solutions for thin branches ................................................................11 Application performance: LAN-like performance over the WAN ................11 Security and compliance: combining performance with intelligence ........11 Data centre: supporting the thin branch .............................................13The future of branch networking ..........................................................15 The vendor of choice ..........................................................................15Untitled Document4Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchThe changing face of the branchWith the arrival of the Internet, customer outlets and branch of ces have taken on a different role. They now function alongside online shopping as a very necessary physical interface between an organisation and its customers. To meet customer expectations for real-time information and services, these branches now require more functionality and more advanced technology. But with this comes a problem: the more technology that is proliferated across the branches, the more complexity across the network and, crucially, the more a business costs to run.The evolution of branch ITThe traditional model of the branch was developed long ago. In order to better serve a distributed clientele, banks and retailers adopted a strategy of using branches to spread out their operations. Each branch was a dedicated, permanent facility with all of the attendant operational concerns and costs of an independent entity. The variety of services offered in each branch depended on the services offered by the individual organisation but, generally speaking, remote branches followed the same, static architecture.As technology advanced to include software applications, each branch would begin to house a more responsive infrastructure. This included a wide range of responsive applications from business productivity applications, such as ERP , to email and le servers, to stock management applications, to loyalty card databases. In effect, each branch became its own independent island of IT within the company s infrastructure and this resulted in a high degree of replication and proliferation across the organisation at large. But the complexity of branch infrastructure didn t stop there. Under the traditional model, discrete architectures for voice communications have also been required at each location. This often entails each branch maintaining its own discrete PBX, or the organisation purchasing a service from a telephone company. Whatever the case, each branch requires a separate, dedicated telephone network that typically predates any additional data network. And now, with the advent of new service offerings, like Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) and kiosks, as well as the growing need for networked CCTV, many branches are installing another network to handle the traf c these generate.The result is that branch of ce IT has become massively inef cient and a dif cult challenge to manage, particularly in terms of regulatory compliance. Even more worryingly, the complexity has in many cases prevented the evolution of new and better ways of working. Consequently, many branches have changed from enablers into serious risks to the competitive advantage that organisations today need. Banks today are reinvigorating their business by making the branch a value centre that offers a broad range of customer services. It is important to consider the impact these new services may have on IT infrastructure. Don Free, Finance Industry Analyst, GartnerUntitled Document5Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchThe emergence of the kioskWith the Internet changing the way we shop, the retail branch needs to keep up with customer demands and expectations. In recent years, this has resulted in the increasing use of kiosks.Kiosks are an advanced way of interacting with customers in the branch. Through a touch screen attached to a stand-alone, networked computer, customers can access a vast amount of product and store information.The upside is that branches whether banks, shops or libraries can use kiosks to offer the exible services and real-time information that customers now want. They enable customers to carry out an endless list of actions without the help of a store assistant such as ordering a product within the store, checking when a product will be available, ordering a new bank card, checking medical records and searching for a library book. The downside of kiosks is that they can affect the performance of core applications as the WAN struggles to carry increased amounts of information particularly as their functionality expands to include things like advertising and CRM. And of course the kiosks themselves can suffer from poor performance, which will negatively impact a customer s perception of an organisation. But, perhaps more harmful than brand damage, by opening up access to the corporate network it becomes more vulnerable to attack.Though there are clearly many bene ts to deploying kiosks, it s essential that they don t pose a threat to the security and performance of the existing architecture.To make the kiosk viable in today s real-time branch, it s essential that security and performance can be assured. Through Juniper Networks technology this is straightforward. With products such as the WAN accelerator, the WX and the Secure Services Gateway (SSG) it s possible to speed up the information that travels to and from the branch and ensure the high levels of security necessary to make kiosks the competitive advantage they should, and can, be.The Traditional BranchFacilities costsSupport costsSupport costsSupport costsSupport costsUntitled Document6Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchThe challenge for todayThe real-time branch model is an important opportunity for organisations to take back control of their distributed operations, as well as maximise the potential of kiosks. It reduces costs and eases compliance through lowering the amount of applications, devices and equipment each branch requires. At the same time, it increases its ability to be exible and responsive to change.Transformation to the real-time branch In recent years, a con uence of events has combined to drive organisations to revisit their approach to branch infrastructure. Competition for acquiring and maintaining customers has led to the development of new services as well as the need to increase customer responsiveness. Customers have become used to accessing information and services from a variety of channels: telephone, Internet, kiosks, ATM machines and in person. At the same time, branches have had to increase their own exibility for meeting customer demands. This has led to fundamental changes in remote branches. Where branches were typically static, dedicated facilities, they are now more exible, sometimes appearing within the con nes of other businesses, such as hospitals. In the case of banks, ATM machine functionality includes support for broader services and they too appear in locations further a eld, like airports and even mobile branches.In addition, company IT managers nd themselves faced with additional business drivers that continue to impact strategic decisions. These include increasing regulatory compliance and meeting cost-control expectations. For all of these issues, successful strategies increasingly mean resource centralisation and consolidation. Securing and managing data for compliance purposes, for example, is greatly simpli ed by removing resources from branches and placing them in the data centre. Equally, the consolidation of servers, storage and other elements of the IT infrastructure to the data centre reduces the capital expenditure associated with new branch development. And managing these resources centrally releases a signi cant proportion of operating costs.Coinciding with this trend has been a wave of technological innovations that have made such slimming down possible. The development and adoption of IP telephony, for instance, enables organisations to consolidate voice and data networks into one easier-to-manage and cheaper-to-own network. Indeed, the exibility to initiate, move and close branch of ces while controlling costs and increasing productivity has made IP telephony an attractive solution for companies everywhere. Untitled Document7Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time Branch This combination of maturing technology and immediate business demand has generated momentum for large-scale branch renewal projects with applications and data being centralised, and the infrastructure supporting them being consolidated. Under these schemes existing applications are being replaced or redesigned (so as to leverage IP protocols and enable central management at the data centre). Application, email and database servers are migrating from the branch to the data centre. Voice applications like PBXs are similarly in the process of being relocated. And voice and data networks are consolidating to simplify network deployment and management, as well as to enhance disaster recovery and business continuity efforts. The culmination of these efforts will be what Juniper Networks calls the real-time branch environment. It is a vision of a new era of signi cantly fewer applications and network resources in the branch, and with it comes an attendant increase in exibility, strategic agility and cost-effectiveness.Untitled Document8Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchOvercoming the barriersSeizing the opportunity of the real-time branch means overcoming a series of challenges. The greatest of these surrounds the branch network, which must now provide greater performance, security and availability in light of centralised, and increasingly latency sensitive, applications.De ning the thin branch todayWhile societal, economic, regulatory and technological factors are leading organisations to renew branches, implementing changes to the network infrastructure is no trivial task. The centralisation and consolidation of applications and resources requires highly available and high performance network infrastructures. Any network downtime or degradation of service can result in lost productivity, lost revenue generation and poor customer experience. Some examples of the performance and availability challenges introduced by centralisation include: " HTTP web traf c generating ten times the traf c of existing applications " Email and server centralisation creating latency issues " IP telephony producing extra traf c " High quality voice demanding low latencyAdditionally, along with the widespread adoption of new technologies there has been an increase in security threats to information and resources. These threats can incapacitate businesses, violate regulatory requirements, and signi cantly damage a brand in the eyes of customers. Some examples of security challenges include: " Intrusion attempts that target branches because they are perceived as weak points in the network " The provision of In-branch kiosks that open up the corporate network to the public " Attacks originating from within and from outside the network " The proliferation of viruses and worms that enter via email, disks or on computers that have been migrated out of the branch environmentHow thin is thin?The thin branch is categorised as having limited IT infrastructure at the branch location. Because the size of branch locations can vary, thin branch speci cations vary accordingly. Thin branches range from having no local applications to branches where some applications still reside at the branch, but data is centralised. Some branches consist of dozens or hundreds of people, while others may be nothing more than an ATM machine or a kiosk. Whatever the size of the branch, Juniper Networks offers an array of solutions that help to reduce the IT footprint of each location relative to other similarly-sized locations.Untitled Document9Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time Branch Finally, the move towards centralisation has had a signi cant effect on data centre technologies and infrastructures. To enable access to existing applications over the WAN, applications are moving to web-based technologies. This has resulted in a proliferation of devices both the devices front ending the server farm as well as web, application and database servers.Some examples of these data centre challenges include: " Users requiring access to all tiers of infrastructure in the data centre to ensure transaction completion " Web and application servers becoming more vulnerable to attack " Page download times needing to be acceptable for both local users co-located with the data centre and remote users in branch of ces " Managing the infrastructure across the organisation as a whole With the opportunity for new deployments, so come challenges. While branch of ces are undergoing a transformation in terms of network usage, IT/network managers are faced with several new challenges. Branch Networks The Way Ahead, IDCUntitled Document10Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchSolutions for thin branchesJuniper Networks offers an array of solutions to help organisations make the real-time branch a reality. Using the solutions described below, it s possible to increase the exibility and productivity of branch of ces and retail outlets, while reducing total cost of ownership and simplifying regulatory compliance processes.Application performance: LAN-like performance over the WANWhen it comes to ensuring the performance of business applications at the thin branch, Juniper Networks believes in delivering LAN-like performance over the WAN. This means that branch users should obtain the same experience they would enjoy if the newly centralised applications were still locally hosted.This is exactly what is provided with Juniper Networks WX WAN acceleration platforms. Signi cantly increasing the performance of applications, email, document imaging transfers, le sharing and other business activities, WX delivers a combination of capabilities that increase the effective throughput of existing WAN links several-fold while overcoming network latency and contention.These include: " Advanced compression " Sequence caching " Packet acceleration " Bandwidth management and traf c shaping " Path optimisation " CIFS acceleration The result is the ability to effectively deploy new technologies like IP telephony and remove resources from the branch like Exchange and le servers to increase effectiveness and reduce capital and operational expenditures. Regulatory requirements like Check 21 are also more easily met thanks to higher performing and more intelligent network infrastructures. Untitled Document11Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time Branch Security and compliance: combining performance with intelligenceThrough deploying Juniper Networks solutions at the data centre and at branches organisations can enhance security, performance and regulatory compliance while decreasing costs across the entire organisation. Securing critical assets, ensuring data integrity and protecting customer privacy are obviously critical activities for any business especially as they begin to open up their networks to the public through kiosks and ATMs. Failure to adequately secure stored and transmitted data can lead to signi cant loss of revenue, brand damage, exposure to serious regulatory non-compliance penalties and worse. Accordingly, as the sophistication and frequency of network threats have increased, so have the number of solutions aimed at mitigating attacks. For organisations interested in reducing the number of devices deployed and managed at branches, the proliferation of security devices represents an operational challenge. For this reason, Juniper Networks offers a broad range of security solutions that combine intelligence and performance, enabling organisations to increase security while consolidating devices. To support the future of retail outlets, library branches, bank branches and other branch environments, Juniper Networks offers a series of integrated Secure Services Gateway (SSG) security solutions. Ranging in size depending on the size of the branch these solutions make it possible to deploy rewall, IPSec VPN, antivirus, intrusion detection and prevention, denial of service mitigation and web ltering functionality all in a single device. The SSG series also supports a variety of routing protocols and optional wireless capabilities. The SSG series comprises enterprise-class security solutions supporting: " Full redundancy " Sub-second rewall " VPN tunnel failover " Anti-spyware " Anti-phishing All SSG devices support advanced virtual routing features that enable organisations to consolidate security resources (by increasing interface density) without additional hardware expenditures. The result is lower policy creation costs, better containment of unauthorised users and attacks, and simpli ed VPN management.Juniper Networks SSG solutions deploy the same intelligent, resilient operating system running on purpose-built network security devices. Juniper Networks also offers the Security Manager to simplify the deployment and management of security devices across the organisation from one central point further facilitating resource centralisation and consolidation efforts.Further reading...Learn more about securing in the branch of ce in the these Juniper Networks publications: " Meeting Branch Of ce Business Needs for Security and Networking (more) " Juniper Networks Security Solutions Portfolio (more)Untitled Document12Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchData centre: supporting the thin branchIn order to enable the deployment of thin branches, organisations must increase the capacity, performance and security of data centre resources. Centralising applications and data can lead to a proliferation of devices inside the data centre and the danger is that many of the cost savings realised at the branch might simply be relocated to the data centre. However, Juniper Networks DX application acceleration platforms enable organisations to increase application performance at the data centre and consolidate resources there. By deploying Juniper Networks DX at the data centre, page download times are cut in half, allowing branch users to enjoy higher quality experiences as well as increased productivity. Also, dynamic application adaptation allows the on-the- y de nition of rules that enable applications to return the desired content instead of le not found errors when backend con gurations change. Furthermore, DX increases application availability in the event of failure by redirecting traf c to web, application and database servers that are still healthy and operational. Juniper Networks DX platforms in the data centre help organisations limit infrastructure and resource growth costs in the data centre that result from consolidation.DX application acceleration platforms of oad core networking and I/O responsibilities from web and application servers, doubling server capacity. Subsequently, businesses can support many more users while strictly controlling increases in server deployments. Also, since the DX device provides functionality typically found in disparate networking devices like compression, SSL acceleration and load balancing, it s possible to deploy a single integrated platform instead of multiple devices from multiple vendors.Untitled Document13Copyright 2006 Juniper Networks IncThe Real-Time BranchThe future of branch networkingThe vendor of choiceFor many IT managers, tackling proliferation in the branch isn t just about overall cost-savings, compliance and business agility. Growing use of multimedia communications and other maturing applications to create a real-time enterprise has made branch of ce networks increasingly complex and challenging to manage on a day-to-day basis. Networking equipment must, therefore, not only meet all the requirements for real-time branch networking but, at the same time, be simple for easy administration and management. Equally, there should be enough reliability and scalability to support the further adoption and evolution of applications that are latency-sensitive and highly demanding on network resources. Many of the products currently on the market for branch of ce networks fall short of meeting these needs . However, products exist within the Juniper Networks portfolio that satisfy the criteria. They represent an important opportunity that any manager of a branch of ce network should know about when undergoing renewal plans and network upgrades. They have the ability to secure and assure future of branch networking.Delivering the real-time branch to your organisation...To learn exactly how Juniper Networks can deliver the real-time branch to your organisation, visit www.junipernetworks.eu.com/branch or call on +44 (0) 1372385500.About Juniper NetworksJuniper Networks develops application intelligent networking solutions that deliver high availability, reliability, security and performance. Alone and in combination, Juniper Networks products are designed to maximise customer satisfaction, simplify regulatory compliance and facilitate resource consolidation and cost control. Projects and initiatives like branch renewal, data centre consolidation, IP telephony and web-based applications often require upgrading the existing network infrastructure. With Juniper Networks solutions, organisations can add a service layer to the network while protecting and extending the existing network investment.Untitled DocumentJuniper HouseGuildford RoadLeatherheadSurrey, KT22 9JHPhone: +44 (0) 1372 385500Fax: +44 (0) 1372 385501www.juniper.net