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Juniper Unwraps New Software, Silicon, Systems and Partners

By D.H. Kass

November 2, 2009

Juniper Networks Inc. detailed its vision of the “new network” last week, unwrapping a blizzard of software, silicon, systems and deals along with a fresh strategy that the company said favorably positions it to capitalize on what it called a “broad ecosystem of innovation.”

Company officials said that the expanded portfolio and partnerships, which Juniper introduced in a briefing at the New York Stock Exchange to mark the transfer of its listing from the Nasdaq, would pay productivity benefits to customers through advanced technology, heightened interest from developers and better opportunities for channel partners.

Juniper chief executive Kevin Johnson said that the company’s new approach would move it past the network industry’s practice of building proprietary point solutions that have “pushed complexity to the customer and driven operating expenses through the roof.”

Johnson said that to address burgeoning demands on the network, Juniper had adopted a “platform view,” initiated by a software platform to facilitate third-party development.

“We think that this new approach—network innovation plus ecosystem innovation--equals the new network ahead,” he said.

Central to the vendor’s revised core OS strategy is Junos Space, a network application platform from which third-party developers can build applications that run on the company’s Junos network operating system. The vendor also announced Junos Pulse, an integrated network client, available in 2010, that supports third-party application development and integration.

“We’re bringing our core asset Junos—the only company that has a single software code base that does routing, switching and security, that allows us to write a feature once and propagate it across our EX switch line, our MX routing line our SRX security line—we’re opening up those API’s,” Johnson said.

“We have signed up dozens and dozens of partners who are now innovating on top of those API’s,” he said. “Some of those partners are customers doing innovation, some are startups, some are large customers. We want to embrace this concept of an innovation ecosystem to help solve these problems.”

Juniper first opened its Junos operating system to third party developers in 2007 with a developers’ kit.

In defending Juniper’s focus on research and development rather than growing through acquisition—a strategy aggressively pursued by rival Cisco Systems Inc.--Johnson said that the vendor’s focus would remain on meeting the technology demands of the network.

“We’re going to continue to invest in [research and development]--we will consider targeted acquisitions where it makes sense--but we’re going to consider them in the context of doing the technology innovation work to simplify things for our customers and ensure that we’re enabling the new network ahead,” he said.

In addition to new products, the networking vendor said it will license its Junos operating system--its first ever such licensing deal--to Blade Network Technology to build blade switches.

New OEM deals, cloud computing initiative

Juniper said it has struck an OEM agreement with Dell Computer Inc. under which the computer maker will offer branded networking solutions under its PowerConnect label.

Juniper chief financial officer Robyn Denholm said that the Dell deal, which involves the company’s MX and EX platforms, is important because it has the potential to bring incremental revenue and additional market penetration to the networking vendor.

Juniper also has expanded its existing OEM agreement with IBM Corp., initiated last July for routers, to include its SRX series services.

Michel Langlois, Juniper senior vice president of Junos software, touted the vendor’s ability to accommodate a variety of partnerships.

“You’re going to see a set of partners that look at us like the marketplace because we sell into a huge installed base,” he said. “You’re going to see other partners that have a complex problem to solve such as service providers coming to us with really specific problems. You also going to see probably from the cloud computing industry which are used to solving problems in the end point, they can tap into the ability that we have to secure their traffic.”

In addition to software, the company announced a chipset called Trio that backs a new family of 3.5-inch MX series routers.

Juniper's new cloud computing initiative is called Cloud-Ready Data Center and is aimed at helping customers to share and secure data center networks. It offers five step-by-step with solution modules with implementation guides and best practices.

In welcoming Juniper’s listing on the NYSE, Duncan Niederauer, NYSE chief executive said, that “this is about our business model and Juniper’s business model converging. We need to pick the right partners if we are going to be successful. We are going to be building capacity like the exchange industry has never seen.”