High-performance networking race is on, says Juniper Networks CEO

Juniper Networks CEO Scott Kriens told partners the company is pouncing on high-performance networking in the enterprise market and ready to take on the heated competition.

Juniper Networks Inc. is taking on the enterprise market in high-performance networking, aiming to become a $10 billion company, chairman and CEO Scott Kriens told partners Monday during his keynote address at the J-Partner Summit in Las Vegas.

"It's game on," Kriens said, sending a message to competitors like Cisco Systems Inc. that dominate the enterprise networking market.

Juniper Networks says it can now connect the branch, campus and data center with new EX-series switches that have baked-in security, along with the JUNOS operating system.

"A lot of people can connect a couple of things, but only a few can connect everything," Kriens said. Juniper's portfolio, he said, opens up the approachable market so that it is no longer "at the perimeter" of the enterprise budget, but "at the center."

Juniper has made high-performance networking the theme of this week's summit. Kriens said globalization has created a largely mobile workforce that needs round-the-clock network connection. He also stressed the consolidation of data centers and Software as a Service, which make businesses depend heavily on their networks. "Speed is the new currency," he said.

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But the market, he said, is reaching critical mass, making it time to "separate players in this game" between those who can step up with high-performance networking products and those who can't.

Juniper stresses JUNOS advantage over Cisco

Kriens said the JUNOS operating system is a major competitive advantage since it makes the Juniper network easier to install, manage and build on. He also pledged continued support for other operating systems. "That's the distinction," he said, taking another jab at Cisco and its proprietary operating system.

Throughout the day, Juniper executives pushed the notion of the nonproprietary system as a competitive edge. In an interview later in the day, Blaine Raddon, vice president of Americas channel sales, said customers that let vendors "lead them down a proprietary path" end up with a one-vendor network that runs into problems with innovation and growth down the line. It also locks them into one pricing system, he said.

Kriens also urged partners to define their own roles. He outlined three types of partners. First there is the small partner that is "situationally focused," he said. Then there are partners that specialize in technology -- rather than a vertical market. Finally there's a "portfolio model" partner that sells the full infrastructure offering.

"You have to declare which of those you are. Customers need to understand why they should choose you," he said, stressing that Juniper would continue to support those small shops in the same way it does more diversified VARs.

Partners took well to the message. Scott Foster, president of Austin Networking, an elite Juniper partner in Austin, Texas, said his Juniper deals have been 10 times bigger since the switches were added to the line. "They get that they can't go to market without the channel," Foster said. "Last year I was fighting tooth and nail to get a customer to buy two $10,000 firewalls. This year we're talking about a whole networking infrastructure and now they're saying they want everything."

Tyler Dolg, New England territory account manager for igxglobal, said that Juniper was putting the marketing dollars behind the new switches and implementing the right channel support programs for him to make major moves into the high-performance networking market. "This is the right time," he said.

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