Juniper rings bell on new direction

Juniper rang the bell to start off the juniper.gifday at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday and sounded off with a slew of announcements and a grand vision for how its products fit into tomorrow’s networks, including service provider IP core and mobile networks.

What They Announced

The announcements touched up and down the Juniper product line, the common theme being greater intelligence in the IP network and more ability to drive and support large-scale applications:

— New Junos software: an update of the core software running the vendor’s routers and switches, including new capabilities in Juno Space, a network application platform, and Juno Pulse, an integrated network client.

— New Junos Trio chipset: new silicon based around its 3D Scalling technology that helps networks more dynamically grow to support greater bandwidth demands and user growth. The chips will be delivered in the form of new modular line cards and in new 3.5-inch routers for the Juniper MX Series.

— New Junos solutions: new cloud networking and security soutions using the announced software and silicon. The goal is to simplify data center network architecture while improving performance to support large-scale cloud-style applications.

— Partnerships with Dell and IBM: new deals to build Juniper products into those vendor’s daa center solutions.

What It Means

You can’t get much more overarching and ambitious than Juniper did this week. Timing the announcements to the 40th anniversary of the Internet (Arpanet, anyway) was fitting. Making IP networks smarter and more manageable, as well as more clearly a “platform” for enabling new applications and solutions — particularly delivered as cloud services — was the main theme and tracks with how service providers are building their next generation networks. Aiming to build an ecosystem around IP and services will also resonate with carriers, whose IP/NGNs are more multivendor and software-driven than ever before.

Analyst Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp., in a bit of hyperbole called it “the most radical thing Juniper has ever done,” but more to the point noted that more than anything what the vendor’s new approach does is break down what used to be the “hard separation between service providers and enterprise” that has been made much less so by the unifying nature of IP.

As far as re-booting its vision, this week’s ambitious launch looks to be a good first step. But with main rival Cisco already making strong carrier data center and cloud plays this year and more traditional telecom rivals like Alcatel-Lucent increasing their focus on IP,  much work remains. But Juniper has set a strong stake in ground in the service provider IP market.

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