& cplSiteName &

Valley Wonk: Juniper's Shopping List

Column
Column
Column
2/24/2005
50%
50%

Nothing beats spending somebody else's money, and in that spirit, the industry has been happy to do Juniper Networks Inc.'s (Nasdaq: JNPR) shopping this past year. Every month or so, a new rumor makes the rounds about what the company will acquire next (see Juniper's Slow Shopping Trip ).

One Wall Street visitor at Juniper's recent analyst day had a good solution. "You know what you should do?" the analyst told Juniper execs. "Just buy something, just to shut everybody up."

It's not a bad plan. Clandestinely set up two guys in a garage, take their picture next to a blinky-lights box that says "Layer 4-7 Ethernet Wireless Security" on the side, and announce the acquisition of AirEther4-7 Inc. – for an undisclosed sum, natch. Poof! Every merger rumor comes true at once.

CEO Scott Kriens went for the humor tactic instead, opening the analyst meeting with a joke about a hostile takeover of Oracle (see The Price Is Right for PeopleSoft if you don't get it). But that was it, and it left analysts to keep obsessing about the acquisition thing.

One source claims Juniper has three acquisitions on its wish list: something in Ethernet, a technology to "fill a hole" (presumably wireless), and a "mid-market" company. Our guess is that the last one is a place-holder for the budget.

Luckily, the most plausible merger rumors fall into three categories. So, let's run with the idea: Where should Juniper's merger scouts be looking, if they aren't already?

Ethernet switch
Yes, Kriens hates the idea (see Juniper Spikes M&A Rumors). But it isn't going away, because many believe Juniper can't succeed in the enterprise without matching Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) breadth of product. That means Juniper needs an Ethernet switch to sell alongside its routers.

The problem is the lack of easy – or cheap – candidates. Force10 Networks Inc. is the only private company that seems likely, and it's going to be too expensive, mostly because the VCs, who have pumped hundreds of millions into it, want to see either top-dollar or an IPO(see Force10 Networks). That leaves Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) and Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), both public and expensive – market caps of $770 million and $1.4 billion, respectively. Sources have said Juniper pinged Foundry on the idea last year but got rebuffed by Foundry CEO Bobby Johnson.

Juniper probably does want a hand in this market but doesn't like any aspect of it. To defray the high acquisition costs, maybe Juniper should just build its own stuff. A chip acquisition would be cheaper than an Extreme buy. Or, Juniper could just use off-the-shelf chips as the basis for Ethernet switching cards.

But this still doesn't solve the margins problem. Given the lack of easy options, Juniper might be best off stepping into a reseller role, offering Ethernet switches through a partner.

Wireless
Wasn't this a hot topic a month ago? Once Cisco grabbed Airespace Inc., everyone expected Juniper to dive for a wireless LAN switch company. And in fact, Juniper reportedly put in a bid for Aruba Wireless Networks and talked to the less expensive Trapeze Networks Inc. (see Sources: Juniper Eyeing Trapeze).

Merger talk seems to have died down here. The companies here are cheaper than the Ethernet choices, but some might be seeking better options while WLAN is still a hot topic. Aruba, in particular, might have its eye on going public.

And again, margins might be a factor. Wireless LAN switching is a separate appliance for now, but it's going to become just another feature inside a switch or router. That means the WLAN switch's future is one of cost-cutting and integration, with chips and software already emerging to help things along (see Broadcom Integrates WLAN Switch and NextHop Reveals WLAN Plan).

Wireless might end up being another reseller category for Juniper. That would give the company a WLAN story for the moment while developing its own WLAN switch-on-a-card for later.

Layers 4-7 processing
Higher-layer processing presents better margins than Ethernet or WLAN, and plenty of startups are working on this technology, presenting lots of options. It's no wonder this has become the latest pet theory.

The logic goes deeper, too. This technology would make a nice extension to NetScreen and to the Infranet Initiative, a Juniper-supported effort to drive standards for a more intelligent public network (see Juniper Buys NetScreen and Juniper's Infranet Takes Baby Steps). And Kriens keeps talking big about traffic processing, saying it's central to Juniper's role in the network.

Juniper officials point out that they already have this stuff. But Cisco is amassing some new tricks with technology acquired from the likes of P-Cube (see Cisco Plucks P-Cube for $200M and Cisco Rules L4-L7 Switch Market). Juniper ought to counter.

F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) gets held up as the example here, but plenty of others could be had for cheaper, including NetScaler Inc., Peribit Networks Inc., and Radware Ltd. (Nasdaq: RDWR). Not to bias the judges, but NetScaler happens to be one of Light Reading's top picks to get acquired or go public – and it occupies that coveted No. 10 spot on our Top Ten Private Companies list.

Given the options, it doesn't look as if Juniper will go through with three acquisitions -- not from this pool, anyway. A Layers 4-7 buy looks like a slam dunk, but the company has to make some tough decisions in Ethernet and wireless.

In the end, it seems clear that Juniper is set on trying to create a new kind of enterprise company, one that delivers a higher-performance network.

The other option? If Juniper holds off long enough, it could just be another enterprise vendor with some gaping holes in its portfolio.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
light-headed
50%
50%
light-headed,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:25:34 AM
re: Valley Wonk: Juniper's Shopping List
ME. I am available for 30-50M, make a mean cup of chai and have all my original teeth. If they were to acquire me I could hang around the Matilda Campus and be clever. I promise to say things like:

"Gee Pradeep, you are A GENIUS"

"Yes, Yakov, I think that home appliances should be run off of BGP4 with new extensions"

"Scott, you really don't need a switch company"

"Cisco is a really bad company and they are mean people too!"

"I want an Infranet in my home network."

and more... think of it juniper, this could put you over the top. Any juniper representatives can contact me at CoolDude@BestAcquistion.com
ironccie
50%
50%
ironccie,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:25:21 AM
re: Valley Wonk: Juniper's Shopping List
Sounds like Foundry would solve all of Juniper's problems? If only Foundry had something that could do MPLS better than the T640 and a better IPS/SSL VPN solution than Juniper, it sounds like Foundry would be better than Juniper?

IronCCIE
More Blogs from Column
New and exciting methods of automation – whether virtualization, the cloud, IoT or even best practices like network segmentation – tend to emphasize innovation over visibility. As such, networks develop blind spots that mask network problems and even faulty devices.
Unlicensed spectrum will help the 3GPP's 5G specification proliferate.
Outages are inevitable, but how can we deal with them better?
The arrival of NFV and IoT is driving a greater need for Service Quality Management (SQM) capabilities, argues Sandeep Raina.
An updated architecture, new approach to software and the ability to launch new services will give telcos a successful path to 5G within the next few years.
From The Founder
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Creating Dynamic Networks to Meet Business Needs

5|26|17   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


As enterprises need more dynamic networks, service providers need to deliver on-demand, virtual services to meet those needs. AT&T is creating a networking fabric to mix-and-match SDN technologies for enterprise customers, says Roman Pacewicz, AT&T senior vice president for offer management and service integration, in an interview at Light Reading's
LRTV Interviews
EdgeConneX on Industry Headwinds & Tailwinds

5|26|17   |   2:41   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017, EdgeConneX CTO Don MacNeil discussed the value of partnerships in the digital world.
LRTV Documentaries
4 Steps Toward a Higher Network IQ

5|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, EXFO CEO Philippe Morin explains how sensors and analytics can boost a network's intelligence and enable on-demand customer experiences. Find more BCE 2017 coverage here.
LRTV Interviews
BT's McRae Sheds Light on 4K Strategy

5|25|17   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017 in Austin, Texas, BT Group's Chief Network Architect Neil McRae talks about what it took for BT to broadcast live sports in 4K. Catch up with all our BCE coverage at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
From the Founder
How the NIA Aims to Advance NFV

5|25|17   |   08:07   |   (1) comment


Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
Better Solutions That Address Growing Scale

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


For Comcast, the X1 rollout and 17-fold increases in broadband speeds in the past 16 years are among factors driving the need for Energy 2020 solutions that reduce cost and consumption, says Mark Hess.
LRTV Custom TV
Ethernity Network Delivers Instant Offloading of Network Functions With All-Programmable Intelligent NIC

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Levi, CEO of Ethernity Networks, explains that programmability of the hardware makes the company's All-Programmable Intelligent NIC uniquely beneficial for communications service providers that need advanced data appliances with agile support of virtualization. Utilizing the company's patented network processing technology, Ethernity offers data path ...
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Vodafone Gets Obsessed With Cloud-Native

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Vodafone's Matt Beal updates us on Project Ocean and explains why simple virtualization isn't enough of a goal for network transformation. Catch up with other BCE 2017 keynotes and news at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Intel's Take on Network Transformation

5|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In this BCE 2017 keynote, Lynn Comp discusses Intel's vision for areas such as analytics, automation and service assurance. For more videos and BCE coverage, see http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
Order From Chaos: The Steve Saunders BCE Keynote

5|24|17   |   17:27   |   (0) comments


Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability testing.
Think of this as the video sequel to the recent columns he's written about NFV and the prospect of a telecom app store. (See

LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Cities Clamor for More Clout at FCC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2017
What's Blocking 4K TV Today
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 5/22/2017
Sonus & Genband Finally Combine to Form $745M Company
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.