Juniper Expands the Edge

NEW YORK -- Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is breaking its MX series router out of its Ethernet shell, setting up the platform to host more features that are being added to the Junos operating system.

The move, coinciding with the start of Light Reading's Ethernet Expo, continues a push by all three major router vendors to turn their boxes into points of origin for carrier applications. With today's announcement, Juniper gets some catchup power against Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and some versatility that brings the MX and M-series routers closer to the Swiss army knife approach of the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) 7600.

The additions, which Juniper is lumping under the name Intelligent Servces Edge, are being announced today with endorsements from Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Telecom Italia (TIM) .

The additions to Junos are technologies Juniper already does; they're just being embedded into the software. These include intrusion detection, application awareness, deep packet inspection (DPI), subscriber management, and a session border controller.

Juniper is also giving the MX its first non-Ethernet interfaces, in the form of OC48 and OC192 packet-over-Sonet cards.

The moves aren't going to win Juniper any Nobel prizes, but they're necessary.

"Adding subscriber management to the MX line is huge. It means you don't have to add a separate B-RAS," says Eve Griliches, an analyst with IDC . "Adding the non-Ethernet interfaces in the MX and all the resiliency really brings it up to par with some of the high reliability features Alcatel-Lucent has been so good at."

Juniper notes that the features being integrated are known quantities, technologies the company already offers. They're just being brought into Junos.

"I don't know how Cisco's done it, but I think there's an elegance to the way we've integrated these technologies," says Rami Rahim, a Juniper vice president of product management. The integrated policy manager would be an example, he says. "You can inject policy throughout the entire box that can act on the flows that are being used across the network."

The MX was introduced in late 2006 as Juniper's answer to the growing carrier Ethernet trend. (See Juniper Antes Up on Ethernet (Finally).) Today's announcements extend the router's range, giving it links into older Sonet/SDH networks and adding the application awareness that Juniper prides itself on.

Activating features on a router tends to affect performance, though, so Juniper is also trotting out a new card for the MX. The MultiServices DPC, as it's called, includes a new services engine to provide the processing power for tasks like DPI.

AlcaLu made similar moves recently, adding features like DPI to its 7750 Service Router while giving the platform a processor boost. (See AlcaLu Beefs Up Its Routers.)

Likewise, Cisco continues to upgrade its 7600 router with features like a 40-Gbit/s interface. (See Cisco Shares Another Big Day .) But analysts have long sensed the aging 7600 needs a refresher, and a successor box is still nowhere in sight.

"There's been a huge opportunity in the past year, because Cisco hasn't had a replacement out there, which has allowed Juniper to get into significant Cisco accounts. The fact that Juniper won the Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) account was huge. Huge," Griliches says, referring to a June announcement. (See Comcast Deploys Juniper.)

"Cisco's not going to let this go on for much longer," she adds.

Juniper's other announcements today include new cards that increase the number of queues and schedulers for the M-series routers -- metrics intended to boost the platform's quality-of-service capabilities.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Ethernet Expo 2008, a conference and exposition examining the latest trends in the carrier Ethernet market. To be staged in New York, October 20-22, the conference will also host Light Reading's third annual Ethernet Service Provider of the Year Awards for North America. Admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:29:13 PM
re: Juniper Expands the Edge ... deserves a mention here, too, although I'm not sure you can argue Juniper is chasing them. (In technology, possibly, but not in market share.)

It's difficult comparing "services"-ness of routers. Anybody got a particular favorite here?
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