Juniper Touts New Edge Lineup
The M7i and the M10i are new additions to Juniper’s edge routing platforms. They fit into a portfolio that consists of the M5, M10, and M20 edge routers (see Juniper Goes to the Edge).
“It’s a different sales approach for Juniper than what they’ve been doing in the past,” says Kevin Mitchell, an analyst with Infonetics Research Inc. “It’s a brand new market opportunity for them. These boxes won’t be playing in straightforward RFPs [requests for proposal], but as replacements to existing networks.”
Mitchell says it’s a good opportunity for Juniper to expand its edge router market opportunity.
“There are thousands of [Cisco] 7200 and 7500 routers out there,” he says. “They’re an ageing generation. It probably won’t mean huge money for Juniper, but it’ll be a steady opportunity over the next couple of years.”
Juniper has about 20 percent of the edge router market, according to Mitchell. But most of these sales are not from its homegrown M-series routers, but rather from the E-series, the broadband aggregation and remote access routers that came out of the Unisphere acquisition (see The Face of the New Juniper).
By contrast, Cisco, which dominates the edge with 67 percent market share, is stronger in the traditional edge routing market, where the 7200 and 7500 make up the bulk of its installed base. But these products have been around for several years, and service providers are looking for replacements.
Cisco’s answer has been the 7300 and 7600 series routers. These are completely new platforms that bear little resemblance to the older generation. For example, the 7600 looks more like Cisco’s Catalyst 6500 LAN switch than it does the 7500 router.
"We have a broad portfolio of products," says Larry Yu, a spokesman for Cisco. "We’re continually looking at ways to improve the portfolio. Right now, we feel comfortable that our offering fits customers' needs."
So why hasn’t Juniper been able to crack this market with its existing M-series edge routers? The M5 has not offered enough integrated functionality, say many experts. The box only has four line-card slots, so to add features like NAT (network address translation) or IPSec, a service blade is used in one of the slots, taking up valuable port space. On the Cisco gear, these features are added via software, which allows it to maintain port density. But because they’re in software, performance suffers.
The M7i integrates NAT and IPSec into the device, allowing all four line-card slots to be used. It also comes with two fixed Gigabit Ethernet ports to face toward the LAN, making it a great fit for service providers to deploy as a managed device at the customer premises.
The biggest drawback for Juniper’s M10 is that it doesn’t offer fully redundant hardware. By contrast, the Cisco 7500 and the newer 7600 do. As a result, Juniper has added full hardware redundancy to the M10i. The company already offers hardware redundancy on its M20, M40, and T640 platforms.
“In Asia and in the Middle East, the points of presence are smaller,” says Mike Capuano, product marketing manager for the edge portfolio with Juniper. “The M20 is too big for these deployments. The M10 is a good fit. But because it’s being used as a provider edge device, it needs to be fully redundant.”
— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading