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Optical/IP

Juniper's Software Split

Now that Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) has fully absorbed the merger with Unisphere Networks, some folks are wondering if it's time to consider the long-term future of its software base.

Juniper used to tout the simplicity and elegance of one operating system, but now it finds itself with two. Juniper and Unisphere products have separate operating systems and management platforms.

At least one Juniper competitor claims customers are raising the question these days -- not just for aesthetic reasons, but for ease of training. Unisphere ERX routers don't run the JunOS control code. So, just as its customers are moving toward a converged IP/MPLS network, some would like to see Juniper follow a converged software strategy.

First, the reality: Juniper has decided not to try it. "There are no plans to consolidate, and that decision is based on the fact that the legacy Unisphere and Juniper [systems] have large worldwide installed bases of customers that are content with the operating system," a spokeswoman says.

It's a tempting thought, though. Juniper has always prided itself on having a single software base, offering JunOS across the original M series of routers and the newer T series. By contrast, rival Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has different branches of its IOS software for different product lines; the GRS 12000 routers use a different IOS than, say, the 10000s. Moreover, Cisco is said to be mulling an entirely new software system for future routers (see Source: Cisco's HFR Tips the Scales and HFR, Where Are You?).

By maintaining the existing systems, Juniper is making the right decision, say analysts at Heavy Reading, the independent research division of Light Reading Inc. To port the ERX boxes to JunOS, which seems the most likely convergence option, would require porting the code, making user-interface modifications, and running regression tests on all of Juniper and Unisphere's product lines.

"It would cost a fortune, and by the time they did all that, the E series would probably be obsolescent," says Heavy Reading chief technologist Geoff Bennett. "From a logistical point of view, it's just not practical."

Fellow Heavy Reading analyst Graham Beniston is blunter about the issue: "I cannot understand why a sensible carrier would expect the same interfaces on the Juniper M series and [Unisphere ERX]," he says.

That's because the ERX's command-line interface wasn't created out of the blue. It was made to look like Cisco's, a decision made by Redstone Communications -- the router company Unisphere acquired in 1999 -- as a matter of practicality. "As most carriers have tons of Cisco kits, they also have plenty of Cisco-literate engineers to look after them. Much rarer will be engineers versed in JunOS," Beniston says.

Thus, in an ironic twist, Juniper is keeping a piece of Cisco close at hand, probably for years to come.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
Belzebutt 12/5/2012 | 2:30:18 AM
re: Juniper's Software Split How is this news? You might as well have written this a year ago. Any actual news on this, like is Juniper going with JUNOS or Cisco-like in its next product? Have you got anything?
edgecore 12/5/2012 | 2:30:18 AM
re: Juniper's Software Split Juniper is using freeBSD as its OS, what were the ERX boxes based on? Was it a POSIX OS or a proprietary one?

EC
walter_100 12/5/2012 | 2:30:16 AM
re: Juniper's Software Split An extremely useless article


How is this news? You might as well have written this a year ago. Any actual news on this, like is Juniper going with JUNOS or Cisco-like in its next product? Have you got anything?

digerato 12/5/2012 | 2:30:15 AM
re: Juniper's Software Split Urgent news report just in:

"Cisco finds itself with two code bases.

Cisco markets its IOS brand heavily, but LR sources reveal that the company now has two OSes. LAN switches acquired from Kalpana in 1994 run the Catalyst Operating System (CatOS). This new insight renders Cisco's 1997 marketing pitch of end-to-end IOS across the enterprise a fallacy.

LR continues to investigate rumors that the MGX series of ATM switches and the IP PBX also do not run IOS. Stay tuned."

Yours-in-jest-please-don't-delete-this-post-like-the-others-where-I-made-fun-of-LR,

Digerato
change_is_good 12/5/2012 | 2:30:15 AM
re: Juniper's Software Split "but now it finds itself with two"


"now"

dude, this happened when they bought the company about two years ago.
digerato 12/5/2012 | 2:30:14 AM
re: Juniper's Software Split If you did merge JunOS and UnisphereOS, what would you call it?

UniJOS? JuniOS? JunisphereOS? Junix? RedBerry? (geddit?!) MERXOS?

It's been a long day -- I am sure LR boardies can come up with better...

Digerato
diag_eng 12/5/2012 | 2:29:49 AM
re: Juniper's Software Split Let's face it: we don't come to LR for in-depth articles or deep insights into our industry. LR is an efficient place for quick reading industry press releases and partaking in the message boards. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Route_495 12/5/2012 | 2:29:49 AM
re: Juniper's Software Split
yawn. anyone else get the feeling LightReading is the online rag version a bubble boy?

been real guys - good luck!
yomamma 12/5/2012 | 2:29:49 AM
re: Juniper's Software Split
Please - it was a helluva lot more in 1999. To deny that's it's wagon is attached a bit to a falling star is to deny that your own job/company/etc. is in similar decline. It's not you, it's them.
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