Juniper Takes Over the Network

You can't accuse Juniper of not thinking big, at least not today.

In a barrage of announcements this morning, Juniper claims to redefine the IP network and the roles of routers and services in it. And yes, the company's prized Junos software takes center stage in the grand new era.

The announcements, and Juniper's ringing of the NYSE bell this morning, are part of a grand publicity sweep timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the first connection on ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet.

The new look includes a revamp of Junos, the operating system that runs the company's routers and Ethernet switches; the promise of new routers powered by a new chip called Trio; and a cloud-computing initiative. (See Juniper Declares 'New' Network, Juniper Launches New Routers, and Juniper Gets Cloud-Happy.)

It's even got a new logo, as earlier reported. (See Juniper's Wireless Worry.)

The new plan marks the second major change to Juniper's image since CEO Kevin Johnson took the helm last year. The first was to ditch the cartoons, of course. (See Kriens Steps Aside as Juniper CEO and Juniper Kills the Cartoons!)

The announcements are a bit of a mess, considering how wide-ranging they are, but together they spell out a familiar theme. Juniper executives have previously spun ambitious dreams about making the network operate as a single entity, with enterprise, edge, and core equipment all working in harmony. That was the basis of the company's Infranet concept, which turned into the IPsphere. (See Juniper Does Vision Thing, Juniper's Infranet Takes Baby Steps, and Infranet Becomes IPsphere.)

One lingering question will be whether this kind of plan is what Juniper really needs. In recent months, some analysts have been more concerned about possible holes in the company's portfolio. Juniper's packet-optical plans seem to hinge on the optical gear of Nokia Networks , and the company hasn't yet produced a wireless strategy. (See Is Juniper Junior-Grade? and Juniper's Wireless Worry.)

So, what's inside Juniper's new network?

Junos rules this land
Juniper began opening Junos in 2007 with the Partner Solution Development Platform (PSDP), which let select partners use the source code for writing their own Junos applications. (See Juniper Opens Up to Apps Developers and Juniper Routers Gain Video Powers.) Today's announcements take that openness a step further.

In fact, for the first time, Juniper is licensing all of Junos out to someone else -- Blade Network Technologies Inc. , a company that Juniper's invested in. (See Blade Secures Series B.) Blade will be building Junos-based blade switches.

Two new Junos-related platforms are being announced. Junos Space seems to be an extension of the PSDP, letting any Juniper customer write applications onto Junos. Juniper describes this as a way to let customers "directly program multiple layers" of the network.

Junos Space -- which, at $15,000, doesn't come free with Junos -- includes three pre-loaded applications: a tool to provision Ethernet services, an MPLS route analyzer, and an OnStar-like application that automatically forwards troubleshooting details to Juniper.

Then there's Junos Pulse, network client software that combines multiple products related to user access. It combines secure access with location-aware and identity-driven features.

Junos Space is available now; Junos Pulse is slated for the first half of 2010. Router revolution
Juniper is promising a new fleet of routers and line cards, collectively called MX 3D, powered by a new chip called Trio.

All this gear will be part of what Juniper is calling a universal edge, a network that will serve business, residential, and mobile needs.

Juniper claims that cards using Trio consume half the power of its competition, at 37 W for every 10 Gbit/s worth of Ethernet being moved. The competition is already screaming about that, since the figure was leaked earlier this week. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) tells Light Reading that its 100-Gbit/s interfaces will consume 40 W per 10 Gbit/s. And EZchip Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: EZCH) says line cards using its chips can consume just 40 W per 10 Gbit/s.

The MX 3D line will start with a 120 Gbit/s line card, apparently comprising 12 lanes of 10 Gbit/s Ethernet, to be released in December. More gear, including a 100-Gbit/s Ethernet card and small routers called the MX80 Series 3D, will come in 2010.

Cloudy forecast
Finally, Juniper is launching the Cloud-Ready Data Center initiative, which is like a guide toward building a data center that's decked out for new cloud services.

The plan involves the MX 3D routers, Junos Space, and Junos Pulse (see above). But the real star is Juniper's SRX platform, which combined routing with the NetScreen security products and features heavily in this data-center vision. (See Juniper Strikes at Security's Core.)

The SRX 5800 is getting some improvements as well, including doubled density of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet connections and the ability to support 10 million concurrent sessions, up from 4 million last year.

All of this cloud talk will tie in with the Stratus Project, Juniper promises. Stratus is the data-center fabric that Juniper is working on with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and while Juniper still isn't saying what it is, today's releases note that Stratus will make a big data center behave like a single logical switch on the network. (See Juniper Strikes at the Data Center.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

chrisfox 12/5/2012 | 3:53:17 PM
re: Juniper Takes Over the Network

i did not find juniper credibly explaining how does an open junos actually help major enterprise and service provider customers??  ip platforms/protocols are open by nature that one can mix various ip devices from various vendors in the network and these devices would interact over common and well defined and open ip protocols.  what more valuable stuff and differentiation do you get when all these ip devices in a large network are running junos??  is that differentiation good enough for customers to make decisions based on it. i doubt it.  perhaps the new ceo from microsoft knows how to market sw credibly & nicely? i doubt that too now....  

netsalesman 12/5/2012 | 3:53:16 PM
re: Juniper Takes Over the Network

The funny thing about juniper is that they go over everybody's else innovation to my eyes. They might have nice products but almost never a new idea. Basically  psicologically and not only on the competitive market, I think they have a freudian problem with CISCO. Cisco puts the DC at the center and pursue cloud strategy? Juniper make announces they believe in cloud too. Cisco sells new edge routers with ASR 1k and 9K and QFP instead of off-the-shelf asic ? Juniper revamps their edge routers too and guess what, with an purposedly developed ASIC.

Cisco is increasigly investing in blade switches and now in computing? Juniper puts money in Blade Switch. Now, I can even buy  they have nice and cool product less buggy than IOS (but that is not proven) but dear Juniper, when will you make networking make a (even very very small) step ahed with a little bit of innovation?


P.S. If someone thinks an ex Microsoft Exec is  best suit  to sell product that 90% of time don't deliver but present them to the customer as vital upgrades please raise your hand.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:53:13 PM
re: Juniper Takes Over the Network

Juniper might have some Cisco envy going, but not as much as you're implying. These chips can take 2 years to develop.  There's no way Trio and MX 3D are just a response to QFP -- or if they are, then Juniper must be the most amazing chip-design shop in history.

(Besides, come to think of it - there's a version of "QFP" that's an off-the-shelf EZchip processor.  Are you counting that as innovation?)

Cloud strategy might be a more apt example, but then again, everybody's talking about cloud.  I think all the vendors are getting pushed into that space.

I think Juniper's bigger problem is that analysts & press think they *should* have Cisco envy.  Does Juniper really need to match Cisco in order to sell routers?  Maybe so, but it's possible we overstate that case sometimes.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:53:13 PM
re: Juniper Takes Over the Network

Not sure I agree with you there... I think the ability to add features on top of Junos could be a pretty big deal.  It's going to be monitoring & analyzing features at first (like the applications that come with Junos Space) and could get into carrier-tailored versions of those functions, and others, later.

It's not the interaction of devices that's interesting here, it's this ability to 'program' the network.  Who knows what people will do with that.  It's worth watching, I think.

netsalesman 12/5/2012 | 3:53:12 PM
re: Juniper Takes Over the Network

Craig, what I meant is that I see one big difference between Juniper and Cisco.

What I see with the  CISCO messaging is that a vision comes first , few examples:

Cloud computing: not "discovered" by CISCO, is a trend. The real pioneer here is to my eyes GOOGLE but the Unified Computing System is an innovation here b/c it's changing the paradigm in the DC. The message behind is : to go "cloudy" we are not missing processing power or memory or cooling or whatever, we are missing real new connecting networks between systems and hence, we are missing not  systems as such but systems  that can be connected efficiently. Cisco markets UCS which is quite a step ahead. Now, it can be a bad product, it might not function well , it might be a fake I don't know but there's a vision behind it.

Videosurveillance: a sector where cisco is making alliances with Pelco...I don't want to go long here but again, the message is we believe disparate systems, as we have done in the past with telephony will converge on the network.  It might be a naive vision , even one that won't have a future but here again I see a vision.

Now, with Juniper I see the other way around, starting from (good or fantastic, maybe) products to see if putting them together we get value which is bigger than the sum of the parts. At the moment, I didn't see it.

So , again, I'm not questioning juniper's products or spreading FUD around them: maybe they're great but what I see is Juniper refines products making them better if possible...but not visions.







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