Juniper CEO: Innovation Trumps Market Uncertainty To Drive Partner Success


What are you seeing as the largest customer pain points in 2012 and 2013, and where should VARs place their bets in terms of growing their business based on addressing those pain points?

Let's start with service providers. The explosion of mobile Internet traffic and how to carry that traffic and enable services to end users in an efficient, effective way creates a huge amount of opportunity, whether in things like content distribution network to manage video or mobile packet core to enable video, I think mobile Internet is the big opportunity there.

In enterprise, it's the inflection point of both mobile Internet and cloud computing. Enterprise customers are dealing with this explosion of data, and more and more compute applications focus on compute cycles, and as a result, enterprise have to figure out how they can build these virtualized data centers -- call them private clouds -- in a way that can handle the scale of the data they are using. So in the enterprise, I think data center is a huge opportunity. With the 3-2-1 architecture we've introduced and QFabric, we're providing our partners with some phenomenal thought leadership assets to meet that opportunity.

When we met last April, you said Juniper's R&D spend was going to be about $1 billion for 2011. Will it be the same this year? Increase or decrease?

Well, since we're in a quiet period, I can't comment on that. We'll have to wait until after the earnings call.

Did you end up spending about $1 billion?

Again, I can't comment.

Looking at your major competitors, Cisco had a tough year and it retrenched with partners and now has this focus called partner-led where Cisco is very publicly putting a lot of new resources into channel programs. Can you comment at all on investment in channel programs by Juniper, and whether that's greater than what we've previously seen?

Certainly I'll comment on Juniper. The Partner Advantage program we've rolled out and communicated has investment greater than it's ever been. We're at a point where we've got this rich set of products that we've taken to market, and this new network platform architecture, and our partners are a key vehicle for us to take these things to market, so we're putting resources behind that and that's evidence by both this global partner conference and the attendance.

The competitive mix overall hasn't changed much in the past year or two, but what do you make of Huawei?

We have a lot of good competitors in this domain and Huawei is one of those competitors. I think they're a very large competitor and will continue to be a large competitor for us. When I think about the competitive landscape, the one truly unique thing about Juniper is that we are driving a differentiated thought leadership agenda. It's not "do we have any large competitors" -- we always have large competitors, we're a 16-year-old company -- it's "what allowed us to get to this point in innovation." When you meet with executives in every part of the company, you find we're embracing innovation and finding new ways to do things differently. That formula has allowed us to launch and grow a company and get to this point and that will continue to be successful independent of the number or size of competitors in the mix.

We had a chance to talk with your MX product team about some of the lower-end routers targeted at midmarket sales. Does Juniper want to push downmarket? Is there a play for you in small business at all?

Small businesses are in many ways going to be some of the biggest consumers of public clouds. They're going to look to managed services providers and service providers to enable that. We're not targeting small businesses from the perspective of we want to sell some data center directly to them, but indirectly, we are. The fact is we're working with our large service provider customers to build managed services offerings and service provider customers are then targeting small businesses. Indirectly, I think we're enabling technology to be available to small businesses. The MX is a good example.

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