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Juniper Networks has been under scrutiny this year due to a string of disappointing earnings reports and its exposure to a sluggish North American service provider market. It's also taken a few professional knocks for QFabric, the converged data center system that Juniper unveiled to much fanfare 18 months ago but on whose exact customer adoption levels Juniper has been vague.
Far underneath all that high-level discussion, however, Juniper is winning QFabric converts among its channel faithful, who liken the QFabric rollout to Juniper's similarly criticized expansion into Ethernet switching nearly five years ago. They applaud what Juniper's done so far to drive channel sales -- especially following the introduction of a QFabric system intended for midsize data centers -- and top Juniper partners are investing substantially to evangelize the platform.
Customers are kicking the tires, partners say -- QFabric is a long-haul bet, not a short-term gratification.
"The story resonates with customers because you're giving them an upgrade path," said George Miller, vice president of sales, service provider at Torrey Point, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based solution provider and Juniper's 2012 Americas Partner of the Year. "Many see it as an evolutionary step, and as they add applications, they can build their data center in pods. Most companies are looking for six-nines [uptime] these days. So that reliability has to be ensured, and so does predictive performance, and you get that."
Torrey Point has two large-scale QFabric sales close to completion, Miller said. Overall, Torrey Point is targeting QFabric at tier-two and tier-three service providers and at larger enterprises looking to revamp their data center architecture. Miller does feel, however, that the M-level QFabric, which Juniper rolled out this summer to expand the QFabric purview to midmarket customers, will expand the offering's appeal and opportunity for more Juniper channel partners.