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Juniper Networks partners are encouraged by the ambitious software-defined networking (SDN) strategy Juniper laid out at the company's Global Partner Conference this week in Las Vegas, but they need to see the execution and sales plans fleshed out before they give a thumbs-up.
Juniper's SDN approach, announced Tuesday along with a host of other updates to Juniper Partner Advantage and other programs, involves both a road map for updating and expanding Juniper's product lines behind SDN and also a software licensing model for how Juniper partners will be expected to sell Juniper's platforms in the coming years.
Juniper was deliberately slow in announcing its SDN approach, executives said, because it's been working for the past nine months on how to approach the paradigm-shift top-to-bottom, not just provide new software products or, as CEO Kevin Johnson put it, "merely participate in the hype."
But while partners attending GPC said they appreciated being walked through the vision of Juniper as an SDN leader, they won't be fully convinced until Juniper puts the sales, marketing and training programs in place to help them win over customers.
"I like the way they presented this in the context of being able to link together different service aspects. As a network-based VAR, we have to be on the leading edge of this," said John O'Shea, senior vice president of sales at Vology, an Oldsmar, Fla.-based solution provider. "We're looking five years down the road and thinking about the dynamics of infrastructure, and the reality is so much of it is going to be virtualized. So, it's a question of timing. But, what we need to know is how we will monetize this and what resources will be available to help us."
"Candidly, what I expected to hear from them was that SDN is going to be great and oh, by the way, we already have it with QFabric," said Erik Freeland, solutions director at Accuvant, a Denver-based solution provider. "That's what I expected, because with some of the other manufacturers, that's what I would have gotten. But, we didn't get that with Juniper, and I think it's the right strategy around this concept of the service chain. All of a sudden, if I have things virtually where I want them -- say, intrusion prevention or DLP -- using SDN I can put them where I want them to go. That's really compelling."