Juniper Vs. Cisco

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Juniper Networks' appointment of well-respected former Cisco channel chief Tushar Kothari as vice president of worldwide channels sets up a channel battle royale.

CRN Infrastructure Editor Jennifer Hagendorf Follett broke the story online last Thursday and takes a look at the deeper impact in our lead news story this week.

Can be reached at (781) 839-1221 or via e-mail at

Kothari, who helped mount a channel renaissance at Cisco, is one of the few executives in the world with the know-how and muscle to pull together a detail-oriented, execution-crazed team to take on the Cisco channel

Kothari has all the skills necessary to build a channel from the ground up that rewards partners for the value they provide in the market. He also knows the right ingredients to mix together and the right buttons to press to make sure solution providers get the support they need in the field to win over customers. Bottom line: The Kothari appointment puts Juniper in an enviable position to cherry-pick Cisco partners who want an alternative in the wake of margin pressure.
Those solution providers that do jump to Juniper are going to find a robust partner.

One of the most critical factors in any channel program is chief executive support. Kothari's appointment is a signal that Juniper CEO Scott Kriens is willing to do what it takes to build a world-class channel to take Cisco down a notch or two. Kothari is quickly assembling a channel management team, and he has already brought on board Bob Bruce, a former vice president of U.S. channels at Cisco.

The management coup comes with Juniper moving fast and furious into Cisco territory. The company, which just launched its J-Partner program, is set to enter the enterprise router market in September when it
plans to ship its new J-Series routers. Kothari says the company intends to expand the J-Series routers into the SMB segment. All of this comes after the $4 billion acquisition of NetScreen three months ago, which brought Juniper 400 new channel partners and a top-notch, broad security product line.

Cisco better batten down the hatches. A channel war the likes of which we have never seen is set to take place. The stakes are high for both vendors. May the best, most solution-provider-oriented company win.

What do you think of the Juniper vs. Cisco battle? Let me know at (781) 839-1221 or via e-mail at

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