ARC 2011: Enterprise Networking Infrastructure

WINNER: Juniper

For anyone who thought Juniper Networks' eye-opening 2010 victory in the Annual Report Card's Enterprise Networking Infrastructure category was a fluke, think again: Juniper has put in a repeat performance.

The company beat Cisco, which through 2009 was the category's reigning champion for nearly a decade, decisively capturing top scores in major criteria that matter to networking VARs. Juniper was also soundly ahead of third-place finisher Hewlett-Packard--soundly ahead meaning, in this case, a staggering 10-plus points ahead in the overall score--whose HP Networking unit has also sought to challenge Cisco's long-held industry networking crown.

To Juniper partners, the company's ARC prowess is no surprise. One big difference between 2010 and 2011, however, is that now Juniper partners feel they have the type of marketing air cover that once proved elusive to the Juniper channel. Juniper's made its partner marketing intentions firmly known behind a raft of new marketing programs, the investment of millions into partner marketing resources, and, coming in 2012, its first-ever global partner summit.

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"Juniper is making a large investment in partner marketing and wants to enhance our partners' exposure to marketing," said Luanne Tierney, Juniper's vice president, global partner marketing, who famously jumped ship from Cisco to Juniper early in 2011. "The same thing I'm hearing--a consistent message from all our partners--is, 'Teach me the latest trends and techniques around marketing and how to build out the ultimate business plan.'"

Meanwhile, Juniper's channel chiefs are busy motivating the Juniper channel to sell more of the Juniper portfolio, including the wireless LAN products it acquired through Trapeze Networks late last year, and its QFabric data center play.

The ARC win, said Frank Vitagliano, Juniper's Americas partner chief, is a "significant endorsement of the value, trust and respect Juniper Networks has earned within the Americas channel partner base and worldwide."