Juniper Partners: Now Comes The Tough Part With SDN

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Accuvant's Freeland said many SDN startups are only tackling pieces of the software paradigm shift in the network and data center, so Juniper is wise to look at the challenges holistically.

"It's all about execution at this point, and that's what's going to be interesting for Juniper," Freeland added. "If they can really execute on it, I think it's going to be great."

Other partners agreed they'd need more of a concrete sales and enablement plan from Juniper specific to SDN.

"It's definitely an interesting concept, but there's a lot that's going to need to come out to talk through how people will want to buy it and how the partners will be enabled," said Dominic Grillo, executive vice president of Atrion Communication Resources, a Branchburg, N.J.-based solution provider. "I think this was more to get everyone's interest piqued, which I think it did."

"The presentation they gave was too technical for some and not nearly technical enough for others, so I'm not sure what they accomplished besides planting their flag," said the top sales executive at a national solution provider, who asked that his name not be used. "If they don't put a cohesive approach behind this -- products, field teams, engagement, how it goes in line with their infrastructure platforms -- they're going to have a lot of partners who say, we're just not going to spend the time."

"We're going to have to know a lot more about how it affects the product portfolios, particularly switching and security," said Frank Kobuszewski, vice president, technology solutions group at CXtec, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based solution provider. "The SDN message was long, complicated and technical, the way it was presented here. It looked good, but we'll have to see how they evolve the portfolio."

Juniper committed to partners during GPC that the execution piece will be a gradual rollout, in the form of channel resources, training and deeper discussion of the software sales motion it's trying to impart to solution providers.

"We just made the announcement, so what we need to do now is start working on taking the mystery out of it and evangelize it to the field: What is our approach, in simple terms," Frank Vitagliano, Juniper senior vice president, Americas partners, told CRN. "That's work that's to be done. But, it's work we know how to do. At the end of the day, there's no magic to this. You're still out in the field, still supporting partners and enabling them to support customers."

NEXT: Partners See Need For Speed On Execution

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