Juniper: 'We're Significantly Distancing Ourselves' From Competition

Juniper Networks unleashed a barrage of new and enhanced products on Wednesday that executives said will let the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor leap ahead of the pack.

"If you look across the board in the routing, switching, security and automation moves that we made, in every single case we're significantly distancing ourselves from our competition, and that's really gratifying," said Mike Marcellin, senior vice president of strategy and marketing at Juniper. "We want to be the network security leader."

Marcellin said Juniper introduced products that align with its refined strategy, which include stepping into new markets and reinvesting in "innovating" areas such as software-defined networking (SDN).

[Related: Juniper Unleashes New Networking Products, Boosts Security]

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"We're entering into areas where we didn't have the portfolio, for instance, on the switching side we didn’t have a spine switch," he said. "So we did that."

Juniper launched the first data switch, QXF10000, powered by a new Q5 chip, which contains 10-, 40- and 100-Gigabit port density.

"Knowing that we are entering an area in the market where some of our competitors already had products, we knew we had to make it significantly better than what's out there today, and that’s what we were able to do with the QXF10000," said Marcellin.

Juniper also addressed its partners' concerns regarding security by creating AppSecure 2.0 for its virtual firewall vSRX, which the company said will deliver enhanced protection for cloud and hybrid data centers. Another new security element unveiled was Express Path, a services off-load capability for the company's SRX5000 Series Services Gateways that promises to boost throughput, reduce latency and improve scalability.

"Although we've stayed loyal to the SRX product line over the years, it's been a challenge up and down over the years," said Dominic Grillo, executive vice president of Atrion Communications Resources, a network optimization and security integration solution provider and Juniper partner. "They've had so many stops and starts with the SRX product line, that hopefully the refocused effort that they are finally putting towards it will yield itself with some of the new things they're doing with the SRX line … There's a lot of good things they're doing here."

Marcellin said a major challenge that partners and customers face is managing the complexity of their IT infrastructure. Juniper said it has enhanced its Converged Supercore Architecture based on its PTX core router, which will enable better network management by combining their new custom silicon chip, ExpressPlus, with improved hardware capacity and expanded software-based traffic optimization through the NorthStar Controller. The architecture also expands software-defined networking (SDN) abilities.

"We're going to continue to innovate along performance lines, higher scale, better reliability, but we're also going to equally invest and innovate in automation, SDN, automated tools," Marcellin said.

Partners are hailing the massive products launch with the hopes it increases business and boosts Juniper's reputation in the market in some areas.

"They needed to do something to get people thinking positively about them," said Grillo. "There was a lot of negatives in the last few years or so with multiple CEO changes. There seemed like a lack of vision from top down … This is definitely good news for us and for Juniper's [channel]."

In 2014, Juniper began a major restructuring effort, which included layoffs, leadership changes and the resignation of former CEO Shaygam Kheradpir in November.

"We went through a lot of change across the company in 2014 with leadership changes and a new CEO, but we also went through the process of refining our strategy and focusing on where we think we can deliver the best value for partners and customers where we think we can have long-term sustainable differentiation," said Marcellin. "I can tell you there's more to come … You'll see continued innovations from us throughout the year."