Juniper And Ruckus Form Partnership; Move Shows End Of Aruba Alliance, Partners Say

Juniper Networks and Ruckus Wireless revealed a new alliance Tuesday that partners say will fill the networking company's wireless gap, left by Aruba Networks, and allow Juniper to get back to its "basics."

"Juniper teaming with Ruckus says Juniper is moving away from the Aruba relationship," said Dan Ferguson, CEO and president of AdvanTel, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider and Juniper partner. "Juniper needs to team up with somebody in the wireless space -- they can't go to market with a big hole in their portfolio -- so they're teaming with Ruckus, who is in a good position right now."

Ruckus and Juniper will work together to deliver an "open" wired and wireless solution, as well as collaborate on global go-to-market opportunities with the goal of providing network flexibility and reducing total cost of ownership for its joint customers. A key integration between the two Sunnyvale, Calif.-based companies includes Juniper's EX Series Ethernet switches combined with Ruckus' ZoneFlex access points and SmartZone Wi-Fi management platform.

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The new partnership is based on open standards-based solutions and products from both companies built on Juniper's Open Converged Framework for the enterprise network, according to Jennifer Blatnik, vice president of cloud and enterprise marketing at Juniper. The alliance is targeting solutions for the enterprise, government and educational markets.

"We don't force customers to buy an all-Juniper solution, that's not the point, the point is to provide a network with flexible platforms so that customers can have the best solutions," said Blatnik, in an interview with CRN. "The partnership with Ruckus is really great integration because both companies bring to the market solutions that are super reliable and have great performance that's needed in the enterprise market."

Partners said the alliance solidifies that Juniper has stepped away from building its own wireless portfolio, deciding instead to partner with other vendors. Solution providers say Juniper's shift away from wireless stemmed from mounting shareholder pressure last year to cut costs and re-evaluate its product lines.

"I like that they're moving away from wireless because I want them focused on the data center and enterprise," said Chris Becerra, president and CEO of Terrapin Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider and Juniper partner. "From my point of view, there are a lot of companies that do wireless better than [Juniper], so just focus on what you're good at. … I want them to stay focused on switching and routing."

Last year, Juniper and Aruba joined forces to integrate Aruba Wi-Fi services with Juniper switches and routers. Hewlett-Packard has since acquired Aruba for $3 billion.

"It solidifies what everyone was thinking, which was that the whole Juniper-Aruba [relationship] was not going anywhere," said Mark Robinson, president of CentraComm, a Findlay, Ohio-based solution provider and Juniper partner. "This is a good thing. Ruckus has always been perceived positively in the marketplace. I think they're an innovative company."

Juniper told CRN in a statement that it continues to be an alliance partner with Aruba.

Ferguson said Ruckus was one of the remaining Wi-Fi vendors in the market that continues to be aggressive in the market.

"We're actually looking at Ruckus right now ourselves. They're really aggressive in the market and more nimble than Aruba is," said Ferguson.

Juniper's Blatnik said the partnership adds a new revenue stream option for channel partners and opens the door to more integration opportunities with Ruckus in the future.

"It provides our partners with more choices and the ability to integrate best-of-breed solutions no matter the customer," said Blatnik. "We're allowing partners to flex their muscles."

JUNE 23, 2015