Juniper Enterprise Sales Are Soaring; Partners Seeing More Wins Against Cisco

Powered by new enterprise-focused products and partnerships, Juniper Networks partners say they are winning more head-to-head enterprise sales against rival Cisco.

In its most recent quarter, Juniper's enterprise sales jumped 16 percent year over year, from $384 million to $444 million. In contrast, Cisco's global enterprise sales were down 1 percent in its most recent quarter.

"Juniper is being disruptive out there, there's no doubt anymore," said George Miller, vice president of sales at Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based solution provider and Elite Juniper partner.

[Related: Juniper Potentially Going Private? Partners Say It Could Open The Door To New R&D Investments]

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On Nov. 3, Juniper's stock hit a four-year high of $32.23 per share, compared with $21.61 per share on Nov. 3, 2014. The last time Juniper's stock hit the $32 mark was in July 2011. At the beginning of 2015, Juniper had a market cap of $9.35 billion. The company's cap currently stands at just over $12 billion.

Miller said that over the past six months, enterprise sales have picked up -- driving his company's 45 percent year-over-year growth in Juniper sales.

"A lot of enterprises are realizing there are efficiencies for building their own private clouds, and they want to follow the same methodologies that the Googles and Facebooks of the world are following, which is using Juniper," said Miller. "So Juniper's market opportunity has dramatically expanded because of it and so has ours."

Dominic Grillo, executive vice president of Atrion Communications, a Branchburg, N.J.-based solution provider and longtime Juniper partner, said Atrion is winning more Cisco infrastructure replacements with Juniper solutions.

"You can usually redo an infrastructure with Junos [network operating system] and Juniper with less than the cost of Cisco -- especially with [Cisco's] SmartNet [which] tends to be fairly expensive -- and people are looking for alternative solutions," said Grillo. "The Juniper interest level is definitely on the rise. We have quite a lot of large opportunities on the table right now where people are really looking at them now as a key player."

Chris Becerra, president and CEO of Terrapin Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider and Juniper partner, said he's also been winning more against Cisco over the past six months and doesn't see it stopping anytime soon.

"I think it's going to increase even more, beating Cisco specifically in the data center space, going up against the Nexus line, for sure," said Becerra. "Customers are picking Juniper for performance reasons, for simplicity reasons -- the Junos platform is a lot more [simple] and more straightforward than a Cisco IOS [Internetwork Operating System]. … Some of Juniper's higher-end devices like the QFX10000 [switch] -- I'm really excited about that technology and that’s something that's going to compete very well against Cisco and Arista."

Juniper unleashed a barrage of new solutions targeting the enterprise this year, including a line of spine switches, QFX, which includes the QFX10000 -- the first data center switch powered by Juniper's new Q5 chip geared toward cloud service providers -- which partners tout as a game changer.

In September, Juniper launched a new enterprise reference architecture, Unite, which it says is superior to that of Cisco and is a solution that channel partners can sell in the enterprise along with new security, software and enhancements to switches. Juniper also unveiled Junos Fusion Enterprise architecture, which, when combined with its EX Series switches, enables the configuration and management of the entire distributed enterprise network as a single network entity.

Just this week the networking company revealed new QFX switches combined with a disaggregated version of its flagship Junos software.

"Having Juniper coming out and having a disaggregated real version of Junos would be like Cisco doing it with their real version of IOS," said Miller. "It's a very unique thing to do it in the market."

Juniper also expanded deeper into the enterprise this year with new strategic partnerships with Aerohive Networks and Ruckus Wireless, which CEO Rami Rahim says will help Juniper deliver secured and cloud-managed wired and wireless solutions for distributed enterprises. Having the two new partnerships, along with its existing Aruba Networks relationship, gives wireless enterprise customers more choice, Rahim said.

"A customer that is building out a large enterprise campus might choose Aruba. In the case of Ruckus, they would be well-suited for education or hospitality. Aerohive has great presence in K-12, and local and state government," said Rahim, in a previous interview with CRN. "Enterprise customers are asking more and more for openness."

Enterprise revenues accounted for 36 percent of Juniper's sales for the third quarter, compared with 64 percent in the service provider space. Juniper said enterprise revenues grew across all regions for the quarter, with sales in the Americas rising 5 percent year over year, to $712 million, mostly because of an increase in enterprise revenues, according to Juniper.

Miller said it's difficult for a giant company like Cisco to innovate because it doesn't want to disrupt its existing market share, which bodes well for Juniper partners.

"Cisco doesn't want to cannibalize what existing market share they have and the same could be said for EMC. It was hard to innovate in the storage world because they had so much embedded base they couldn't disrupt. If they disrupt that, their earnings go down," said Miller. "Juniper doesn't have that problem."

Another key reason why solution providers are rallying around Juniper this year: last November's elevation to CEO of Rahim, who has worked for Juniper for nearly 20 years, after a volatile year of executive departures.

In 2014, then-CEO Shaygan Kheradpir abruptly resigned in the wake of Jupiter's board's review of his conduct after less than a year on the job. Several other key executive leaders also left the company, including David Helfer, head of worldwide channels and commercial and Juniper global channel chief Emilio Umeoka.

"They were quite confused there for a couple of years and had a tremendous amount of turnover for a while at the executive level," said Grillo. "I definitely like what they're doing now. I like the direction where they're going."

In an interview with CRN, Rahim said: "Last year was a year of restructuring and realignment for the company. We made some difficult decisions, but very good decisions that have set up for really good positioning this year. This year is really more around innovation and execution. We're investing in technologies that right now are very pertinent to our customers, both in the service provider and enterprise side."