Juniper Sets Sights On Cisco With Huge Multi-Cloud Portfolio Expansion


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Juniper Networks has unleashed a slew of new switches, services and a subscription-based purchasing model for its SD-WAN solution as it tries to establish a secure, flexible, end-to-end multi-cloud portfolio.

"Cloud and multi-cloud is now table stakes, and if we don't solve the complexity problem, companies will fail in their migrations," said Mike Bushong, Juniper vice president of enterprise and cloud marketing. The significant expansion of Juniper's portfolio is intended to combat "the complexity problem" by offering a way to make networks multi-cloud-ready.

The portfolio expansion gives Juniper "a play for every place in the network," putting it in a competitive posture with networking industry kingpin Cisco Systems. "We're committed to the enterprise," Bushong said. "There's only one other vendor that can do this right now, and we're placing ourselves in the class of them. It's about positioning relative to them. We're filling the whole thing out more ideally for the industry. We can have a more complete discussion about what multi-cloud really entails."

[Related: 6 Things To Know About The SD-WAN Subscription And Switch Blitz In Juniper's Expanded Multi-Cloud Portfolio]

"We're taking aim at the complexity problem that goes beyond just abstracting it away," Bushong said. "We have one OS. You train your people once. You can test it once and deploy it anywhere. It's all common. You don't have to test it 27 times. You're reducing cost and widening margins. You can automate it once, integrate it once, deploy anywhere."

That drive for simplicity allows solution providers to cover more ground with customers, Bushong said. "A partner can do their work once and leverage it across a broad set of platforms. An ISV wants an app store model. They don't want to write one app for each vendor and each version of each vendor's platform. Where's the margin in that? The platform is great for customers. You're focused on building new stuff, not supporting old stuff."

Capabilities in the network orchestration layer are key to that simplicity, and the portfolio's success, Bushong said. "We need to be able to connect to the orchestration layer in the simplest way possible. APIs, controls, all those platforms are software. We need a common, uniform way of connecting to orchestration layer."

Orchestration and automation are increasingly important to customers, said David Brady, executive vice president of partner relationships at Myriad Supply, a New York, N.Y., solution provider that works with Juniper.

"Automation and orchestration is a big thing for everybody," Brady said. "They're coming out with strong solutions in both spaces. Their cloud management product is what the clients are looking for. It's super easy. It helps them manage larger and larger networks and it gives them visibility they haven't had previously. These are really strong additions to the portfolio, and we have lots of clients looking to do POCs and demos."

What sets Juniper's portfolio apart from competitors like Cisco and Arista, Bushong said, is that ability to grow at whatever pace is most comfortable for the customer.

"I'm not sure vendors creating urgency is the best path for the industry at large," Bushong said. "We need to create products, and services, and means to move and let enterprises choose their own timing, their own natural expansion and refresh. We need to make sure they're always moving forward, to higher speed, more capable platform, more sophisticated protocols, and make sure you're not closing any doors. Move forward, but don't prevent yourself from moving in the future, make sure you're more multi-cloud ready with every step. These platforms solve what's that next step, making sure you're ready for that step."

The Juniper portfolio expansion includes two new data center switches; three new campus-oriented switches; a new network services platform for branch offices; new subscription-based pricing for its Contrail SD-WAN solution; the Sky Enterprise cloud management service; and new line cards for secure workload transitions between data centers.

To be successful, Bushong said, partners have to see the customer's journey to the cloud as the product and the devices as simply a means to support that journey.

"You have to understand it's more than just products," Bushong said. "We're looking for channel to embrace that journey. Five years ago, devices were the products, and that's what you sold. Now the journey is the product and the devices just support that. This offers an opportunity for engaging with customers. It's a different intimacy in their relationship. The proximity, the time they spend. It's more than one product in a silo, it's how all the products go together, margin expansion. The channel wins, customers win, and vendors win because it's difficult to navigate on their own. Discuss the journey, don't just look at us as selling boxes, look at us as facilitating migration to the cloud."

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