A Year In The Juniper Channel: 10 Key Events

May 2009: EX Line Completed

Around the time of last year's Juniper J-Partner Summit, Juniper also announced general availability of its EX8216 (pictured), a massive, 16-slot switch with a fabric capacity of 12.4 terabits. It was the last piece to arrive of Juniper's EX series of enterprise Ethernet switches, which the company first unveiled in January 2008.

Joining the EX2200, EX2500, EX3200 and EX4200 lines, the EX8216 "in many ways [completed] the picture for us," Juniper told CRN at the time.

May 2009: The Challenger Brand

Kevin Johnson (pictured) became Juniper's CEO on Sept. 8, 2008, and some eight months later, he addressed Juniper partners in his first J-Partner Summit keynote. No, last year's J-Partner Summit didn't include new programs, bold assertions of networking dominance or eye-popping new products, just a message of resilience from Johnson -- that Juniper was creating a true "challenger brand" -- during what in retrospect was the trough of the economic downturn.

"At the end of the day, our success relies on your success," Johnson noted. "We're not confused about who we are or what we do. We're a pure-play in high-performance networking that embraces partnerships."

July 2009: Getting Cozier With IBM

In July, Juniper and IBM announced an expansion of their strategic partnership that would see IBM OEM-ing Juniper equipment for the first time. Later in the year, Juniper said that the IBM agreement further extends to Juniper's SRX Series Services Gateways. IBM told CRN at the time said the move was not intended to "minimize Cisco."

In addition, Juniper extended partnerships or added OEM agreements in the past year with Dell (October 2009), Sophos (November 2009) and Polycom (January 2010), among others.

October 2009: NYSE Day

Juniper's biggest single-day event in the past year was October 29, the day it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), re-branded itself with a new logo (pictured), trotted out a new tagline, "The New Network," and made a wide range of product and services announcements that anticipated its agenda for 2010.

Among the new product releases were a chipset called Trio -- the basis for Juniper products going forward -- and two new router lines, the high-end MX-3D line and low-end MX-80 line. Also new was Junos Space, a development platform designed to entice developers to Junos as well as promote Juniper applications developed in-house, Junos Pulse, a Junos update designed to pare down the number of networking clients used in a particular infrastructure, and an SDK for Junos. Juniper also looked ahead to 2010 updates to Stratus, its ongoing data center project that was first unveiled in February.

February 2010: Out Of the Firing Line

Juniper's 2010 J-Partner Summit was originally scheduled for April 26-28 in Arizona -- a set of dates that would have put it in direct competition with the Cisco Partner Summit, the HP Americas Partner Conference and Interop. According to partners, the choice to move J-Partner a month later might turn out to be the best channel decision Juniper's made all year: a month later, and therefore, with a lot more breathing room for partners who might otherwise have had to make a tough choice on which to attend.

February 2010: First Look At Falcon

Juniper's Project Falcon is the umbrella term for the work it's doing with mobile infrastructure technology. At Mobile World Congress in February, the company debuted three new releases, all based on Junos and Juniper's MX-3D routers. Among them were Juniper Traffic Direct, which takes mobile data traffic and redistributes it using the MX-3D's scaling functionality to run over the Internet, Juniper Media Flow, a mobile network optimizer using software from Ankeena Networks to ease congestion on mobile and fixed networks, and Juniper Mobile Core Evolution, a mobile packet core system designed to support 3G and 4G services on the same network.

Opportunities around optimized infrastructure for mobile devices are growing, Juniper executives said at the time, for both service providers and enterprise-focused VARs.

February 2010: New Software Group

In the first of several structural changes seen from Juniper in 2010 so far, Juniper created a new business unit called Junos Ready Software around its Junos software platform and related pieces of its portfolio. The group is led by Executive Vice President and General Manager Manoj Leelanivas (pictured), formerly senior vice president and general manager of Juniper's Edge and Aggregation unit, and now reporting directly to Johnson. Other management changes announced at the time included a new assignment for former Infrastructure Products Group chief Kim Perdikou, now an executive vice president on Juniper's service provider and partner relations side, and the return of Stefan Dyckerhoff, who rejoined Juniper from rival Cisco after an absence of seven years to take over Perdikou's role.

April 2010: Adding Ankeena

Juniper in early April made its first significant acquisition in some years, paying an undisclosed sum (reported to be less than $100 million) for Ankeena Networks, a two-year old startup. Ankeena makes software to optimize network infrastructure for better rich media experiences while reducing the server load normally required to do so. Among its key products -- all of which are preserved in Juniper's Junos Ready Software group -- is Media Flow Director, a software appliance through which Ankeena delivers content to multiple screens (PC, TV, mobile device) while managing traffic, decreasing the number of servers needed and easing network congestion.

"Clearly, successfully addressing this market is key to the future of VARs that focus on enterprise content delivery solutions," said Mike Marcellin, vice president of marketing for Juniper's Infrastructure Products Group and Junos Ready Software, to CRN at the time.

April 2010: Switch It Up

Juniper in late April debuted a new promotion called "Switch to Juniper," in which it is offering significant discounts on new Juniper Ethernet switches bought through authorized Juniper partners. Scheduled to last through Sept 30, discounts on select Juniper EX Switches will be as high as 60 percent. According to Juniper channel boss Frank Vitagliano, it's the first of several new promotions VARs will see from Juniper this year for partners looking to win with Juniper over competitors like Cisco and HP.

May 2010: Vitagliano Shifts Gears

Perhaps Juniper's most significant executive shift happened just this month, as Vitagliano (pictured) moved into a new role as senior vice president of partners-Americas. Unlike his former role, where he was senior vice president of worldwide channels, Vitagliano will be focusing on Juniper's Americas partner relationships full time. The search is on for a new SVP of worldwide channels, according to Juniper.

VARs interviewed by CRN said they welcomed the idea of having Vitagliano in a role that puts him essentially back in the field, describing Vitagliano as a "true channel champion" back in a role that lets him be "where he thrives."

May 2010: Pointing Toward Stratus

This week, Juniper advanced the ball on its data center push one step further, launching new hardware products, new software applications based on Junos Space, new services for the channel, and new security software, plus a further extension its key OEM relationships with IBM and Dell. Project Stratus -- the code name for Juniper's two-year old push to develop a single data center fabric -- is still on tap for completion by mid-2011, according to Juniper, and its new releases reflect a phased approach to moving data centers in that direction.