The New Network Realized: Scenes From Juniper's Partner Confab

The New Network

Juniper Networks hosted 250 partners at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, where "The New Network" -- which Juniper since last fall has been promoting as both a new marketing tagline and a raison d'etre -- was everywhere. Partners had a chance to hear from Juniper's top executives -- many of whom joined Juniper only within the past two years -- on why Juniper, as the innovator, is poised to take share from rivals and finally gain the kind of market recognition that has eluded it in the past.

Here's a look at some of the key executive keynotes from the show, as well as a few images caught in passing.

Off The Top

Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson said that the networking and data center markets had reached an "inflection point" and that for partners, it was time to place bets with Juniper, as an innovator, versus other competitors.

"You can bet on the status quo. You can bet on the commoditizer. Or, you can bet on the innovator," he said.

Software On Tap

Mike Harding, vice president and general manager of Junos Space, said that partners should be looking at Juniper's software offerings and understand how to work software into their networking and data center sales. Of the app developers flocking to the Junos platform, Harding said, "We'd like to cultivate you as a community."

$1 Billion Saved

Andy Ingram, Juniper's vice president of product marketing for fabric and switching technologies, cited research from IDC indicating that enterprises could save a collective $1 billion a year in IT spending if they migrated their data centers to a two-tier architecture.

"Most of that $1 billion would come from the market leader, which would rather go into the server business than flatten the network," he said.

Innovation, To The Market

John Morris, executive vice president of worldwide field operations, said that companies who succeed are not only the ones that have great technology but the ones who have a go-to-market strategy to match -- something Juniper is going to sharpen, he noted.

"The IT industry is littered with the corpses of companies that had great technology but failed to define a go-to-market approach," Morris said.

Market By Market

Peter Boit (left), senior vice president of global enterprise sector for Juniper, brought to the stage members of his team to discuss Juniper's various investments in vertical markets and different segments. From left to right: Boit; Bruce Skoletsky, vice president, enterprise east sales; Mike Gilley, vice president, western area sales; Brian Roach, vice president, federal sales; and Lisa Guess, vice president, systems engineering, Americas enterprise.

At Your Service

Vince Molinaro (left), senior vice president of global service provider sector, said that more than 2,000 small-to-midsized service provider customers represent a $3.5 billion addressable market for Juniper's Americas channel partners. Service provider business remains a key area for Juniper. Left to right: Molinaro; Gerry Cafaro (middle), vice president of sales; and Kevin Hollenbach, vice president, service provider channel.

Big Winners

Juniper honored 12 Americas partners in various award categories for its 2009 awards. Juniper's Morris (far left), flanks award winners on one side...

More Big Winners

...while Blaine Raddon (far right), vice president, Americas channels and general business, bookends on the other side.

Job Well Done

Frank Vitagliano (right), Juniper's senior vice president of Americas channel sales, began chatting about new partner programs, but before that, Morris surprised him with a special commendation for his service to the Juniper channel. Vitagliano recently moved to focusing on Juniper's Americas full-time, following several years as its global channel chief.

There He Is

"Our events aren't about us, they're about you," said Vitagliano, describing how when vendors schedule partner conferences against one another -- as Cisco and HP did weeks earlier -- they make those conferences about them. Juniper's conference was originally scheduled for that same week in late April. Many partners told CRN that moving the event to a month later was one of the smartest moves Juniper could make.

Funding Innovation

Gerri Elliott, executive vice president of strategic alliances, said that the three-month-old Junos Innovation Fund -- through which Juniper will bankroll development efforts by partners on its Junos platform -- had been "inundated with requests." Juniper is investing $50 million in the fund, which at last count was down to a short list of 130 applicants, Elliott said.

Speaking From Experience

Mike Rose, executive vice president of service, support and operations, joined Juniper in November 2008 following a year on its board of directors and a long career that's included the CIO role for energy enterprise company Royal Dutch Shell, and before that, Hewlett Packard. Rose illustrated the need for changing architectures in networks and the data center, describing Juniper's as a model for "choice and flexibility."

Trust And Verify

Andy Zupsic, senior vice president of Americas enterprise sales, said that Juniper in the past had done lots of "hunting" but perhaps not enough "farming" -- meaning that Juniper's commitment to R&D and making sure its partners understood every step of the evolving Juniper network vision is a priority.

"We want you to trust us," he told partners.

Solutions, Not Boxes

Blaine Raddon, vice president of Americas channels and general business, told partners that if they aren't having regular discussions with their Juniper account representatives on strategy, then that's a problem. All the same, he said, it was time for partners to take the lead on crafting that strategy if they aren't already.

"If you're still a box pusher," he said, "you're leaving a lot of money on the table."

One Thing

Lauren Flaherty, who as executive vice president and chief marketing officer leads Juniper's aggressive new marketing campaigns, told partners that Juniper is focused on one thing.

"And it ain't Flip cameras or Palm smartphones," she said, in the day's most direct competitive jab against Cisco and HP. "The network is the only thing for Juniper."

Brand It

Juniper branding was everywhere at the Arizona Biltmore, and its new network logo -- a symbol of the single fabric network Juniper plans to bring to bear with Project Stratus in 2011 -- was seen on everything from walkway lights to bocce balls on the Biltmore's main lawn.

Movin' Mountains

Each night, Juniper partners gathered on the Biltmore's Squaw Peak Pawn to drink in the scenery and grab some valuable networking time. It was tough to argue with the view.

The Juniper Blues

A guitarist joined the festivities on the final night of J-Partner Summit, playing acoustic blues on slide guitar and drawing a crowd for standards like "You Gotta Move" and "Smokestack Lightnin'."

To Your Health!

Juniper conference attendees had a chance to taste single malt scotch with a Glenlivet team, smoke hand-rolled cigars, and enjoy local beers from the fine folks at Four Peaks Brewing Company. Four Peaks, based in nearby Tempe, Ariz., had more than a few converts to its various brews, including the tastily named Kilt Lifter Scottish-Style Ale.

Beat L.A.?

Juniper partners weren't the only guests of honor at the Arizona Biltmore this week. Members of the Los Angeles Lakers -- including forward Pau Gasol -- were also at the hotel, in town for Games 3 and 4 of the NBA's Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns.

What, no poolside photos of Gasol, Kobe or Phil Jackson, you ask? Sorry, folks, this is CRN, not US Weekly.