New Juniper CEO Lays Out Security Product Road Map

Juniper Looks Ahead

Juniper Networks had a tough year in 2014, with major restructuring efforts, layoffs and the resignation of CEO Shaygam Kheradpir in November. New Juniper CEO Rami Rahim said this year will be different for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, which will be launching capabilities in 2015 that he called "unmatched in the industry."

Juniper reported its fourth-quarter financial results Tuesday for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2014, with security at the heart of the discussion.

Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 decreased 14 percent year over year and decreased 2 percent sequentially to $1.1 million. During the quarter, the company also recorded an estimated $850 million noncash goodwill impairment charge related to its security reporting unit. As a result, the company recorded a GAAP loss of $769.6 million.

Rahim gave his first earnings call presentation Tuesday with a focus on revamping Juniper's security business. Here are the key takeaways.

Not Happy With Juniper Security

"I am not pleased or satisfied with the performance of our security business," said Rahim, an 18-year Juniper veteran, who took the job CEO job after the board of directors called into question the conduct of Kheradpir in a negotiation with a customer. "I think we can and will do better and this is a competitive space and we have to operate and innovate under that assumption."

For his first few months as CEO, Rahim said he has been talking and listening to customers, partners and employees. As a result, he set out key initiatives for 2015 aligned with Juniper's research and development and go-to-market strategy in routing, switching and security for both service providers and enterprise customers.

Juniper's security products, such as SRX and NetScreen, are in decline and becoming a smaller fraction of the company's overall security business. To stop the slide, Juniper is developing an "innovative" product line being launched this year, he said.

Switching, Routing, Security

The new CEO said the industry is moving in a direction where security is becoming tied together with switching and routing. Rahim said understanding traffic patterns and flows through switches and routers will substantially improve a company's security posture, which is the strategy Juniper is going to execute moving forward.

"It does involve building security products and they are going to be very effective security products, but those products are going to be very much integrated, if you will, from a solution standpoint to switching and routing," said Rahim. "They’re going to be tested together and there will be a very high leveraging of technology components between silicon and software across three of these product lines."

Rahim said Juniper is pivoting away from thinking about security as point products and moving toward integrated solutions across switching, routing and security that address domain-level problems..

New Products

Earlier this month, Juniper held a unique partner event called Ideas/Connect where the company teased the new product line.

"I'm very excited about our product pipeline, which has never been better and will offer our customers breakthrough performance and impressive capabilities unmatched in the industry," said Rahim.

Rahim said he already has invested and funded leveraging silicon enhancements to improve routing and switching.

"The Junos-based products are going to be incredibly competitive against everybody else in the industry, especially as it pertains to integrated solutions of security and routing," said Rahim. "That’s exactly what we are going to be focusing on, and that’s where you are going to see some of the enhancements that I have talked about coming out later this year." Juniper will deliver substantial enhancements to the SRX platform in 2015 that will be closely intertwined with the network, according to Rahim.

Juniper Focus

Rahim said 2014 was a year of significant change for Juniper, while 2015 will be a year of stabilizing security revenue.

"To win in security, we are pivoting our strategy to building integrated solutions that focus our network resiliency and business continuity across cloud, data center, branch, campus and service provider mobile infrastructure," said Rahim.

Rahim said he recently appointed Jonathan Davidson as head of Juniper’s development and innovation to ensure a smooth transition and uninterrupted focus on the product road map. Rahim touted Davidson as an accomplished leader and technologist who can bring focus and clarity to developing new Juniper products.

"We have a sound strategy in place, we are executing well against our plan, and we continue to make progress with new design wins and diversification of our business across our target verticals and geographies," he said. "Rest assured, we are moving with urgency."