10 SDN Companies Juniper Networks Could Buy Next

10 Acquisitions That Could Give Juniper a Boost

The networking industry is in the midst of a major transition toward the cloud and traditional hardware vendors are focusing more innovation dollars on software and security. Smack in the middle of it all is Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper Networks, which has acquired two companies already in 2016 and is investing resources into becoming a more software-centric company with a solid security portfolio.

To effectively compete against giants like Cisco and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, who can offer more end-to-end solutions, analysts say Juniper should be striving to acquire companies around software-defined networking that either complement Juniper's current offerings or open the door into new markets such as SD-WAN and containers. Here are 10 companies that may be a good pairing with Juniper.


CEO: Dan Dumitriu

"A lot of people think of Midokura as a [VMware] NSX-lite, a network virtualization play," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at Westminster, Mass.-based ZK Research. "This would significantly help Juniper on the networking side but also on the security side … It would allow them to offer a unique approach to security because none of the other segmentation players really have other network products, so [Juniper] can create a nice end to end story with Midkura."

The Swiss company, with offices in San Francisco, was founded in 2010 and became an early player in the network virtualization space. Its Midokura Enterprise MidoNet solution offers a complete overlay technology that integrates with cloud platforms such as OpenStack.


CEO: Amir Khan

"[Viptela] would strengthen their SD-WAN story and increase their influence in the enterprise WAN market by instantly having a product in the SD-WAN space," said a networking analyst from a research firm who declined to be named due to company policy.

The San Jose, Calif.-based startup recently launched its first-ever partner program and is one of the rising stars in the SD-WAN market. The startup’s solutions have been deployed at thousands of sites by at least 25 Fortune 500 enterprises, while carriers, including Verizon and Singtel, are using Viptela to deliver managed SD-WAN services.

Research firm IDC estimates that worldwide SD-WAN revenues will exceed $6 billion in 2020 with a CAGR of more than 90 percent over the next four years.

Big Switch Networks

CEO: Douglas Murray

"Although SDN is a big part of their deal, Big Switch has been winning a lot of deals in the packet-broker space," said Kerravala. "Juniper could use Big Switch as a way to penetrate Cisco accounts in a non-threatening way because you get the packet broker in there to help with visibility and security, and then they'll be able to bring the networking products in later."

With its SDN fabrics, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Big Switch Networks aims to bring hyperscale-inspired data center networking technologies to a mainstream data center audience. The company takes three hyperscale technologies -- OEM/ODM bare metal and open Ethernet switch hardware, SDN control software, and core-and-pod data center designs -- and leverages them in fit-for-purpose products for enterprises, cloud providers and service providers.


CEO: Jason Forrester

"SnapRoute would give Juniper a lightweight and modular alternative to Junos [OS] and/or could run alongside Junos and would satisfy large network operators' demand for a lighter weight and modular OS," said CRN's anonymous networking analyst source.

Founded in 2015 by former Apple engineers, Palo Alto-based SnapRoute offers a fully programmable, open source software stack for enterprises, dubbed FlexSwitch, aiming to help companies manage their cloud systems. The startup has raised nearly $5 million in funding thus far.

Apstra Networks

CEO: Mansour Karam

"You can think of Apstra as being like a CliQr, the company Cisco bought, where they become more of this multi-cloud orchestration platform," said Kerravala. "They’re the vendor-agnostic data center automation company that would help Juniper move into this world of multi-cloud, multi-hybrid cloud domains where customers want to be able to move workloads back and forth between the public, private cloud, Amazon, [Microsoft] Azure – things like that."

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based network automation startup launched out of stealth mode in June with plans to automate data center operations. Its operating system, Apstra Operating System (AOS), manages data center networks designed to improve agility required for the cloud.


CEO: James Liao

"Pica8 has a very flexible operating system and very good telemetry so you can get a lot of network statistics and it would give Juniper a bit of an adjacent market," said Kerravala. "You wouldn’t be buying Pica8 directly for hardware, as Juniper is a very good hardware company, but it would give them another source of data to be able to plug into and become more of an analytics vendor."

With its Linux-based PicOS network operating system, Palo Alto-based Pica8 enables custom traffic engineering and empowers white box switches to integrate with existing Layer 2 and Layer 3 networks to deliver SDN scalability through OpenFlow.

Avi Networks

CEO: Amit Pandey

"Right now, Avi has one of the best cloud application delivery controllers or cloud load balancer – so it would give Juniper a good container play as well," said Kerravala. "This would give them a more modern play."

Avi Networks – who recently launched its first partner program – raised $33 million from venture capitalists in late 2014. Founded by former top Cisco executives, Avi's Vantage Platform delivers automated application services including load balancing, application analytics, predictive auto-scaling and security for on-premise or public cloud applications. The company's software services approach bodes well for emerging cloud-native and microservices application architectures, according to Gartner.

Cato Networks

CEO: Shlomo Kramer

"Cato would align with both Juniper's security and cloud initiatives," said the networking analyst who did not want to be named.

The Israel-based company's disruptive software-defined network security offering, the Cato Cloud platform, uses the cloud to consolidate WAN and internet traffic, while layering enterprise-grade security offerings, such as a next-generation firewall, on top. Cato recently landed $30 million in a Series B funding round, adding to its $20 million in funding received in 2015.


CEO: Rajiv Khemani

Founded by former Intel, Cavium Networks and Broadcom executives, Innovium is currently developing "revolutionary semiconductor solutions" to meet the rapid growth in cloud data centers, according to a statement. The San Jose, Calif.-based startup has raised over $50 million in funding.

" Innovium would be a technology play right now," said Kerravala. "Juniper could acquire them and then drop them into their development cycle much like what Cisco does with smaller companies."

Innovium CEO Khemani was previously chief operating officer at a multi-core chip maker Cavium Networks, while its CTO Puneet Agarwal was responsible for Broadcom’s development of data center switches such as Trident and Tomahawk.

Fungible Networks

CEO: Pradeep Sindhu (founder of Juniper Networks)

The potential dark horse in the Juniper acquisition race is startup Fungible Networks, which isn't talking publicly about its technology or products, yet. The CEO and co-founder of Fungible is none other than Pradeep Sindhu, who co-founded Juniper Networks in 1996.

Based in Santa Clara, Calif., Fungible is looking to develop highly programmable chips with workload specific hardware accelerators, according to its website.