Juniper Networks this week introduced new data center switches/routers, software and services to help customers migrate to the cloud. A follow-on to its early 2008 unified data center fabric initiative called Stratus, the data center-centric offers boost its competitiveness against its networking arch-rival Cisco Systems Inc. and the new HP/3Com combo.
The announcement is timed to highlight next week’s J-Partner Summit in Phoenix, and takes advantage of several new vendor partnerships as well as existing VAR programs.
It’s all part of a broader strategy to empower Juniper VARs by helping them differentiate from Cisco, HP and other data center vendors that are trying to assemble a soup-to-nuts portfolio that includes networking, servers, storage, virtualization and automated management. Juniper claims its Stratus architecture does away with the approach of legacy vendors, who have an interest in selling more network gear, which adds complexity, instead of “flattening” the network and reducing management chores.
Juniper also has pledged to protect its partners with established business policies that prevent over-saturating the channel, and provide meaningful sales incentives on top of competitive differentiation. One example is its recent “Switch to Juniper” promotional initiative, which allows company partners to offer discounts of up to 60 percent on select Ethernet switches, including some of Juniper’s latest Stratus releases.
Specifically, Juniper’s new equipment releases include the EX-4500, a 48-port, virtual chassis 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch; a 40 –port, 10 gigabit module for the vendor’s EX8200 Ethernet switch line; and the MX-80 3D router, designed for VPLS and mobile virtual computing services. In addition, Juniper is introducing four new applications for its Junos Space development platform, released in fall 2009. These include Ethernet Design and Security Design for rapid data center network configuration based on enterprise security policies; and Service Now with Service Insight for detection and troubleshooting network issues.
At the heart of this software suite is Virtual Control, which manages physical and virtual systems from a single platform. The application is the result of a new partnership with VMware, and is built on top of the virtualization leader’s open APIs. Juniper also has established an OEM partnership with IBM, who will carry Juniper’s SRX Series, as well as Juniper’s new network support services offering, Juniper Care Plus. The program will be available to Juniper’s partner base, providing tools for support, proactive automation and personalized services such as education, network consulting and account management for the enterprise.
According to the company, the new releases are based on a three-pronged strategy to make cloud services simpler (using Juniper’s new Virtual Chassis technology to collapse network layers and more flexible, purpose-built software platforms such as Junos Pulse and Junos Pulse), highly-automated (lowering the cost of data center operations by automating provisioning, management and support) and more secure (through Juniper’s SRX series Services Gateways, which provide IT managers greater application and user visibility in managing data flows and pin-pointing bottlenecks).