Keeping Pace with Cisco
Competitors such as Nortel disagree. "A repurposed Carrier Router platform into the switching space adds complexity and cost that customers do not need," said a Nortel spokesperson. And while customers such as Joel Lynch, chief network engineer at CNN Internet Technologies, believes the new EX Series switches are on a competitive par with what the market offers today, he said the new switch line may not keep pace with new innovations coming out of the new architecture Cisco introduced with its new Nexus 7000 data center switch.Cisco, in fact, generated some 1,500 plus patents from its $1 billion development of the Nexus 7000. But Cisco also introduced a brand new operating system in the Nexus 7000, and that can increase complexity for the customer, believes Kriens. "Different operating systems in different places is hardly a formula for convergence. Converging these capabilities is what customers are asking for, but we approach the same problem with one operating system and one architecture that runs on all the machines in the data center, campus and wide area. Which of [Cisco's three operating systems] are you supposed to converge on, and why are there three in the first place?" In the near term, the vendors most vulnerable to Juniper's new foray into the enterprise switch space are Force10 Networks, Foundry Networks and Extreme Networks, and not Cisco, said Frank Dzubeck, president of Communications Network Architects, a Washington, D.C. consulting firm. Juniper recognizes it has a long marathon ahead of it to try to gain share in the enterprise switch space, and it has committed to that race. And it's small share in the enterprise router market -- 4.9 percent revenue-wise in the third quarter of 2007 according to Dell 'Oro Group -- won't give it much of a boost. "This is the first mile marker on a journey. The proof is in the pudding and we know we have a real job ahead of us," acknowledged Mike Banic, senior director of product marketing at Juniper.
"There is more intellectual property from others in the industry. Juniper talked very little about virtualization. I'm not that impressed," said Nick Lippis, principal at Lippis Consulting in Hingham, Mass.