Will Cisco customers switch?
Other partners on hand to back up the new JUNOS open interfaces with the E Series launch were Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM's Tivoli unit. The question of whether Juniper can be successful in elbowing its way into a mature, established market will take some time to answer, but at least one customer said his organization is willing to give Juniper a shot.Lynch plans to beta test the new E Series switches. "Juniper coming out with switches that can be stacked puts them neck and neck with Cisco for their top of rack switch," he added. But it's unclear whether Juniper can offer enough value to get Cisco customers to switch, according to Zeus Kerravala, industry analyst with the Yankee Group. "If Juniper wants to change the game, they have to make it more applications-relevant and build an ecosystem (of partners) that leads them to sustainable differentiation," he said. But with changes coming as a result of SOA-based applications, virtualization, the adoption of VOIP (voice over IP) and Web 2.0 applications, the need for speed and reduced latency is growing in importance and opening up the network to other vendors, industry others believe. "There's a discontinuity in networks and applications that's opened up new opportunities for another player to enter," said Nick Lippis, principal at Lippis Consulting. Changing business models that require faster response to changing market dynamics are also driving network upgrades and opening up the market, said Frank Dzubeck, president of Communications Network Architects. "Real-time becomes a key word. It cuts down on business latency. And that puts pressure on latency in the network infrastructure. CEO's are now uttering the L (latency) word," he said. Juniper's emphasis on line-rate performance and high reliability in the EX in that scenario could give it an edge in the market. "This is the fastest switch we've ever tested," said beta customer Frank Ziegler, vice president of communications for the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. "Juniper is putting that reliability into the enterprise edge," he added. The EX 3200 and EX 4200 are due in March. The EX 8200 is due in the second half of this year.
"Reliability, line rate performance, versatility, and Layer 3 at the access layer are factors that would be considered in moving off Cisco," said Joel Lynch, chief network engineer at CNN Internet Technologies in Atlanta.