Juniper Networks on July 16 will try to create momentum behind its branch office networking strategy when it introduces the next round of security, routing and management products aimed at far-flung offices.
Juniper, which kicked off its branch office campaign last fall, will bifurcate the branch with offerings that share a common hardware base, but emphasize either Junipers NetScreen OS network security-based software or its Junos routing OS.
The new Secure Services Gateway 320M and 350M security platforms, which combine firewall, VPN, routing, anti-virus, anti-spam, intrusion prevention and Web filtering running on NetScreen OS, share the same hardware base as their respective Junos counterparts, the J2320 and J2350.
While the SSGs emphasize security for small branch offices or small and midsize enterprises with between 25 to 100 users, the new J Series routers emphasize integrated routing, firewall, VPN and IP Telephony through a module based on Avaya technology. The new J2320 and J2350 also extend the low end of the J Series routers.
The SSG 320M and J2320 with their common hardware base include modular slots for T1/E1, DSL as well as a new series of multiport Ethernet interface modules that can be used in three Physical Interface Module slots. Each also has four ports of Gigabit Ethernet built-in, setting them apart from competitive offerings that only include two built-in Gigabit Ethernet ports, claimed Michael Shorts, product manager of Juniper in Sunnyvale, CA.
An encryption card is standard with the SSG 320M, while it is a separately priced option on the J 2320. The SSG 320M includes a 400M bps firewall and 175M bps VPN.
The SSG 350M and J2350, which both share common hardware, provide a step up in performance and port density. Both include the four built-in Gigabit Ethernet ports, but provide five PIM slots for Ethernet connectivity, a 500M bps firewall and 225M bps VPN.
Juniper added three new Ethernet PIM modules that can be used in the new hardware as well as some existing SSG security appliances and J Series routers. Those include an eight-port Gigabit Ethernet copper module, 16-port Gigabit Ethernet copper module and six-port optical fiber Gigabit Ethernet module with small form factor pluggable transceivers.
As an indication of how well Juniper is executing on its branch office strategy, the new offerings demonstrate that the company has "out-packaged most of the competition," said Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass.
How well that will help Juniper compete against Cisco, the 800 pound gorilla and incumbent in most enterprise networks, depends on Junipers execution, Oltsik said.
"They have to have products that are better/faster/cheaper than Cisco, then they have to convince Cisco customers to buy from someone other than Cisco," Oltsik said. "They clearly accomplished the first goal, but the second is a more difficult, long-term, strategic challenge. That will be measured in closed deals and number of opportunities."
But the dual device strategy for the branch could create confusion among customers, or potentially set up conflicts among different IT groups. Still, Oltsik doesnt see potential confusion if Juniper executes well.
Juniper could help pave the way to broader deployments of the branch office security devices through a pair of new network management offerings intended to help streamline security administration and scale management across a hierarchy of management servers.
The new NSMXpress management appliance, aimed at managing two to 25 devices when used alone or 25 to 500 devices for when used in pairs, streamlines device configurations, network settings and security policy administration.
It implements Junipers NSM software in an easy-to-deploy appliance that is pre-loaded and configured.
The new NSM Central Manager, aimed at large deployments, can scale to manage up to 30,000 devices governed by a hierarchy of management servers. Acting as a manager of managers, it can consolidate security policy administration across 20 NSM servers.
Prices for the J2320 and J2350 range from $2,500 to $5,000. SSG 320M and SSG 350M prices range from $3,500 to $5,000. The NSMXpress starts at $10,000 and the NSM Central Manager starts at $35,000. They are due at the end of September.
Still to come in the unfolding strategy is the addition of more advanced security and application acceleration in J Series routers.