Juniper Buys Ankeena to Help Compete with Cisco

Juniper is scooping up Ankeena to improve its offerings in the area of video Internet traffic, a space highly coveted by rival Cisco. Ankeena's technology is designed to help service providers more cost effectively deliver a better video experience on both fixed and mobile devices.

Juniper Networks is adding to its ability to handle the rapidly increasing amount of video running over networks with the acquisition of Ankeena Networks.

Juniper officials announced the deal April 8, and said the company would form the foundation of Juniper's new Content and Media Business Unit, which will be part of the Junos Ready Software group. Juniper said the deal cost was less than $100 million.

The deal comes at a time when the amount of video running over networks is ramping up considerably, putting pressure on service provider infrastructures. The Ankeena acquisition not only gives Juniper more capabilities in this area, but also will help it better compete with rival Cisco Systems, which is aggressively addressing the rise of online video traffic.

"The time is now for networking companies to offer solutions that help service providers prioritize and deliver media solutions," Manoj Leelanivas, executive vice president and general manager at Juniper, said in a blog post.

Leelanivas pointed out the research company Nielsen found that online video viewership in the United States grew 16 percent in 2009. In addition, Coda Research Consultancy is predicting that mobile handset data traffic in the United States will reach 327 petabytes a month this year, with the bulk of that traffic being video, he said.

For its part, Cisco officials have predicted that video will account for 91 percent of all Internet traffic by 2013, up from about 30 percent today.

"Juniper's acquisition of Ankeena reflects our commitment to transforming the experience and economics of networking-in this case by delivering an enhanced TV-like user experience of both fixed and mobile video traffic, while enabling crucial TCO reductions for operators," Leelanivas said in a statement.

Through the deal, Juniper will get Ankeena's Media Flow Director, which is designed to improve the user's viewing experience through support of various streaming technologies. The technology gets rid of buffering and stuttering by detecting the available bandwidth and adapting the delivery bit-rate accordingly, according to Ankeena.

The two-year-old company's Media Optimized caching offering helps reduce by a 10-to-1 ratio the number of servers needed to deliver the same amount of media.

Juniper's acquisition of Ankeena is the latest step in the relationship between the two companies. Juniper sold Ankeena's Media Flow Director-in February at Mobile World Congress, Juniper announced its Juniper Media Flow offering-and Ankeena was part of Juniper's booth during the CTIA show in March.

"The rise of video traffic on the network (both fixed and mobile) is creating challenges for operators and Juniper believes it can better capitalize on this opportunity by acquiring Ankeena," Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities, said in an April 9 report. "Although this is not a large acquisition, we believe it adds more tools to Juniper's toolbox as it relates to the growing trend toward video over the network."