Juniper CEO Offers a Reality Check at Interop

Scott Kriens reminds his keynote audience that networking can be fast, good and cheap-but not all three.

LAS VEGAS—Juniper Networks Inc. Chairman and CEO Scott Kriens in his Wednesday keynote address at the annual Interop networking and infrastructure show here tried to help attendees sift through the vendor hype to help them solve real business problems.

In helping enterprises go after new business opportunities or reduce costs using technology, Kriens employed the three-sided triangle with each side representing good, fast and cheap attributes.

He reminded attendees that in tackling any project, only two out of those three attributes can be achieved.

The theme—making real progress—reminded the audience of market realities: "Cell phones are getting cheaper, and it makes things happen fast, but its not very good. [Wireless] hot spots are really fast and cheap, but step 5 feet beyond the zone and its not good," he said.

"If we pretend this isnt real, then we dont know which tradeoff to take. The message is to optimize reality and gain control over those choices, so we make those tradeoffs consciously," he said.

Businesses today are faced with a unique challenge in that business cycles are compressing.

The peaks and valleys happen much faster, and their "severity is getting much worse—from boom to bust and back again," he said.

In that scenario, whats key, he said, is to be able to quickly align costs and revenues.

"How to get assets off the balance sheet and onto the P&L as variable expenses anywhere and any way we can," he said.

"If we network the world together and arbitrage the market, then we can move much faster to respond to these changing demands. The notion of going virtual is really about virtualizing the assets.

"Networks make that possible. Sharing assets is a great idea, but its a subordinate point when it comes to the ability of technology to do that. Control usually means ownership, and then you lose the economic value of sharing the asset. And you lose the ability to turn it up and down easily because its more bulky," he said.

"We have to be able to deliver on a combination of making shared assets and resources available for good reasons. But we must retain control of those as if we owned them and as if they were dedicated to us," he added.

In looking at networking market realities, Kriens examined whether the market is consolidating.

For vendors, opportunities are increasing, he believes, for those who focus properly—not too narrowly or not too broadly. Such focus, he says, takes into account natural boundaries.

"For devices produced in huge volumes, success hinges on [a good] user interface and the fact that they are cheap. This is a boundary. But every one of those devices if they have value will be networked.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead more here about Junipers deal to acquire VOIP (voice over IP) vendor Kagoor.

"That traffic is processed for priority, security, billing, and transmission on its way to the application, the database, the application servers and the storage, which remains its own element industry," he said.

The boundaries in that scenario include the user devices, traffic processing, application processing and transmission.

"We have a laser focus on traffic processing. Whoever wins will look like this," he said.

Next Page: Enterprises face a perfect storm.