Juniper, Riverbed Partnership Puts Pressure on Cisco

The companies will work together to improve application performance in cloud-based networks and on mobile devices.

Juniper Networks and Riverbed Technology are expanding their capabilities in WAN optimization and mobility in a partnership that promises to add to what is becoming a difficult week for rival Cisco Systems.

Officials with both Juniper and Riverbed said the partnership, announced July 24, will improve the delivery of applications in both traditional data center and cloud environments, as well as across a host of devices. With the growth of cloud computing and convergence in the data center, enterprises are looking for ways to improve the delivery of applications across multiple environments, with greater security and scalability.

Through the partnership, Juniper will license Riverbed's application delivery controller (ADC) technology for about $75 million. Riverbed's software-based ADC offers load balancing and single point of management for accelerating cloud-based applications securely and with high scalability. By licensing the Riverbed technology, Juniper officials aim to develop new offerings that will enable applications to better leverage networks and various devices.

Juniper also will integrate Riverbed's Steelhead Mobile technology into its Junos Pulse offering, creating an acceleration solution for such mobile devices as smartphones and tablets. Steelhead Mobile, first introduced in 2007, boosts the performance of centralized applications that are accessed from mobile devices, from mobile phones to tablets to laptops. Through integration with Juniper's Junos Pulse mobile client, the companies plan to offer greater mobile acceleration capabilities for mobile phones and tablets.

The partnership also will include joint work on various WAN optimization solutions.

"Riverbed's application acceleration and WAN optimization solutions will complement our strategic focus on delivering high-performance networking infrastructure and further enhance our position in both data center and consumer and business device domains," Bob Muglia, executive vice president of Juniper's Software Solutions Division, said in a statement.

For Riverbed, the deal also will enable the company to grow its base of expandable markets, according to Eric Wolford, executive vice president and general manager of Riverbed's Products Group.

The partnership also promises to put greater pressure on Cisco, which already has had a difficult week. Virtualization technology vendor VMware on July 23 announced plans to buy Nicira for $1.26 billion, a move that will increase the company's capabilities in the burgeoning field of software-defined networks.

The same day, Cisco officials announced they were cutting another 1,300 jobs, noting that corporate IT spending continues to slow as businesses grow increasingly concerned about the struggling global economy, particularly in Europe.

Juniper and Riverbed on July 24 also announced financial numbers form the second calendar quarter. Juniper, which has struggled over the past few quarters, said it earned $57.7 million, down from $155.6 million during the same period last year. Revenue fell 4.2 percent, to $1.07 billion. Company officials pointed to weaker sales to customers in Europe and Asia. They also forecast revenue of $1.04 billion to $1.08 billion for the current quarter, below analyst estimates.

For its part, Riverbed saw profits grow to $18.1 million and revenue jump 19 percent to $198.5 million.