The rapid pace of change in the networking space will enable Juniper to achieve a "transition leap" on market leader Cisco, according to its chief marketing officer.
Without explicitly calling out Cisco by name, Brad Brooks said a Juniper competitor with "70 per cent market share" had too big an install base to protect to move with the market as new models such as software-defined networking (SDN) shake up the status quo.
"I like to think about Juniper in terms of the tale of the three bears. Poppa Bear's porridge is too hot, Baby Bear's is too cold, and then there's the one that's right in the middle – and I like to think of Juniper as being right in the middle," Brooks (pictured) told CRN at this week's Juniper's Partner Marketing Summit in Florence.
"We are a $5bn [£3bn] business that has about 20 per cent of the edge and core market and less than five per cent of the enterprise market, so there's not a lot of up for us in terms of protecting the old way of doing business. We can really look towards these new models but [unlike start-ups] we are also financially stable. So I think we can get a transition leap on the main competitor on the market because we can react faster and don't have to protect all the business models."
A restructure at Juniper earlier this year saw the vendor pare down its focus on just six vertical markets, including telecoms, public cloud providers and financial services firms, that view IT, particularly cloud computing, as strategic to their business. It calls these firms "cloud builders'.
The vendor has also doubled down on its heritage around high-performance networking, Brooks said, and is investing heavily in the analytics and intelligence layer that is being added to the top of the network, under the High-IQ banner. This was bolstered by two recent SDN acquisitions Juniper made last year in the shape of Contrail and WANDL.
"We were trying to be all things to all customers [before] and our product portfolio and selling strategy reflected that," Brooks explained.
Offering "five-nines" of reliability will no longer be acceptable in five years' time, Brooks said.
"If you're going to create driverless cars, you can't have five-nines of reliability as that will mean the car will be completely [powerless] for six minutes a year, which would be a disaster," he said.
"People wearing wearable technology for their health aren't going to want to have six minutes a year when it stops monitoring their heart rate. We need a network that understands and is built around the expectation that failure will happen and can self-build because it knows when the failure is about to occur. And that's the differentiation that can only come around from the intelligence you put on top of the network."
Brooks added: "You can't launch new ideas on old thinking and old thinking many times comes from companies that have 70 per cent market share, that have an existing business model to protect."
Nick Burrows, head of product marketing at Alternative Networks - one of several UK Juniper partners present at the event (pictured) - said Juniper's ethos gels with his firm's mission to provide best-of-breed technology to its customers.
"We also don't like being stuck in non-open environments," he said.
"For us as a VAR, you have to use your smarts to add value by bending metal into various shapes and combining it to deliver business outcomes, and Juniper lets us do that. With some of the larger vendors, it's very much an ecosystem, end-to-end play and you don't get the support you get from Juniper."
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