Juniper announces Stratus, high performance networking

Juniper unveiled its market strategies for service providers data centres and enterprises during its event in San Mateo California. The main announcement was the company's entry into data centres with its Stratus Project. Much of what Juniper announced was a spin on other vendors' stories, but is low risk in a challenging year.

Juniper believes IP will deliver explosive growth in data centre communications, a line its smaller rival Extreme Networks has been pushing for a considerable time. Certainly we have seen HSSI, FDDI, InfiniBand and Fiber Channel fade.

Juniper will launch two new models of the EX line for data centres, with help from new partners IBM, Intel and Dell - almost a year after Cisco launched its Nexus data centre switches and its acquisition of Nuova, which Cisco could use to enter the data centre server business.

Service provider strategies

Juniper's service provider business plans included core networking, Intelligent Services Edge, metro Ethernet solutions, managed services, network management and mobile transition to broadband data with new partner Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN).

An common presentation theme was the Apple iPhone and the plethora of applications being developed for it in open source, signalling Juniper's interest in adding value to the network layer through independent third-party developers. Juniper believes this approach can prevent network commoditization. We are not convinced this will be successful.

The outlook for Juniper's ISE was rosier as carriers are expected to continue their strategic edge build-outs. Juniper explained that other vendors (such as Cisco) are in a product transition, but Juniper edge products are available now to help carriers converge infrastructure while avoiding service commoditization.

Network management and mobile strategies

Juniper is planning an Xbox 360-like interface for the next generation of JUNOS users. Imagine network managers slaying intruders while tuning their traffic flows. We're still waiting to see a JUNOS contender to Halo 3.
Juniper recently partnered NSN for mobile Evolved Packet Core, giving Juniper a much-needed mobile story. The two plan to integrate their mobile offers under the ASPEN NMS umbrella, with availability in the second half of 2009.

ASPEN is the network management solution from the Atrica acquisition. If Juniper and NSN can avoid the typical alliance partner pitfalls of channel conflict and lack of integration investment, the combination will deserve serious consideration by mobile operators looking to LTE solutions.

John Mazur, analyst, Ovum