Juniper Ramping Up to Take on Cisco

Top exec in Juniper's service provider business details her company's plans for victory against the world's largest networking vendor.
LAS VEGAS. In this town where gambling is a way a life, there comes a point where you lay your cards on the table to show your opponents what you've got. That's what Juniper Networks did at the NXTcomm trade show with its top service provider executives detailing to press and analysts their strategy to win the carrier networking game.

Table stakes in this game though aren't for the feint of heart. According to Infonetics Research, in 2007 service provider router and switch sales hit an all time high of $11.2 billion. In 2007 Cisco was number one with Juniper (NASDAQ: JNPR) coming in at number two.

"Everyone is trying to deliver a more cost effective network," said Kim Perdikou, Executive Vice President, Infrastructure Products Group and General Manager, Service Provider Business Team at Juniper. "Infrastructure is a utility and minimizing the cost per bit for transporting IP is critical to success."

Perdikou formerly served as the CIO of Juniper and now runs their service provider business. She noted that a few years ago the question used to be about where intelligence should sit in the network. She now believes that the intelligence has to be across the whole ecosystem with intelligence devices and networks.

"Our customers have intelligence in the network that they have never leveraged," Perdikou commented. "Telecom providers know who the user is. That identity information is critical for business models, since once you understand who the user is and what service they are trying to access a provider can deliver the service and get the user to pay for it."

Perdikou argued that network intelligence on user identity is a very different model of monetization than a Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), which makes its money from clicks without knowing who the user really is.

"What is the arch of the network we need to build?" Perdikou asked rhetorically. "We've always done the packet handling layer but now we're expanding into other areas. We don't deliver services but we need to help service providers to deliver services."

Access to intelligence

For Juniper, policy and control is the glue that enables services to be delivered faster. The focus for Juniper now is on helping providers open up their networks so they can get access to the intelligence that is in the network.

"Is this any different than anyone else? " Perdikou asked. "No it's not but we have some foundation differentiators."

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