What does Juniper really bring to the table that Cisco does not already provide?
Going through our keyword analysis web site statistics I saw that someone searched for this exact phrase and ending up at an article that I posted about year ago about “Juniper vs Cisco: A Partner Perspective”. However, that article really doesn’t answer the specific question being searched for, “What does Juniper really bring to the table that cisco does not already provide?”
Juniper is the only competitor to Cisco that offers an end to end solution for enterprise networking. This seems like a bold statement but it is understood as reality at the time of this writting. There are a lot of other competitors that compete with Cisco in a given product line but no other manufacturer but Juniper can offer an end to end cohesive solution for an enterprise’s network. Taking a look at Juniper’s large market cap (15 Billion at the time of this writing) you see that they are much larger compared to the rest of the “point solution” competitors. Said another way, in order to bring an end to end solution (Firewalls, Edge Switches, Core Switches, Routers, WAN Optimization, Network Access Control, Event Log Correlation) you need a manufacture with enough revenue to support the development a diverse set of products. Juniper is such a manufacture. Aside from manufactures beefing up their portfolio with OEM agreements no one else can bring a complete solution to the table except Juniper and Cisco. (I will say that in order for Juniper to truely have an end to end solution they need to add Voice and Wireless to their portfolio. At the time of this writting Juniper’s wireless is in it’s infancy.)
The presence of another vendor that can offer an end to end solution just like Cisco still doesn’t really answer the original question. Tech enthusiasts will argue that Juniper’s superior modular operating System, JUNOS, is something Cisco can’t match or that Juniper’s vision for the next generation of networking is better than Cisco… but these types of comments are tech banter and not a C-Level answer to the question.
What Juniper offers customers not previously offered before is choice. Prior to Juniper an Enterprise needed to decide if they would deploy a best of breed networking environment where multiple manufactures are needed or a single vendor environment. If the Enterprise went with a best of breed approach there were many choices but if they wanted a single vendor there was only one, Cisco. Now with Juniper in the mix, customers do have choice. This choice provides the Enterprise access to new ideas, new approaches, and new implementation talent that was not previously available. There were plenty of good,talented VARS (value added resellers) that did not embrace Cisco’s technology or solutions. A company looking for a new or upgraded network did not have access to these ideas or approaches if they wanted a single manufacture to provide an end to end solution. If they had a business problem they wanted to solve, it was always solved the Cisco way which may or may not have been the best approach for the specific problem. Regardless of whether Cisco or Juniper offers the best solution (of course I like to think Juniper’s solution is superior but that would make this article biased) for an Enteprise the simple fact of having choice between two manufactures empowers the consumer. I see this as a true benefit to brought to the table by Juniper not originally offered by Cisco!