Juniper shaking up data center portfolio?

Cisco rival says reports of recent layoffs impacting QFabric "inaccurate"; but with new business unit head, perhaps new direction

Juniper says all is well with its QFabric product line despite reports that those operations were particularly hard hit in the most recent workforce reduction. Word leaked out last week that Juniper recently cut 500 workers, or just over 5% of its headcount.

"Our actions to reduce operating expenses fall across our support functions, including supply chain, procurement, SG&A, as well as R&D," a Juniper spokesperson said this week. "They are being carefully planned and managed to maximize efficiencies in our cost structure while preserving the investments in innovation in our core businesses of data center, routing, switching and security."

The spokesperson says the "speculation" that the workforce reductions are primarily affecting the QFabric team is inaccurate.

"We are committed to our QFabric business and product innovation roadmap, and we are continuing to add both hardware and software functionality to the QFabric roadmap," the spokesperson added. "We are pleased with the momentum of QFabric."

Juniper has 200 customers for QFabric but the company is evasive when asked which or how many of those customers are implementing the full node/interconnect fabric system. Most are deploying only the QFX3500 node as a top-of-rack switch.

Late last week, Juniper announced that Chinese internet company Qihoo 360 Technology has built a new data center based on the QFabric QFX3000-G system -- though Juniper's EX LAN switches, not the QFX3500, are serving as the on ramps to the QFabric interconnect.

R.K. Anand, one of Juniper's first employees and key early engineers of the company's silicon and software, left as head of Juniper's Data Center Business Unit last month to take on an advisory role to CEO Kevin Johnson. One source says most of Anand's QFabric product line managers were affected by the most recent layoff.

The spokesperson would not confirm this, preferring only to repeat the statement on QFabric commitment.

Anand was replaced by Jonathan Davidson, who also assumes leadership of Juniper's campus and branch business units.

Speaking of campus and branch, the Juniper spokesperson says the company will also continue to support its EX line of Ethernet switches. When pressed if Juniper will continue to develop the EX line, the spokesperson said "yes."

"The switching business is healthy, we will continue to support that line of business," the spokesperson said.

Juniper's switching business is about a $450 million operation, or roughly 10% of Juniper's annual revenue, most of which comes from the EX line. It logged $127 million in sales for Q2.

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