Juniper CEO on why he can compete with Cisco in the enterprise

Juniper put itself head-on against Cisco in Cisco's bread-and-butter enterprise switching market this week with the launch of its EX line of Ethernet switches - just a day after Cisco itself

launched its big Nexus switch for the data center. In a Q&A with Juniper CEO Scott Kriens at the EX launch in New York  Network World President and CEO John Gallant and Managing Editor Jim Duffy learned that Juniper is pitching the EX line as offering a common operating system across the switching, routing and security domains of an enterprise network – something that's lacking in what's viewed as a mature market dominated by Cisco.

Kriens makes the following points when asked how Juniper will compete in the enterprise against its biggest rival, as well as the smaller ones:

The network has changed: "What used to be networks simply for the sake of connectivity are now networks for the sake of survival. In that scenario, the performance of the network matters more, and the criteria for buying and operating a network changes from what it was to what it needs to be."

It's all about having commonality: "it's the synthesis of the portfolio really. Because it's switching seamlessly, interoperating with routing, with security and so on, that I think is the distinction. And this is the difference between the box strategy and an operating system strategy, and it's that latter strategy that is unique relative to all the players in the market, big and small."

On why the switch capacity of the EX 8216 falls short of Cisco's Nexus 7000: "The important metric to look at is actually the packets per second that can be processed inside the machine. So you can physically connect ports and add up the total speed of the physical ports, but once you get into the machine it's not the port hardware speed that matters – it's how many packets per second you can process inside the machine. That's really where you hit the capacity limitation. So that's where we think we have very strong performance capabilities."

Read the full interview here.

Related stories:

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How far will Cisco's Nexus enable Cisco to own the data center?

A big step for Juniper's NAC

Juniper makes enterprise switch foray, takes aim at Cisco

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