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Juniper and Google: The Kool-Aid Keynotes

It should have been a great match up. The Interop folk paired Juniper CEO Scott Kriens and Google's enterprise general manager, Dave Girourd, in back-to-back keynotes. Yet as I listened to both speakers I couldn't get over as just how much of their own cool-aid some vendors can drink.
Kriens spoke about network's evolution and that openness is so critical if companies are to have seamless interaction with their business partners and suppliers. Vendors must move towards such open networks without fear of losing market share.
Such change must be driven from the enterprise. "Insist this industry opens itself up, and you will retain control," exhorted Kriens.

Oh, please. It's no surprise that Kriens would push for open networks. Lacking an end-to-end product suite, Juniper must embrace the open network mantra. The company pioneered the Infranet, now called the IPsphere forum, the notion that interconnected public networks should provide end-to-end quality of service.

While marketspeak is to be expected, what bugs me is how vendors, and Juniper is but one example, will elevate their marketspeak to values, scaring enterprises of the dire consequences if they choose not to follow. Open networks and choice are a great innovation, but I bet most CIOs will choose a well integrated solution from a single vendor than a hodgepodged network from multiple vendors any day.

Girouard wasn't much better. The Google enterprise GM, argued that change is coming from consumer application because of the almost "Darwinian effect" competition within the consumer market is having on software vendor. Enterprise applications, however, aren't designed for the end-user, but for addressing the business process. "Enterprise applications lack passion," he said

One of Girouard's great examples of Google's simple interface yet powerful capabilities is OneBox. For the uninitiated (including yours truly), Onebox is Google's term for search technology that finds many sources of specialized information and then group the most relevant ones at the top of your search results. Typical Onebox results include news, stock quotes, and weather.

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