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Juniper's Plan To Win: It's The Application

One of Juniper's constant points is the single OS, Junos, that runs across their entire product line. When the company announced their EX switch line last year, having the same OS on both routers and switches was novel, but not a real deal maker. However, Juniper has more products other than just routers and switches. They also sell SSL VPN, WAN optimization, Intrusion Detection/Prevention and firewall appliances none of which run Junos. I keep hearing "It's coming, it's coming," but I have yet to see anything in products. If and when they do move everything to Junos may mark a sea change in networking.

I never bought the notion that one OS was much of a selling point. I keep in contact with some network administrators, and one or two do run Juniper's EX switches. They admit that having one OS does make management simpler, but there were other reasons why they bought Juniper switches, such as better performance, service upgrades, etc. My buddies also tell me Juniper's gear has its own set of problems, but the problems are no better or worse than the switch and router gear they replaced.

At Juniper's analyst event, representatives kept repeating the one OS refrain over and over to nodding heads. I know that the Juniper representatives aren't telling the whole story, and that they have other products which are still running on their original operating systems. Getting products like their SA SSL VPN appliances, Netscreen firewalls, IDP intrusion detection/prevention appliances, Unified Access Control and WX series WAN optimization appliances running Junos would mark the first time that a networking company had multiple products running the same OS and that would greatly simplify product deployment and management.  

I imagine the various product lines would have to have their own applications on top of Junos. I doubt Juniper's plan is to be able to run the same code base that provides switching, routing, security and WAN optimization running everywhere. How the product lines shake out will be interesting to see.

I found myself sitting with Vice President and General Manager Mike Harding, of the Junos Space Business Unit, and I put the question to him "You and I both know that Juniper's gear doesn't all run on Junos. Is that ever going to happen?"  He said "Mike, I can't give out any details or timelines, [Juniper is highly disciplined about not speculating on product features or delivery] but what I can tell you is that resources have be allocated and are actively working on getting all or our products running on Junos. Every time we sell another product that doesn't run Junos simply extends the time we have to support multiple platforms."  Harding went on to say that the company is building the development and business processes to move newly acquired products to Junos more quickly than they have in the past.

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