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Cisco, Juniper Rivalry Heats Up With Ingram Deal

The longtime rivalry between Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks moved deeper into the channel with Juniper's authorization last week of Ingram Micro as a distributor of its full enterprise portfolio.

Juniper is a welcome addition to the channel for solution providers frustrated by falling margins and Cisco's complex certification requirements, said Tommy Wald, president and CEO of Riata Technologies, a Cisco-certified partner in Austin, Texas.

"There is opportunity for another player. Hey, Cisco tells us that when they bring in other partners, so what's good for the goose is good for the gander," Wald said.

Although Juniper is a fraction of the size of Cisco, it has proved to be a spunky rival in the service provider router space, grabbing about one-quarter of that Cisco-dominated market. Now Juniper is taking that fight to the enterprise front through its acquisition of NetScreen, the launch of an enterprise router line, a new channel program and the hiring of former Cisco executive Tushar Kothari as vice president of worldwide channels.

Some solution providers said Cisco is taking steps to ward off Juniper's advances.

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