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Juniper and Cisco Square Off in Enterprise Switching Ring

How intense is the rivalry between Cisco and Juniper. One day after Cisco made its most significant switch announcement in years, Juniper followed with its own magnum opus. Coincidence? Hardly, but a competition that will benefit small and medium businesses.While Cisco has been able to bloody competitors in just about every networking market segment, Juniper has landed a few punched in the behemoths midsection. Cisco knocked out just about every networking vendor, including established suppliers, from the carrier market, however, Juniper was able to not only survive but grab a sizable portion (about one third) of the sales in that complex, lucrative market. In addition, the company has gradually branched out into other market segments, such firewalls and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and is now one of the leading enterprise router suppliers.

But Juniper had avoided trading punches with Cisco in the enterprise switch arena; that is until its latest announcement . The network equipment supplier unveiled its EX-series, which features three models, the EX 3200, EX 4200 and EX 8200. On the low end, the EX 3200 series is designed for low-density regional and corporate offices and comes in 24-port and 48-port versions. The high end EX 8200 series features an eight-slot 1.6 Terabit Chassis, which works with 64 ports, and a 16-slot 3.2 terabit Chassis supporting twice as many ports. Juniper has been able to make headway in the networking market by offering products that rely on its Junos operating system and feature an integrated design. In comparison, Cisco has built its product lines up via acquisitions, so its devices have different foundations.

How well Juniper will fare new in its new battle is an open question. The company has been able to deftly maneuver on treacherous grounds and build viable businesses where many other network equipment suppliers have failed. However, past victories do not ensure future success, and Cisco has proven to be the networking industrys most formidable foe. At the very least, Juniper presents a significant threat to Cisco, one the company is taking seriously as evident by its attempt to dim its competitors day in the sun. The clash is good news for small and medium businesses. Cisco has had a virtual monopoly in the enterprise switching market, so at the very least, the new fight should spur more innovation as well as lower prices.

Do you have any Juniper equipment now? What would it take for the company to convince you to buy its switches? Will you now think twice about purchasing Cisco switches in the future?

Cisco's Switching announcement