A rejuvenated Juniper?

Network Middle East sat down with Middle East leader Samer Shaar to find out what the changes mean for enterprise businesses in this region

Tags: Juniper Networks IncorporatedUnited Arab Emirates
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A rejuvenated Juniper? Samer Shaar at Juniper in the Middle East suggests that CIOs here are looking to cloud networking as a way to boost their network breadth and capabilities without emptying out the corporate purse too much.
By  Julian Pletts Published  November 4, 2009

In another step that will see it stand toe-to-toe with long-time market jousting foe Cisco, Juniper Networks has hatched a series of developments to its networking range and overall corporate strategy.

The plethora of announcements the vendor made this week include the launching of new chipsets - enhancing its technology credentials and investments in silicon - and also a 3D networking architecture that is set to significantly raise the bar, higher than Cisco is currently able to leap. Ahead of an in-depth interview in the forthcoming December issue of Network Middle East with Gert Jan Schenk, the vendor's EMEA boss, NME sat down with Middle East leader Samer Shaar to find out what the changes mean for enterprise businesses in this region. Here are the edited highlights of what Shaar had to say.

Today, how efficient your technology and solutions are, is not necessarily the top of the CIO's hit-list. The most important consideration for enterprises is total cost of ownership (TCO). Juniper is claiming to massively cut TCO with its ‘New Network' message. But how? Is it the openness and consolidation of the cloud computing angle?

This is one of things that allows you to realise massive savings with that sort of deployment. The two things that we are looking at when it comes to savings are the capital expenditure (CAPEX) and the operational expenditure (OPEX). When it comes to CAPEX we are a high-performing provider of technology and this means we can get more from our boxes than others in the market. The second part is that we are able to dynamically scale our infrastructure by purely adding the different style and designs, so increased capacity is an important aspect. On the design itself of the boxes, with our announcement today on the TRIO Chipset for example, the end-user is able to dynamically add services, you are able to add value-added services to your infrastructure, plus you are able to scale the capabilities of your infrastructure. 

Also, from a cost perspective the TRIO is one of the cheapest of the new range of chipsets....

Absolutely, so you just have to add power and then that can add a large capacity. So if you are talking only the CAPEX of your deployment, you have brought in a box that can get you more with less investment. The most important expenditure today is the OPEX and today we have one operating system that covers the security, routing and the switching platform. You only need one person who is able to deploy the same solution on three platforms and they do not need to have specialised knowledge on the operating system to ensure that it all works smoothly. In the market there are different operating systems (OS) that we can see with the routers or the switches and this requires specific skills if the enterprise wants to have individual tracking of each of those deployments.

From your local experience, is the Middle East really ready for cloud networking or will the cloud networking and cloud security options that Juniper has just unveiled take a while longer to roll out here?

Not at all. The Middle East has always been a prime adopter of cloud computing and today cloud computing is an important prospect and value proposition to a lot of organisations in this region, starting mainly with the e-Government project. Here they need to expand the boundaries of the data centre to include different types of sub and sub-plus data centres - our solution means that you can move out the capability of the network and get more bandwidth than you would be getting from the physical location of the machines or the storage operations that you have in the one place. What is very unique within the Middle East is that we are not reengineering. There are some projects where we are starting from the greenfields, so to speak, and otherwise it is all going to be backwardly-compatible. 

What are the major projects that Juniper can lay claim to over this year and what end-user customers will you be aiming at with the ‘New Network' approach?

We have seen great growth in the data centres for the education sector. It is not only that they have adopted our technology just to build their core but there's a simple programme that we have put forward called the Pass Back programme. We gave them the full education around our technology with the intention of a full technology knowledge transfer. They can skill their students through their university education and then in the last year we offer them access to our open technology and help them to build graduation case studies that are specific to the region.  The second thing that we have been focusing on is the oil and gas sector - a very big area for us and we employed one of the largest ever full end-to-end networks with one of the leading companies in this area. It is one of the largest in terms of switching, routers and clients. The beauty of it is that it is not confined to this region, there are 22 different subsidiaries for that company on a global level and we have been doing a roll-out for that company across the region and all across the world. Thirdly, we have the public sector, in which we have worked with a government agency in Saudi Arabia to create an end-to-end, paperless, environment for the end-users. What is unique about that implementation is today they have an infrastructure that is secure, it has a single sign-on, and they can really audit, from one end to the other, any transaction that happens across their network. Our forth area of focus is with the e-Government which was really a next generation network where they are able to transact any form of media. Again the project is very unique, because it enabled us to alter the connectivity to the infrastructure and the security to suit the client and the size was also on a global level and it made use of all of our technology. What encourages those guys [the e-Government] to come in and talk to us it is not only because of the cutting edge technology and it is also the open platform we have -the Junos platform - that enables them to add their own application. But by far the most important aspect is the total cost of the implementation is relatively low. 

How is this going to help you further challenge Cisco in this market?

Today, focus is the name of the game. We want to really bring in to a selected type of client the value proposition that we are bringing from our end with the technology perspective. But the most important thing that differentiates us from anyone else in the market is our ability to bring in a better TCO.  And this is the important thing today because the decision on IT is not only with us as the CIO, also the CFO and the CEO have a major say and they demand to see what the savings in the CAPEX and the OPEX. Another differentiator is the technology transfer that allows anyone to certify on our technology within four to six weeks. Our technology is on an open platform and so is our education.

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