Juniper Networks lines up Internet of Things strategy for data centers

Juniper's strategy boils down to what the networking company's new CEO Rami Rahim summed up as the transformation of networking today in one word: "automation."

SUNNYVALE, CALIF.-- Juniper Networks outlined its 2015 roadmap -- with stops mapped for network performance, automation, scale and security -- during its Innovation Showcase on Wednesday.

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Held at the enterprise networking company's headquarters, Juniper executives unveiled a bevy of new switches and firewall services on top of a new converged architecture designed to jump in and connect the Internet of Things world from the backend.

Market research firms and tech giants alike all have been floating around mindboggling estimates about how many connected devices will cover the earth within five years.

Juniper's latest forecast calls for roughly 50 billion connected devices belonging to roughly 7.6 billion people by 2020.

With that deluge of data in mind, Juniper unveiled a bevy of new switches and firewall services on top of a new converged architecture to jump in and connect the Internet of Things world from the backend.

For example, described as "switching with a spine," the QFX10000 line of switches are built for telco and cloud service providers with support for open source integrations. Juniper highlighted partnerships with VMware and OpenStack, among others.

Juniper's strategy boils down to what the networking company's new CEO Rami Rahim summed up as the transformation of networking today in one word: "automation."

Rahim outlined that starts with targeting vertical markets. From a technology perspective, Rahim stressed scale and reliability, which he suggested are qualities sometimes underestimated -- if not overlooked altogether -- when bolstering performance over time.

"Trust me, there is still plenty of room for innovation to achieve great levels of scale and performance," Rahim remarked.

Rahim stressed that it doesn't matter if you're talking about a CPU or the human mind, but connections make us powerful, arguing Juniper's technology goes a long way in enabling scientists to bring clean tech to communities, medical researchers find cures, and education to third-world countries.

"That's not just the 'What we're doing' but the 'Why we're doing,' and that's what motivates us," Rahim said.

Rahim, an 18-year veteran at the company and one of the first few employees when the company first started, replaced Shaygan Kheradpir in November following a review of conduct. Rahim was also been appointed to the board of directors.

Rahim already had a full plate when appointed following an uneasy third quarter earnings report, which missed earnings and revenue targets, prompting Juniper to cut its outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter. Then-chief Kheradpir also pushed ahead with a $100 million cost reduction initiative, which included the possibility of job cuts.

Jonathan Davidson, who stepped up to Rahim's role as general manager of Juniper's development and innovation unit, stressed the "seismic" and fundamental shifts that have occured in the data center over the last few years, which Davidson admitted forced Juniper to rethinking networking altogether.

Davidson highlighted the debut of Junos Fusion, a standards-based approach toward data center infrastructure management, providing both a centralized point of management as well as a "virtual buffer" for top-of-rack switches.

"This is about fundamentally changing the basics of networking for both our enterprise customers and our service provider customers," Davidson said.

Acknolwedging strategy is nothing without execution while promising a lot of hard work on the way, Rahim concluded, "Juniper certainly isn't a startup anymore, but it certainly feels like that right now."

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