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Juniper: Make OSes consistent

Different network operating systems cause complexity, which prevents IT departments from enabling features the business wants, says company exec.
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Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor on

Network administrators should focus on simplifying the plethora of network OSes in their set up, so they can catch up with enabling features the business wants, said a Juniper Networks executive in an interview.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia, Spencer Greene, senior vice president, customer advocacy, said the network OS has one of the biggest impacts on the performance of a network.

Of Juniper's own networking OS, Junos, Greene added: "I think Junos is the largest piece of the value proposition of Juniper's offerings that customers are responding to."

The biggest thing to "get right" with a network is in striving to implement the same OS throughout the infrastructure. "Complexity in a network comes from the plethora of different OSes running across different equipment.

"The networking industry has been a difficult place. Customers are not getting what they want--they face a lot of difficulty implementing new features," he said.

Between the numerous OSes running on different equipment, and the versions between them, the exponential number of combinations makes the set up "impractical" for many companies.

Having one OS across some devices working with the others will cut that number down, Greene explained. He added that streamlining the OS versions is achievable for most companies, while complete overhauls are impractical, given the issue of legacy equipment that plagues most companies. "One version of one OS works better with your 15 to 20 other devices in the network."

Prioritizing the same OS for new equipment will introduce "incremental" improvements to the network, as parts are retired, he said.

According to him, this is one aspect many network administrators have overlooked. "The holy grail of IT is in supporting business agility and being dynamic, but most are trying to just keep up with keeping the network as it is."

And streamlining OSes to get heterogeneous equipment working with each other will help enable new features "which the business wants", he said. "It is not about the OS for the sake of it, but being able to turn on new features as the business requires."

Juniper is hoping its OS strategy will continue to drive revenues up. This year, the company added a family of dynamic service gateways to its portfolio, as well as a lineup of enterprise Ethernet switches.

Greene said the current routing capability with Junos has "saved customers 30 percent", and hopes the new product line up will spread Junos to the rest of the market.

According to Juniper, its Asia-Pacific revenues as at the second quarter of this year grew 35 percent year-on-year. Global revenues were up 32 percent year-on-year.

Competitor, Cisco, has the overall dominant market share, with the Cisco network OS, IOS "most prevalent in the United States presently" at 80 percent market share, according to a Cisco spokesperson.

For the Asia-Pacific region as at the second quarter of 2008, Cisco held 53 percent of the router market, and 58 percent of the switch market, he said.

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