Juniper switches on channel services

Networking vendor claims its new switching range will open up more services and consulting opportunities for partners

Juniper Networks is claiming its newly launched line of enterprise switching products will open up opportunities for partners to adopt a strategic services approach with customers.

Juniper held its first global channel conference in the US last month. Local channel director, Brian Allsopp, said the key message to partners was that its new line of enterprise-grade switches, Hurricane, has landed. Known for its routers and security heritage, the latest technology release marks Juniper's entry into the LAN switching market against heavyweights such as Cisco, Nortel and Extreme Networks.

"This is a new opportunity for partners to transform from network security and access sales to a complete infrastructure projects around the datacentre and consolidation," Allsopp said. "We're also putting focus on the WAN acceleration piece."

The EX line of modular, chassis and fixed-configuration Ethernet switches, codenamed Hurricane and launched last month, support power over Ethernet, VoIP and security.

The vendor has also announced partnerships with IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, who have pledged varying degrees of software and application integration, and interoperability with the new Juniper platforms.

Allsopp said its management software can run on different sized hardware and suits organisations with 250 people through to those running multiple datacentres.

"Power savings and higher port density are compelling arguments that are changing the dynamics of the conversation with customers. A lot of customers are facing datacentre capacity issues," he said. "There's also a big push on consolidating branch offices and activity in the datacentre. CIOs want to reduce complexity, TCO and consolidation.

"Our three areas of focus are branch offices, consolidation and network infrastructure. There are a lot of [network] refreshes coming up. Voice is a big driver for transitioning to new infrastructure."

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Allsopp said applications on the network were also being scrutinised by customers as they looked to improve capabilities without replacing the whole network.

"That is opening up strong consulting opportunities for partners and broader conversations about network access," he said.

Allsopp was also encouraged by an increase in resellers offering managed services around the corporate and enterprise markets. But he said many partners were still coming to grips with how to do offer managed services successfully.

"The biggest weakness is how to package services and not have disparate items. We have initiatives around that in the service provider market and we are working with resellers to develop those capabilities using tools offered in the framework of our partner program," he said. "The smart resellers are looking at annuity revenue streams. I don't think [the managed services model] is being done well in the mid-market yet."

Juniper has about 300 partners in Australia.

"We're happy to be underdistributed," Allsopp said. "We're aiming to reward value and retain margins. Partners can participate in professional services and build value around that."