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Cisco vs. Juniper: How different are their SDN strategies?

Jim Duffy | Feb. 8, 2013
Analysts see more convergence than divergence with recent Cisco, Juniper releases.

"Juniper has a lot of existing hardware, and hardware customers, that it will attempt to fold into its SDN strategy," he says. "We will see hardware and software from both Cisco and Juniper, as their common ASIC strategies suggest."

And even though the timelines for deliverables differ, they are in keeping with each company's traditions.

"That's Juniper's way, right?" Fratto says. "Produce a road map and then deliver over a longer timeline like 12 to 24 months."

Where the strategies diverge will be in partner ecosystems for SDN-enabled services, he says.

"In both cases, they will need to attract partners into their respective ecosystems. The market for services has a ton of players -- think (application delivery controllers), firewalls, WAN optimization. For those services to be chained, they have to be integrated with Juniper's stuff. Same for Cisco. That's going to be the attractor."

Casemore sees differences in initial target markets too.

"I look at Juniper's strategy as being more attuned to the SP/carrier community than the enterprise -- their service chaining concept is very close to network functions virtualization -- whereas the strategy and technologies Cisco has rolled out thus far are more enterprise oriented," he says. "That's not to say that Juniper won't develop more of an enterprise orientation or that Cisco won't push its SDN strategy into carriers -- both will happen. But that's how I see them now at this particular snapshot in time."


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