Juniper Security: Eyes on the EnterpriseBy Baselinemag | Posted 2004-10-01 Email Print
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Juniper Networks made a big move into network security by buying firewall appliance vendor NetScreen for $3.4 billion. But the deal doesn't ensure overnight success.
After years of sticking to high-speed networking gear for service providers, Juniper flung open the door to the enterprise this year with its $3.4 billion acquisition of network security vendor NetScreena grab for real estate in a market dominated by archrival Cisco.
But some NetScreen customers say the Juniper strategy isn't a slam-dunk. Doug Torre, director of networking and technical services at Catholic Health System in Buffalo, N.Y., says Juniper's acquisition of NetScreen was "a very shrewd move" because security is a high-growth market, but he adds that "it's a tough transition to go into the enterprise space when you have been used to dealing with [telecommunications] carriers ... It remains to be seen how successful they will be."
Kittu Kolluri, general manager of Juniper's security products group, concedes the company has "marketing challenges" to "reintroduce Juniper as a security vendor." But NetScreen, founded in 1997, brings with it a customer base impressed with the speed, small size and manageability of its products.
Four years ago Stephens Media Group, a Las Vegas-based publishing company, installed two NetScreen firewall appliances and found them much simpler to manage than the Nokia firewall appliances (running Check Point software) it had previously maintained. The Nokia units required constant patching of the operating system, says Steve Olson, the company's infrastructure services manager. "NetScreen was one of the first companies offering this kind of simplicity in a very small form-factor," he says. Olson adds that NetScreen has been "very responsive" in soliciting feedback on recommendations for their firewalls.
Commerce Bank, a 340-branch financial services firm based in Kansas City, Mo., replaced three HP-UX servers running a firewall from Network Associates (which has since renamed itself McAfee) with two NetScreen-500 appliances that cost less per unit than the previous servers and take up one-fourth the rack space. And whereas the previous firewalls were "running out of gas," operating at their maximum capacity, the NetScreen appliances handle an average of 20 megabits per second of throughput running at just 10% capacity, says Mark E. Price, security analyst at the bank.
Price adds that his group didn't need to reboot the NetScreen appliances for about a year afterward, and only then when the devices' code was upgraded: "An appliance just makes life simpler."
Juniper Operating Results*
* Fiscal year ends Dec. 31
YTD reflects first six months
Source: company reports
Total assets: $6.68B
Stockholders' equity: $5.75B
Cash and equivalents: $675.91M
Long-term debt: $400.00M
Shares outstanding: 506.19M
Market value as of 9/24: $13.37B
**As of June 30, 2004, except as noted