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Juniper adds access switches to broaden customer base for Unite fabric

Juniper Networks has introduced a couple of access switches that bring the company's Unite network fabric to small and midsize enterprises.

Juniper Networks Inc. has introduced two access switches for small and midsize enterprises that want to use its Unite fabric to manage and secure data center and campus networks.

Released this week, the entry-level EX2300 and midrange EX3400 include Juniper's Junos Fusion Enterprise software, the core element of the Unite fabric. Fusion Enterprise provides a single set of tools for network provisioning and configuration across the fabric.

The additional access switches are meant to make Juniper's EX Series appealing to enterprises of all sizes, said Jennifer Blatnik, vice president of cloud, security and enterprise marketing at Juniper, based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Tailoring the new products for smaller companies has meant providing appropriate versions of security and management features available to large enterprises.

The EX2300 and EX3400 include firewalls that enforce policies to restrict types of network traffic to specific destinations. The firewalls also include cloud-based updates of threat intelligence to spot malware.

Besides security, the new access switches have Juniper's Virtual Chassis feature, which lets companies connect multiple switches and manage them as one logical device.

The EX2300 and EX3400 are 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) access switches, which interact directly with end-user devices in a classic three-tier switch design. The EX2300 has 10 GbE uplinks, while the EX3400 has 10 and 40 GbE uplinks. Both switches have the J-Web software that lets network administrators manage, configure and troubleshoot through a Web browser. The EX2300 has a starting price of $1,600, while the EX2400 starts at $3,300.

Juniper seeks larger market for Fusion Enterprise

Juniper has struggled in trying to diversify its client base to include more enterprise sales. In the first quarter of the year, enterprise sales fell 11% year to year to $313.4 million, while revenue from service providers -- the company's strongest market -- increased 9% to $784.5 million.

"Juniper has been trying to diversify its customer base to reduce its quarter-to-quarter reliance on its largest customers, and to lessen its exposure to revenue and earnings volatility," said Brad Casemore, analyst at IDC. "That's why it has pushed beyond carriers and more forcefully into public cloud, cable MSOs [multiple services operators] and enterprises."

Juniper hopes that broadening its switch customer base will increase adoption of Fusion Enterprise, which was introduced last October. The software collapses multiple network layers into just one for the data center and campus. Creating a single tier makes it possible to manage all network elements as if they were one system, according to Juniper.

Juniper rivals Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise have also adopted an all-in-one approach in some areas of networking. The trio has unified, for example, management of their wired and wireless networks. For wireless networking, Juniper, by contrast, sends its customers to partners HPE-owned Aruba, Ruckus Wireless Inc. -- soon to become a part of Brocade -- and Aerohive Networks.

All the vendors are chasing a growing market. Annual worldwide revenue from campus and branch switches will increase from $12.5 billion in 2014 to $13.6 billion in 2019, according to IDC. Revenue from data center switches will rise from $6.4 billion to $9.8 billion.

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