Juniper Junosphere – Missed Opportunity for Enterprise Market

Juniper announced their Junosphere emulator recently and have been smugly telling everyone how wonderful it is. Except it isn’t. Here is my take, FWIW.

SSL VPNs are not allowed

Junosphere uses an SSL VPN for access. Most companies don’t allow SSL VPN to exit their firewalls as standard security policy for data loss prevention. For EDU and ISP/SP this may not be true but for Enterprise (where Juniper is trying to get traction) it certainly is. Therefore, it’s not much use for corporate clients who have proper security policies in place.

Getting access

I’m not a reseller, not a customer, not a trainer – I’m a consultant who has limited options for accessing the product. You think I’m going to setup an account with a reseller, or that a reseller will even want my business ? There doesn’t seem to be any other way to buy it. What about companies who aren’t customers who want to prepare, dip a toe in ?

Think about Cisco customers who want to switch but are afraid of the operational impact of the CLI/Administration of JunOS. It’s a real problem. Personally, I’ve put millions of dollars of revenue into Cisco on the back of Dynamips proof of concepts, internal training programs and turned away JunOS because of lack of experience and exposure. You didn’t even get to the door.

The Value of Emulators in Change Management

Change validation – its hard to get changes approved these days. The ability to model a network in Cisco IOU or Dynamips (even unsupported or illegally) with 20 or 30 routers means people can validate complex MPLS/BGP/ISIS designs and changes that would otherwise never be allowed. And build customer confidence that it will work. Furthermore, their own people can access that content and develop their own skills. Brilliant.

This reinforces Juniper product in place. Makes it harder to switch away and creates sticky customers.

Nickel and Dimed

A customer who has spent millions on JunOS software, isn’t expecting to pay extra for something that should have been included since day one. A customer isn’t going to pay 5 bucks per day per router – it’s an extortionate rate. Plus it’s hard for companies to raise a PO for that in thousand dollars lots or variable amounts and worry about using it. I’ll Juniper employees couldn’t do it either.

Thats nickel and diming your customers. I would support a subscription program like MSDN – say hundred bucks and a license to keep the lawyers happy.

Sure, educational partners like what you’ve brought to market – they don’t have to build labs any more. No risk if it fails, no up front capital, no space, no business planning. Just hang up a shingle, market a course and deliver it. Costs are offset per student. Fine. Me ? I’m running a twenty router system validation that I get maybe two hours a day to develop while I’m juggling five major projects, five to ten staff and reports. Am I going to get USD$100 value per day ? No I am not.

The EtherealMind View

I’m not likely to start learning JunOS in Junosphere while it’s locked away in the cloud where I can’t use it when it’s needed, then I have to pay to use it, and it’s still not the way I want it or need it to be. Desktop or nothing. Everytime a consultant or reseller says “don’t use JunOS because its only used by service providers and ISPs”, you just lost a chance to open up an enterprise customer.

I’ve received a demonstration from Judy Beningson, Juniper’s vice president and general manager, Virtual Junos Business Unit. The product looks good, I like it. Clearly its early days and there is much more planned, but that’s OK because I wouldn’t expect anything less.

Junosphere is a chance to remove a key sales objection around product knowledge on JunOS. JunOS is the key marketing message for Juniper – one OS for all systems. Once customers are in, they can consider taking on other Juniper products. Goodness knows, many networkers are ready to consider alternatives to IOS. Why try and make beer money against a golden opportunity go and grab new customers in the Enterprise and bathe in champagne ?

  • Ty_a

    Two things come to mind here. For one companies like Vyatta offer great value in giving away the base version of their product and offering in place upgrades to supported enterprise versions. Second of all Juniper could do the exact same thing. JunOS is software installed on top of FreeBSD, hence JunOS will pretty much run on anything FreeBSD will.

    Base level JunOS should be commodity software on commodity PC hardware. If Juniper was a real forward looking company they would be eating Cisco’s lunch by selling a $100 license for software to run on a $500 PC that would outperform most low end Cisco hardware.

    • Lindley

      At $100 market, you are talking about SMB.  For SMB, I prefer pfSense; another FreeBSD base.

      • Lance Lakey


        For SMB I also prefer pfSense

        pfSense is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router.

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  • Ryan Fitzpatrick

    If you want a JunOS test bed, you can run it on VMware

    Virtualizing JunOS on VMware

  • Laz

    I used Juniper devices and Netscreen on various places in the last couple of years, and it was proven to be good (next month we are rolling out Juniper M/T/EX devices again), easy to use, hardware is nice, software’s great, excellent automatisation, but to teach it to people who got used to IOS or newbie to networking… well, that is a no sir without a solution to show features on a satisfying simulator which can be installed in three minutes, and can be used for home lab stuff.

    No, instead, you have to do the following:
    a. Get Olive (feature-set is just not good enough, and it is a nightmare to explain to a hotline colleague how to get this installed)
    b. Buy devices for building a lab. (We are talking about Eastern Europe, so no budget, incredible costs on field support, management will never approve it). By the way, it is about M/T series, and EX switches.
    c. Send people on training (“look for a closer and cheaper one” the management told me when I have found the closest and cheapest of courses)

    And this is only training, no change validation mentioned. I am pretty sad that I had to train my guys on two M5i which were in an extremely bad condition.

    Though I really prefer the Juniper portfolio for the points metioned above (and the excellent dual-stack support – I almost forgot), I am still waiting for a fast and good solution to do our training/change validation tool with some real-life features supported.

    • Steve Ayres

      I’m sure you can run JunOS in Dynamips…”JunOS, the Operating System for Juniper routers is based on FreeBSD, an UNIX Operating System that runs on PCs. At this date all JunOS versions are known to work in GNS3″

      I have worked on everything from J series right up to T640’s and MX960’s deployed in large MPLS networks. In terms of moving from IOS to JunOS, for a good network engineer the transition is really not that hard and once you’re there the experience is much better. 

      The world no longer revolves around Cisco and even they are evolving their hardware design, OS and network model to suit the next generation (IOS 15, NX-OS, Fabric Path, UCS Manager, Nexus 1000v, VMware vCloud Director). All of this requires engineers to pick up new skills as the vendor evolves their technology.

      Apart from Dynamips which is an open source tool, I don’t believe Cisco provide any router or switch emulations that allow you install code. As far as I’m concerned learning NX-OS and UCS required the same effort as learning JunOS.

  • Ipv6freely

    I think you mean “Junos” or “JUNOS”. 

    Anyway, you clearly don’t have the full picture here.

  • LKM

    Clearly – what a good argument.  You raise some good counterpoints, such as the correct usage of Junos, JUNOS, or JunOS.  Pedantic.

    Heaven forbid someone doesn’t shower unabashed praise upon your precious Juniper.