Juniper Versus Cisco: Programmable Switches Are the Next Battle

Executives at Juniper (NYSE:JNPR) outlined a plan to enter the software-defined network (SDN) market in January, marking yet another move in its battle against Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO). Now, Juniper is introducing programmable Ethernet switches that aim to put its competition on the defensive and strengthen its position in the industry.

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Juniper produces an ASIC called One (a part of the Trio line) and used this switch as a model for their EX9200 line. The innovation is in the engine, which can be programmed in a variety of ways. Juniper also calls these new switches “programmable” because support features will be delivered within the protocols, no matter how they evolve. The largest models in the EX9200 line will hold 14 line cards. It is still unclear what Juniper will charge for the largest switches in the series, though the base price is $80,000.

The news comes at a time when Cisco is experiencing a lull in its resurgence. Shares fell just over two percent by the close of trading Friday. Bad news for provider F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) made investors highly pessimistic about the industry as a whole, taking down Cisco in the process. A poor showing by Radware (NASDAQ:RDWR) also contributed to Cisco’s late-week slide.