This is only partly a rhetorical question, I actually would like to understand better what they are doing. But impressions go a long way. Everybody in the virtualization space talks about Cisco when talking about networking (and there has been a lot of talk in the last year). At VMworld in September Cisco was all over the place (with Nexus 1000V and vFrame for example), but the other networking players were noticeably absent. OK , there was Checkpoint with a pretty impressive announcement of a virtual version of there firewall technology, but I was actively looking for the others and there was not much to be found. So I am trying to keep track. This post is starting with Juniper, the next one will be on Force10 (for no other reason than the fact that both had announcements this week).
In December Juniper came out with a VMware Implementation Guide, 7 months after Cisco came out with their guide (jointly published with VMware). But then Juniper only started to ship their first switches around that time. This week Juniper appeared prominently in an IBM cloud computing announcement (sorry for throwing virtualization and cloud together here without further explanation, but I think they should be thrown together). An interesting announcement – as far as IBM was concerned. Juniper featured in the context of hybrid clouds (connecting private and public clouds). Extremely interesting from a networking perspective and much closer to Junipers routing roots since their solution seems to be nothing but old-fashioned MPLS. Proabably not different from MPLS solutions that Cisco could provide, but IBM is a strong partner, and the link-up is naothe indication that IBM and the other large datacenter players are looking for alternatives to Cisco; they can neither be happy about nor surprised by Cisco’s recent server announcements.
The verdict: Juniper is behind Cisco on may fronts when it comes to VMware-style virtualization, but mostly because they are new to the switch business. The speed at which they are catching up is fairly impressive.