Juniper Networks – changing to a more reliable network

I had recently attended a Juniper course at Dynamic World Wide Training Consultants. While at this training I felt even more confident that our switch to Juniper was the right choice. There are several reasons why we are making this change from Cisco, but rest assured that cost was not the primary deciding factor (although a very tempting one).

Cisco on the other hand has been running in another direction, selling their name but missing their mark on quality products unless your willing to buy their new G2, ASA, or higher end routers. I could go on, but compared to Juniper I would say Cisco’s education and certification program needs a serious overhaul.

1. A solid Education Program:
Juniper not only has full control of their certification program, but they also have a solid curriculum, that takes you from just knowing how to say TCP/IP to the advanced wonders of dynamic routing and high availability. Did I mention they will basically give away vouchers this year for those who attend training or even take pre certification tests. Also be sure to ask for Juniper Training Credits when you purchase your hardware, this is just one way you will know Juniper cares about your business.

2. A solid reputation with Internet Service providers:
Why is this important, well Cisco and Juniper have been around for a while, they just entered the market from two different directions. Cisco entered in the consumer market and later competed in the service provider market. Juniper started in the Service provider market learning from many of the issues that Network Admins had with Cisco, they built-in most of their products a standard Operating system called Junos. Juniper also includes high availability options, and the internal software with separate routing engines and forwarding planes makes this possible.

3. A lot of features – in a little box:
Did I mention their OS is based on Free BSD, which is somewhat like Unix or Linux. This allows Juniper to include a number of modules and features which if for some reason you need to restart a daemon you can rest assured that you probably won’t affect the rest of your traffic. With this in mind when you boot a Juniper be prepared for the 5 to 7 minutes for it to boot much like an appliance. Also you will want to safely shut down your Juniper like you would a Linux server, not a simple flip of a power button.

4. Standards based Networking:
While many of us would probably like to stay with a single vendor for all our networking needs, you probably have multiple vendors with their own way of doing things on your network. Many of the cool things Juniper does, they do so in such a way as to maintain standards. While there are a few features that Juniper has pioneered, you always have the option to keep your network standards based by default.

5. Support:
While I don’t have experience with this so far, I’ll be sure to report on any findings. I have found Junipers website very helpful, and Juniper’s TAC team is made available for all current support customers from day one.

6. Cost:
Ok, I will break down the cost for you just this once. With Cisco just over $120k may get you 6 G2 routers with the works and 3 years of SmartNet. Juniper did much better and threw in some training for free, for the same cost of the 6 G2 routers(I will post the models later), Juniper was able to provide 4 J-Series routers, 16- SRX Series routers/firewalls, 3 years support, training and certification, and professional services. The professional services actually costs as much as the equipment, but even then it was a much better deal.

So with all this in mind, when you hear Juniper around the corner, I would highly recommend you continue your research and take a few classes. I promise you this one thing. You will not only grow into it quickly, but will wonder how you would have done it without Juniper.

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About Paul Cardelli, CISSP
Cyber Security Analyst, and computer guru

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