Canadian executives from Juniper Networks held a long-scheduled briefing for reporters and industry analysts in Toronto today, by coincidence a day after competitor Cisco Systems Inc. released dismal third quarter results.

Not surprisingly, they were upbeat after what John Dathan, Juniper’s general manager for enterprise sales, called “fabulous” first quarter results released last month.

Financial analysts, he said, predict Juniper will record top line growth of 17 per cent this year over 2011 compared to nine per cent for Cisco. Of course, Cisco still has healthy market share.

There were no product announcements from the session, which was held just to keep observers up to date on the company’s doings. Among other things Dathan said is that about one-third of Juniper’s sales come from enterprises. After the session I asked him if he wants to grow that percentage here, and how fast.

 “The company has a published strategy to become the next US$10 billion company,” he replied [it did US$1.1 billion in the last quarter, so this year it might hit US$4.5 billion]. “The addressable market for enterprise is far greater [than the service provider market], so we do have expectations to grow it significantly higher.” How high? He wouldn’t be specific, except to say the company expects him to hike enterprise sales this year by 35 per cent over 2010’s figure.

How? “The company is clearly investing in the right technologies to address customer needs. From a local perspective, we’ve grown our team to touch more customers, we’re working closer with partners to also get to more customers.

“I think one of the challenges we have here in Canada was simply being able to tell our story to the right people, and so the more [news] coverage we have and the more partners we enable to do that” the better.

Having just come back from new switching announcements by Hewlett-Packard Co. and Brocade Communications, I can report that Cisco’s competitors area more eager than ever to cut into its market share with new converged infrastructure switches. It’s the switch market where Cisco has lost the most.

These are still early early days – Juniper, for example, has only released one switch that can take advantage of its new QFabric infrastructure. More are coming, Dathan said, in the second half of the year.

I plan to write more deeply on Cisco in the next few days.


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