Juniper ANZ bullish despite flat global forecast

Juniper Networks is forecasting flat revenue for its first quarter due to a lack of clarity in the economic situation, but the company’s Australia and New Zealand management remain bullish.

Overall IT spending is down 10 percent to 15 percent from 2008, according to Juniper Networks CEO Kevin Johnson. But due to market uncertainty, Johnson would not speculate last week on when spending might pick up again.

“I’m not going to comment,” Johnson said when asked about a rebound in IT spending, which he said closely tracks the US gross domestic product.

“We’re going to be agile quarter to quarter.”

This lack of clarity prompted Juniper to forecast revenue of US$800 million to US$830 million for the first quarter, which is flat and down to three percent from a year ago.

Johnson says current trends in enterprise networking play to Juniper’s strengths. Customer requirements for “centralised” computing architectures, in which resources are physically housed in datacentres and dispersed to remote locations through cloud computing and virtualisation, demand the “pure play high performance networking” that Juniper espouses.

That was a message echoed by Juniper’s first New Zealand country manager, Ian Quinn, last week. Quinn, who was appointed in January, says Juniper’s traditional service provider market is healthy in New Zealand because of investment and regulatory changes over the last few years.

“We see a lot of opportunity on the enterprise side, with companies having to do more with less,” he says.

In particular, network and security virtualisation are allowing enterprises to cut the number of boxes on their networks and the operational expenditure needed to support them. Security virtualisation of firewalls is also delivering increased consolidation and lower maintenance costs, he says.

Sales to the enterprise market now accounts for 31 percent of Juniper’s global revenue.

Shaun Page, Juniper’s ANZ vice president, based in Melbourne, says growth is anticipated in New Zealand and concedes that is a bold statement given the state of the economy. He says as IT budgets are squeezed, Juniper is getting more “air-time” in the enterprise.

Page says virtualisation allows organisations to set up what appear to be separate networks, with different applications, but running on the same physical infrastructure. This can also be used to help manage mergers and acquisitions. It also makes it possible for different organisations, say government departments, to share infrastructure.

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