Energizing the Distributed Hybrid IT Environment: Implications of HPE Acquiring Juniper Networks | Blog

Beyond consolidating the competitive networking market, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) planned acquisition of Juniper Networks can potentially unlock a distributed, hybrid, secure fabric to optimize today’s hybrid IT environment. Explore the projected benefits to both companies and market repercussions in this blog. 

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HPE’s announcement earlier this month of its plans to acquire Juniper Networks for approximately US$14 billion has mainly focused on the benefits HPE can gain, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, new business lines, and margin improvements. However, the deal has far greater potential and can significantly impact the hybrid IT environment. Let’s delve into this further.

Hybrid IT: a distributed puzzle

Today’s businesses operate across a combination of on-premises infrastructure, public clouds, and edge computing resources. While this distributed hybrid model offers flexibility and scalability, it presents formidable challenges. Managing disparate technologies, ensuring seamless connectivity, and maintaining security across these diverse environments is a complex puzzle.

Cloud has already created a gamut of challenges for the networking and security industry, which both HPE and Juniper have struggled with. Yet, with the shift toward a distributed hybrid IT environment, a new growth story may emerge from these two infrastructure giants.

HPE + Juniper: a combined force for hybrid IT management

The HPE-Juniper merger holds the potential to simplify this landscape significantly. Bringing together HPE’s expertise in servers, storage, and edge computing with Juniper’s leadership in networking and security solutions can create a hybrid IT management powerhouse.

Here’s how this combined force could benefit both organizations:

  • As-a-service infrastructure stack: Imagine Greenlake’s as-a-service offering complemented by Juniper’s networking, security, and AI portfolios. This could culminate in an as-a-service infrastructure stack that can compete (theoretically) with the public clouds. Given the market’s search for alternative options amid rising cloud cost concerns, this can become an attractive option for enterprises and finally help HPE expand its edge-to-core strategy
  • Embedded security: Juniper’s security portfolio complements HPE’s existing offerings, providing a more comprehensive and integrated approach to securing hybrid environments. This can mitigate risks and ensure data protection across the hybrid ecosystem
  • Alternative network fabric options to Cisco: Despite being a long-time enterprise networking giant, Cisco’s innovation hasn’t scaled significantly to meet distributed computing model demands. With the combined scale of HPE and Juniper, enterprises finally will have meaningful alternatives for end-to-end networking requirements and, even better, an AI-enabled option through Juniper’s Mist capabilities
  • Consolidated automation capabilities: Juniper’s AI and automation capabilities through its Mist capabilities have been disrupting the data center and wireless markets. After HPE integrates these capabilities into its entire server, storage, cloud, and campus portfolios, enterprises stand to benefit from a more consolidated automation potential across the complete hybrid IT infrastructure stack

Challenges and considerations

While the potential benefits of the union are significant, there are also challenges to consider. Both companies have sizeable portfolios that overlap, especially in the networking segment. The strategy for prioritizing the network products between Juniper and HPE Aruba is unclear. Allocating the networking portfolio to Rami seems like a smart move, but how the internal sales and product will adapt to a combined market offering remains to be seen. Only time will tell if Antonio and Rami can make this merger work.

The road ahead: what the acquisition means

Competitors: With the consolidation, Cisco, Arista, and Extreme will have opportunities to target the existing Juniper and HPE accounts until the integration is fully operationalized. In the long term, price wars and another scaled competitor in the networking space could emerge. With the distributed world rising, competitors will need to enhance their offerings to provide an end-to-end intelligent, distributed, hybrid, and secure connectivity fabric.

Enterprises: Existing HPE and Juniper customers will benefit from the complementary portfolio. HPE clients can take advantage of the enhanced automation capabilities enabled by Mist offerings. For prospective clients, it also provides enterprises with increased bargaining power, having another significant provider in the market with comparable offerings.

Telecom service providers: If HPE continues to focus on its enterprise strategy, existing telecom customers of Juniper might lose out on possible innovations and receive less attention.

Channel partners: System integrators, resellers, and managed services providers may need to reexamine their strategies in light of the combined entity and prepare for contingencies if support is reduced.

Despite these challenges, the HPE-Juniper acquisition will significantly impact the market. If poorly executed, it might end up being a consolidation exercise. However, if well executed, it has the potential to ignite an often overlooked but mammoth market segment.

To discuss further, contact [email protected] and [email protected].

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