Juniper Networks is in a period of transition, as its service provider and cloud customers delay purchases and as Juniper itself readies a new set of products.
Juniper ended 2018 with a fourth quarter revenue decline of five percent year-over-year. The full year was even worse, with a year-over-year revenue decline of eight percent. CEO Rami Rahim said he's disappointed by his firm's performance at the end of 2018, but he's still optimistic about Juniper's potential for 2019.
"While we are disappointed by our Q4 sales, we are seeing success in several areas of our business that we expect to continue through the upcoming year and should help drive the business back to year-over-year growth at some point during the second half of 2019," Rahim said during Juniper's fourth quarter 2018 earnings call. "We are particularly encouraged by the momentum."
Momentum is occurring in several area of Juniper's business, including its enterprise networking unit. Juniper's enterprise business grew 14 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, driven by strength across a broad set of products and geographies.
In particular, the Contrail Enterprise Multicloud product, first announced in December 2018, is seen by Rahim as a big winner. Contrail Enterprise Multicloud integrates the Contrail Software Defined Networking (SDN) controller platform with application security as well as AppFormix Analytics and Automation to help enable multicloud application deployment.
Juniper's security business is also growing strongly, with 18 percent year-over-year revenue growth in the fourth quarter. Demand for Juniper's high-end firewall line card was highlighted as a driver of growth by Rahim, especially in larger deals.
While the cloud has been a key source of business for Juniper in recent years, 2018 was a challenge as several large hyperscale customers decided to run their networks hotter instead of making additional purchases for more networking ports.
"The pace of this port growth in the portion of our cloud customer's network where we have historically played is slower than we expected," he said.
New Products Coming
Over the course of 2019, Juniper is set to introduce several new products that Rahim believes will strengthen his company's competitive position across the service provider, cloud and enterprise market.
"By the end of this year, we expect that nearly all of our product lines will have undergone a major refresh that should enhance our position relative to key competitors," Rahim said.
The new products include:
- An advanced MX line card that will help with 5G carrier initiatives.
- A new 400 Gigabit platform for the cloud.
- Enhancements to the Contrail Enterprise Multicloud platform
- New silicon photonics capabilities
"We believe the 400 gig upgrade cycle, 5G deployment and enterprise multicloud initiatives each represents large opportunities where we are well-positioned to benefit over the next several years," Rahim said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.