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Juniper Networks to Buy Strategic Partner Mist Systems

With Mist, Juniper plugs a critical solution gap in its campus networking portfolio.

Lynn Haber

March 4, 2019

3 Min Read
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IT services and consulting firm NexusTek (No. 33 on the 2018 Channel Futures MSP 501) has completed three more acquisitions this year — Cal Net Technology Group, Syndeo Technologies and Decision Consultants (DCI). The purchases in Southern California, Arizona and New England, respectively, mark five for NexusTek this year and eight in four years, each of which "directly benefits customers by augmenting the company’s core competencies and ability to execute best practices." NexusTek is backed by Abry Partners, a private-equity firm with more than $77 billion of leveraged transactions under its belt.Shutterstock

Juniper Networks on Monday said it will buy Mist Systems, a technology partner and next-gen, AI-led vendor for cloud-managed wireless networks. It’s a deal worth $405 million.

Mist technology, built from the ground up and shipping for about two years, will enhance Juniper’s enterprise networking portfolio by combining its next-generation wireless LAN (WLAN) platform with Juniper’s wired LAN, SD-WAN and security solutions. With Mist under the Juniper umbrella, Juniper plugs a critical solution gap in its campus networking portfolio, where wireless capabilities are an increasingly important component of customer-access network decisions.

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Juniper Networks’ Rami Rahim

“Mist is not only a pioneer in the field of AI-driven wireless networking solutions but also a valued strategic partner of Juniper,” Rami Rahim, Juniper CEO, said on a conference call. “As partners, we now have several proof-point wins to build upon as we leverage Juniper’s global enterprise sales partners and support teams to accelerate Mist.”

Mist replaces last-generation wireless solutions like those from Cisco Meraki and HPE Aruba, Rami said, adding that the acquisition of Mist positions Juniper to be a leader in the $6 billion WLAN market. The software-defined enterprise is a key pillar in the vendor’s strategy.

“We believe the software-defined enterprise is the next evolution of the enterprise network in the cloud era,” he said.

Mist has built an AI-driven wireless platform, which makes Wi-Fi more predictable, reliable and measurable. The company also has developed the networking industry’s only AI-driven virtual assistant, Marvis, to simplify wireless troubleshooting and provide unprecedented insight into client and network behavior. In addition, Mist uses patented virtual Bluetooth LE technology in conjunction with Wi-Fi and IoT to deliver scalable and cost-effective, location-based wireless services to customers, such as indoor “wayfinding,” proximity notifications, traffic analytics and asset tracking. All operations are managed via Mist’s modern cloud microservices architecture for maximum scalability, agility and performance.

The acquisition will expand Juniper’s presence in the rapidly growing cloud-managed segment of the wireless networking market. Further, the deal enables Juniper to extend cloud-based management and end-to-end AI-driven visibility, which Mist calls “AI for IT,” across the end-to-end enterprise network, from access to the WAN, to offer a software-defined and highly differentiated solution for simplifying operations, improving user experience and lowering total cost of ownership.

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Mist Systems’ Sujai Hajela

“We are at a fundamental inflection point in IT; the old way of managing networks is dying out and rapidly being replaced by a modern service model where user experience is the new uptime and automated operations are required for cost savings, scalability, agility, and perhaps the most important, simplicity,” Sujai Hajela, CEO of Mist Systems, said on the conference call. “Several years ago, my cofounder … and I recognized this and founded Mist to lead the industry into this new era of IT.”

Last September, Mist and Juniper partnered to automate network operations with the integration of the Mist Learning WLAN with Juniper’s Contrail SD-WAN solutions, which was announced in April.

“With the proliferation of connected devices, users and applications across disparate places in the network, Juniper Networks is excited to partner with Mist to simplify the automated network operations across the LAN, wireless LAN and WAN,” Michael Bushong, vice president of enterprise and cloud marketing at Juniper Networks, said at the time.

More recently, in January, Juniper Networks and IBM Services signed a seven-year, $325 million deal, in which IBM will use its IBM services platform with Watson to help manage Juniper’s support systems including data centers, help desks and voice and data networks, all aimed to boost Juniper’s cloud-first strategy.

The proposed acquisition is expected to close by the end of June, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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