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Partners, Distributors Deliver Verdict on HPE’s Acquisition of Juniper

What does HPE’s acquisition of Juniper Networks mean for the channel? Partners and distributors weigh in.

Christine Horton

January 19, 2024

3 Min Read
HPE Juniper verdict from partners, distributors

Following news of HPE’s planned acquisition of Juniper Networks, reactions from channel partners and distributors are in. We polled a handful from EMEA to get their verdicts. Some weren’t surprised by the acquisition, while others were optimistic about its potential. But all said they would keep a close eye on the acquisition moving forward.

Persistent Rumors

Russell Crampin, managing director at Juniper Elite Partner Axians UK, said it was no surprise that Juniper was snapped up.

Axians' Russell Crampin

“There have been persistent rumors over the years regarding Juniper’s potential acquisition,” possibly by likes of Nokia, he said. “The recent news doesn’t come as a surprise to us; it seems like the right time for such a move."

Crampin said significant growth in the AI-driven enterprise market, coupled with the ongoing demand from large cloud and service providers for networking scalability and performance, indicates it’s an opportune moment for Juniper to sell.

“Their AI strategy was well-established even before the recent surge in market awareness, primarily due to OpenAI’s publicity. Capitalizing on this momentum makes strategic sense,” he said. “Additionally, recent personnel streamlining and pricing adjustments by Juniper suggest a focus on maximizing their sell price.

“From a technological standpoint, this would result in a combined end to end portfolio covering everything from server and data centre to networking to security," he added. "[It] would allow HPE to offer a one-stop shop for IT and communications technologies, as well as the close integrations that a single vendor can bring. Juniper’s networking expertise is a notable strength.”

Crampin said it was “reassuring” to hear that Juniper CEO Rami Rahim will continue to oversee the joint networking business.

“Both vendors have a number of class-leading technologies, so we anticipate his first task will be to assess any overlap with Aruba, considering their recent acquisition of Silver Peak — something we’ll be monitoring closely.”

Strengthens Go-to-Market Portfolio

Irish partner Auxilion was named HPE Rising Star of the Year 2023 for Ireland and the U.K. at HPE’s 2023 Partner Awards. CEO Philip Maguire said the company is excited about the acquisition. He described it as “a powerful step forward in not only getting ahead of the curve but actually defining the curve as it relates to networking and the evolving AI landscape.

“It bolsters their own networking capabilities and by extension allows its channel partners to strengthen our competitiveness for larger-scale deals and extends our AI portfolio and overall customer proposition.”

Maguire said all acquisitions come with “inherent risk and can create confusion or uncertainty in the market.” But he sees this “as a positive move by HPE that amplifies and strengthens the go-to-market portfolio for its partner community.”

Juniper Mist to Compete With Aruba?

Westcoast is U.K.’s only distribution partner that sells both Juniper and HPE Aruba. Executive director Alex Tatham said the firm “can clearly see the benefits and pitfalls ahead.”

Westcoast's Alex Tatham

“Juniper will bring their enterprise capability and their strong service provider customer base, but the excellent Mist will compete more closely with Aruba product. Nevertheless, I think HPE will bring channel benefits and discipline to the combined organisation and create more opportunity for a wider number of channel partners.

Tatham said Westcoast’s strong relationship with both vendors – and not with Cisco – means it is “ideally positioned to steer the channel … through the merger and the exciting opportunities this merger will bring.”

'Partnership as Strong As Ever'

Similarly, Rene Klein, executive vice president, Westcon Europe at Westcon-Comstor, said he is confident that the distributor's relationship with Juniper will “go from strength to strength.”

“Juniper works with Westcon because of our expertise in networking and cybersecurity, our strong channel of integrators and service providers, and our unique ability to support deployments in markets around the world," he said. Following Juniper’s acquisition by HPE, we feel that our partnership is as strong as ever.”

Klein added that Westcon maintains strong global relationships with HPE acquisitions Aruba and Silver Peak.

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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