Juniper brings optics in house with BTI acquisition

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Juniper Networks, a developer of routing, switching and security systems, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire BTI Systems.

Juniper is not disclosing the terms of the agreement because they “are not considered to be material to our financials”, the company wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.

Founded in 2000, BTI Systems began life as a developer of metro optical systems, but has evolved with the market to offer packet-optical equipment and software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities.

The acquisition accelerates Juniper’s ability to address the fast-growing data centre interconnect (DCI) and metro Ethernet markets, where BTI has built up considerable momentum, claiming more than 380 customers on its website.

“The combination of BTI Systems’ accomplished team, innovative and open solutions with Juniper’s longstanding switching and IP routing expertise positions the company well to take advantage of the fast growing DCI and metro market,” wrote Juniper executive vice-president Jonathan Davidson.

He added: “We expect the acquisition will allow Juniper to accelerate the delivery of open and automated packet-optical transport solutions that integrate with our NorthStar Controller and include network management features that enable end-to-end provisioning of new services.”

Ron Kline, principal analyst intelligent networks at Ovum, thinks the acquisition is a good move for Juniper. The acquisition bolsters Juniper’s ability to compete directly with rivals Arista and Cisco.

Optics has become increasingly important to switching and routing vendors like Juniper, he points out. In recent years, switch/router vendors have integrated optical transponders on their equipment while optical vendors have added IP/MPLS features to optical equipment. The emergence of SDN as a means to control both the switching/routing and optical layers brings the two worlds even closer together.

Optical transport for DCI has also become an important and hotly contested market, which is closely related Juniper’s existing business activities. BTI Systems was one of the first to recognise and take advantage of this new category of equipment and is now the market leader, according to Ovum.

Juniper has never been directly involved in the optical transport market, choosing instead to develop partnerships that bring optical capabilities to its product line. It is not clear what impact the acquisition will have on Juniper’s existing partnerships with optical systems vendors ADVA Optical Networking and Coriant, but Kline foresees that Juniper will move away from partnerships and instead rely on internally developed technology.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of the year.

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