Breaking News: Juniper to Acquire SDN Startup Contrail

SDN, OpenFlow Connectivity

Juniper Acquiring Contrail and Re-Acquiring Kireeti Kompella

Summary: The deal gives Juniper a much-needed SDN boost and fixes the vendor on a strategy that emphasizes Layer 3 rather than OpenFlow.

A day after Kireeti Kompella guest blogged on SDNCentral — which set a record as the most-viewed guest blog on SDNCentral in a 24 hour period — his former employer, Juniper Networks announced plans to acquire his SDN startup, Contrail Systems for $176M in stock and cash.

According to the SEC filing, Contrail will receive $57.5 million in cash plus 5,819,148 share in Juniper stock.

This deal was not a surprise to us — and a smart move by Juniper.  We’ve heard multiple rumors since Contrail was funded that it was designed to be a Juniper spin-in from the beginning and given the vast number of former Juniper people at the company, this is no surprise.

For those who are not familiar with Contrail they are pitching a distributed network operating system with orchestration of common protocols such as BGP and XMPP.  It’s also a good bet that we’ll see MPLS included in this as well.

What does this mean:

  1. OpenFlow: expect less, not more OpenFlow support in Juniper products.  Contrail reinforces their strategy of focusing on layer 3 based technologies which if applied correctly — drive less of a need for a programable TCAM that OpenFlow is driving today.
  2. Juniper:  Restocks their software team with leading technologies who understand enterprises (just look at the former Cisco, Aruba, Google folks at Contrail and you’ll see what I mean) who can perhaps ‘do-over’ Juniper’s attempt to expand into the enterprise market.  This also gives Juniper a clear SDN strategy to position with customers.
  3. Essentially positions Juniper and the Contrail to compete with other SDN architectures — including Cisco, VMware, and OpenFlow.
Congrats to Ankur, Kireeti, and team!

Check out more about Juniper on SDNCentral: (our favorite is an Interview with Angkur Singla, Juniper Networks Executive)


    • Matthew Palmer says

      Hi Kireeti,

      Glad to see we can help promising startup with their exits!

      Based on the 1k pages view of your blog — a lot of people want to hear what’s on your mind. We’d welcome another blog from you anytime!

      Seriously — you guys deserve it.


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