Certifications / Cisco

Cisco vs Juniper: Market Share in 2024

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Updated on December 20, 2021

If your organization is choosing a networking infrastructure, there is a good chance the solution comes down to Cisco or Juniper. Both vendors offer a wide range of versatile solutions to meet any organization's needs. However, it may not be clear which is the right fit for you.

One thing to consider when evaluating solutions is market share. In this post, we will discuss the market shares of Cisco and Juniper — and how that information should factor into a final decision.

Cisco Market Share

In the world of routers, switches, and networking, Cisco is the current king of the market. According to Dell'Oro Group, they currently hold a sizable 46% of the market share. Cisco offers a very wide range of products — not just switches and routers — including several different telephony products such as the Cisco Unified IP Phones.

Due to Cisco's high market share, its certifications are in high demand. For instance, a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification can command $61,000 to $100,000 a year — and that is just the entry-level certification. The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), for example, can earn a person a salary in the upper 100,000s. Bear in mind, though, it's an incredibly difficult exam.

There is a reason why these certifications pay so well and are in high demand— it's because Cisco holds such a wide market share. In general, the worth of a certificate is directly proportional to its market share. The higher the market share, the more qualified professionals will be needed to help companies leverage those technologies.

It is important to note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cisco's WebEx software has become a pivotal player in their market share acquisition initiatives. The necessity for virtual communication has assisted Cisco in its goal of becoming a subscription-based software-as-service company, ultimately veering away from networking hardware — their current bread and butter. Cisco's market share in SaaS-based technology is not as large as its hardware stack, but its trajectory is looking good.

Juniper Market Share

While Juniper may not have the size or brand recognition of Cisco, it is still a competitive brand used all over the globe. According to the report referenced previously, Juniper holds a respectable 4% of the WiFi market.

Like Cisco, Juniper has many diverse sectors for driving growth. Juniper specializes in providing streamlined operations and equipment to end users. Additionally, their investment in AI and cloud computing should keep them a competitive organization.

To touch specifically on AI, Juniper is expanding upon its SD-WAN technology. The SD-WAN uses AI to efficiently route traffic through a cloud in the most dynamic fashion possible. The SD-WAN's ability to route intelligently and its simple overall total cost of ownership make it particularly attractive to large and small businesses alike. After all, the easier something is to set up and use, the fewer employees are needed to maintain the application.

In addition to diversifying its marketing strategies, Juniper possesses a wide range of contracts that will ensure a steady stream of revenue. In the long run, while Juniper may contain "only" 4% of the market share, it is important to remember that it is still a huge swath of customers.

On the 9th of January 2024, HPE announced its acquisition of Juniper for $14 billion. This strategic move not only reinforces Juniper's position in the market but also promises to expand its reach and capabilities. Juniper, recognized for its AI-powered MIST WLAN solutions and innovative AI in networking, complements HPE's diverse portfolio. This acquisition signifies a merger of Juniper's advanced AI networking technology with HPE's extensive market presence, potentially enhancing Juniper's offerings in WLAN, data center switching, campus switching, and network security.

Why Does Market Share Matter?

An IT networking solution is the backbone of any organization. With that in mind, it is important to pick a solution that is healthy and sustainable. The worst-case scenario is that you purchase an IT solution only to find out that the vendor isn't that strong — and you're left flapping in the wind. Luckily, this will almost certainly not happen to Juniper or Cisco.

Market Share Analysis and Due Diligence

Arguably the paramount reason that market share matters is that it informs you on the general direction of the company. If the market share is expanding every year, that's great. But if it is decreasing every year, that could be an issue worth digging into. And just as important is whether or not their market share is diverse.

For instance, if Cisco dealt only with hardware, their quarterly reports would be far more volatile. Any shift in the router market would directly affect their bottom line. A company with a diverse market share is far more resilient to global market upsets. While market share analysis may be the main reason market share matters, there are more nuanced reasons why it may be worth analyzing.

As mentioned previously, HPE recently bought Juniper for $14 billion, which is a significant move in the tech world. It's not just about increasing Juniper's market share; it's also about making the company stronger and more varied in the competitive networking field. This major change highlights how fast the market evolves and shows how important it is for IT companies to keep adapting and innovating to stay relevant and grow.

Large Market Share = Large Ecosystem

One of the best reasons for choosing a company with a large and diverse market share is that you can take advantage of its entire ecosystem. For example, one of the things folks like about Apple is that all of their devices work together. AirPods work with iPhones and Mac Minis work with GarageBand and Final Cut. All of which can be stored seamlessly on iCloud. This is advantageous because it removes any adaptation barriers presented when working with disparate technologies.

This concept of an ecosystem works perfectly when analyzing market share. A large market share implies their technology can be used in a scalable and cohesive manner. Let's take a look at a Cisco example.

Cisco supports both routers and telephony products. Due to their market share extending to both business sectors, it is safe to say that Cisco can be used for both your organization's telephony needs and IT needs. Likewise, Juniper's expansive market share implies multi-pronged solutions that will fit your business needs.

Bigger Market Share, Better Resources

Ask any IT professional, and they can probably tell when they worked with a piece of technology that no one has heard of. This can be an issue because when the time comes to inevitably troubleshoot something, there will be very few resources online. Additionally, it could result in the lack of a supportive community that can provide updates and solutions to common issues.

One of the great things about Cisco is the amount of professionals who are willing to help. This is largely in part because Cisco’s market share makes it the de facto IT networking solution. That makes it way easier to find Cisco on employee's resumes than Juniper.

Juniper, on the other hand, does not have as many resources to assist in troubleshooting and setting devices, which now might change with the recent acquisition. Also, the pool of Juniper pros is way smaller to choose from because their market share is far smaller. This can present a serious challenge to employers trying to find professionals to work on the IT team.

So remember, always consider community support and resources when investing in a solution. If the market share is small, it is all but guaranteed, its community will be too.

Final Thoughts

We discussed both Juniper's and Cisco's market shares. Juniper is expanding aggressively into cloud-based solutions. While their market share in hardware is eclipsed by Cisco, they still have enough resources to punch above its weight class, especially now that they were acquired by HPE.

Cisco has expanded into a wide swath of services. They are looking to expand their Software as a Service initiative as a response to the world working more and more remotely.

Lastly, we discussed why market share matters. It can provide clues to the health of the company, the ease of working with their product, and lastly the size of its troubleshooting community and pool of professionals.


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