Juniper Ethernet Switches Review

Flexible admin features and has good firewall filters

What is our primary use case?

We use the layer three switches. We use it for routing, separating the VLANs, and for inter-VLAN routing. Also, we use the product's firewall filters.  

How has it helped my organization?

It gives us another, better option for clients in switching technology.  

What is most valuable?

In general, and when I am talking about the Juniper SRX switches that have the Junos operating systems, I find that the admin features are very flexible. For example, the rollbacks or commit confirmed work very well. Fifty configurations can be saved and restored easily. These things are very good for us because it helps us to troubleshoot or to maintain the system. When we have remote access to a device, we can be sure that a process does not get disconnected.  

When you want to change a lot of parameters in a configuration, you make your changes and then you can initiate a commit and all the changes will be saved and will be enforced when the device is activated. These features are available in the Juniper switches with the Junos OS. They are very wonderful and powerful capabilities that are unique to the Juniper switching solution. For example, Cisco or FortiGate do not have similar features or they are not very good with these capabilities.  

What needs improvement?

To make the product better, I think that the company needs to do more testing before releasing versions of the operating system. In many versions, there are bugs in the Junos OS. For example, with some versions of the Junos OS, a specific function or some functions do not work correctly and you have to then change to another version to get the functionality back or make the product stable. Some versions of the Junos OS can create problems in integrations with Citrix and of course in other platforms because the OS has some bugs that cause instability. When you are using or when you find a stable OS, everything works okay. But I have had many experiences with some versions of Junos OS that have bugs and I am forced to migrate to another version of the OS either as an upgrade or even a downgrade. It will work in the end, but it should not be necessary to discover if an OS version is good or not.  

Something that I might like to see added to Juniper switches is the opportunity to use some NAT (Network Address Translation) features with it. I am not sure if it is possible or not. But having some NAT features would be nice and offer some other kinds of flexibility.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Juniper Ethernet Switches for a little less than two years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think for the most part it is a really a very stable product. When I use a stable Junos OS the stability is okay. Some of the OS versions are not so good because they have some bugs, and this can cause some issues with stability. But these are only temporary issues that are resolved by choosing which OS version to use and which to avoid. We have some devices on Juniper that have been running for more than one or even two years without any downtime. We have not had stability issues and we have not had to restart. It really demonstrates stability when you have examples where we have uptime of more than two years without any problems.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think Juniper is scalable in some ways. Really as far as this capability, I would say it is good, but that scalability is in the middle in the category of switches.  

The number of users who are using this solution is harder to estimate for our clients than it is within our own company. If we are talking about Juniper Ethernet, one client project that we have has between 200 or 250 people. Nearly 40% of the users are going to be systems engineers.  

There are a variety of user and organizational types. Some of the users are office workers and some of them are engineers. Some of them work in financial jobs and some of them are more on the business end. There are a variety of people using the products.  

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not personally really had a reason to contact Juniper's technical support directly. There has been no need because most of the time — it is really 95% of the time — I can say our problems are easily solved by the knowledgebases or forums or by just changing the Junos OS.  

In our company, someone had to contact support because we had some problems with some of the licenses. In that case, we did get support to help us to fix the problem. It was not really a problem with the product, it was about the license only. I do not know about the technical support services directly but I do know the issue was resolved.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

In our location, there are not so many companies using Juniper Switches. The use of this brand is somewhat limited here because Juniper is not so popular and is unfortunately not as well-known as other product brands. Cisco switches are much more popular and I have used Cisco switches a lot — more than any other brand — for our clients. I also have experience with Tricom Switches and also with Extreme Networks switches and some experience with Fortinet solutions. We could use any of these depending on the client and the situation. As far as switching from one product to another, that is not exactly what we do. Because we are a reseller we have to have various solutions available, so we keep them all as opportunities for our clients as long as we have tested them and they are good solutions.  

When it came to Juniper, while we had other options, we were really interested in checking out the product and examining how the Juniper switches worked in comparison to the other more popular brands. Because our tests and experience with the product confirmed that it was a good option, we have tried to convince our customers to buy the Juniper solution because it is a good solution and works well even if it was not so popular. We somehow have convinced a few clients to agree to buy the Juniper Switches to this point. But even though we are promoting Juniper, most of the time our clients are gravitating to what they are familiar with and that means purchasing Cisco because they think that the Cisco solution is better just because of the name.  

Another reason that the clients would think the Cisco products were better for them is not only because they do not know the Juniper brand name. One of the other main reasons is that a technical people who have experience in working with Juniper devices are much more scarce than technical people who know how to configure Cisco switches. The product and the name might not be the problem but finding technicians who could work with the solution is the problem instead.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex. It is usually easy. It depends. If you understand the concepts of working with the product — if you already have some experience with it — it is easy to work with it. But if you do not have the experience and do not get the concept, it might seem to be unfriendly. If you can work with it a little and get the concept of how it works and how you should configure it, then it becomes a really friendly format.  

I think it took about one week to configure and deploy the switches. Of course, sometimes we were not working just on that for a whole day, so the number of hours working just on that deployment is something I can not say exactly. But in about one week the deployment was complete. It could have been done faster if it were the only thing that we were concentrating on.  

What about the implementation team?

Most of the time, I do the deployments by myself. But when I have some problems, we have a team that can help out. I might ask them, or I might use the knowledgebases on the internet or search on Google to find solutions. Most of the time there are good, long articles on Juniper's site or in one of the forums that can help me to resolve any issues. There is a lot of knowledge that is readily available. Juniper takes care to publish many good articles. 95% of the time, it is not really hard to solve a problem. If I just go and do a little searching, I can find the information I need to resolve any problem.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The exact licensing is not something I know about, but I do know that Juniper is a less expensive solution when compared to the competition.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Because of some limitations as in regulations or client business requirements, we can not always work with cloud solutions or solutions that run on VMs. There are some solutions I might like to consider, but for the most part, our market will not accept certain solutions. Often we have to work with on-premises hardware and that makes a difference in availability.  

We are continuing to evaluate other solutions in order to be able to meet our clients' needs. The regulations and perception of products may change over time. We use Juniper in our company because we think it is the better solution and we do not have restrictions.  

What other advice do I have?

My advice to people who are considering using Juniper switches is to try them out because the Juniper brand is very good. I myself really like the Juniper devices because, in comparison to other products in this category, they are a very good value and are worth much more than the cost. These switches are much more stable and you have better performance than the other guys, so long as you are aware of the potential issues with the OS. I think I can say this in one sentence: you can have better performance at a lower price if you choose Juniper.  

The biggest lesson I have learned from using Juniper Ethernet switches — besides the fact that the most popular name is not always the best product or the best solution — is that using the commit confirmed feature instead of just committing is very valuable. It can help you to be sure your commit is successful. If it is not for whatever reason, the product deals with the issue. After a certain amount of time, the product can roll back automatically if something did not commit successfully. Not all products have anything like this feature.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Juniper Ethernet Switches as a nine overall. It is a nine and not a ten because there should always be room for product improvement.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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