Juniper SRX Review

Lowered our operating costs by 25% over three years, mostly recovered from maintenance/support costs


What is our primary use case?

During our last network refresh, we did a wholesale forklift upgrade from Cisco to an entire Juniper network infrastructure, including Juniper SRX router/firewall/IDP, EX Series switches, and QFX Series core switches. The entire process took over two years to complete, but once it was completed, we were extremely happy with the Juniper equipment in terms of costs, performance, maintenance, and the ability to function as we needed.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Once our engineers got their heads wrapped around the nuances of Juniper's CLI (took them about six months) with training (mostly free) and were able to get settled into Junos OS, we never looked back.
  • SRX firewalls/IDP functions require similar technical knowledge level as Cisco ASA and are function on par with them. I recommend investing in Juniper Space if you have a significant amount of Juniper equipment to manage. We have three of the larger SRX550s, with one cluster configuration, for edge security devices (firewall/IDPs). We are very happy with them. 
  • Not specifically in SRX category, but the 40Gb/10Gb interfaces in the QFX gear are truly wired for speed on all available ports. The virtual EX switch chassis configuration, where up to 10 switching devices can be managed as a single network device, is a solid configuration for us. We use it in three locations and have zero issues with it.

What is most valuable?

  • I am really hesitate to repeat the Juniper sales line of "One Juniper", simply because within different devices, there are differences in the CLI commands used. This has been due to functional and hardware differences. For the vast majority of the Juniper CLI commands, if you learn them for the SRX, they are the same for the EX and QFX series switches. There is little to no differences between the Junos OS versions
  • The "candidate configuration" and rollback features are real life savers. They are different from what Cisco does. At a Cisco CLI, when you hit enter, the command is live. Using a Juniper CLI, you configure a "candidate configuration", then "commit" it to bring it live. If you do not like it or messed up something, you just "rollback" to the previous configuration. It can all be done in a matter of minutes. This is super handy once you get use to it.
  • Juniper has the "recovery safety feature", so if you perform a "commit confirmed" and the new configuration disconnects you. then there is no "confirmed" command with X mins (default = 10 mins). It automatically reverts (recovers) to the previous configuration. This is handy for when you do not want to make that trip down range just to reboot a router.

What needs improvement?

Third-party support for Juniper is a lot less than Cisco. This is no surprise, but a definite consideration if you are expecting to use a lot of third party support. In my guesstimate, for every 100 Cisco shops, you will find one Juniper shop.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

How is customer service and technical support?

JTAC (Juniper Networks Technical Assistance Center) is just okay for technical assistance.  However, if you are used to Cisco TAC responsiveness, you will need to adjust your expectations with Juniper Networks TAC.

I could normally fix my issue with Cisco on the first or second call, speaking with the first Cisco TAC engineer (Tier 1) that I spoke with. Juniper Networks TAC is just as good, but in my experience, it takes about two to three times longer to get the same results. It is not unusual to require escalation before the issue is resolved. Juniper simply does not have the depth and number of Juniper experts as Cisco. 

What was our ROI?

We were able to lower our overall operating costs over a three year period by 25%, mostly recovered from maintenance/support costs.

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