Juniper CEO Johnson talks software, the company's recent challenges and key future directions

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Juniper Networks had a challenging 2012 as new product cycles were slow to take hold and global economic conditions took a toll on sales. The company also undertook a restructuring that saw 500 positions cut and the departure of four executive vice presidents. As the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company looks to re-energize its business, particularly with an eye towards enterprises and data centers, CEO Kevin Johnson shared his lessons learned in leading Juniper since 2008, as well as what's ahead for the company in a discussion with IDG Enterprise Chief Content Officer John Gallant and Network World Managing Editor Jim Duffy. In this installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, Johnson also shared his thoughts on the hot topic of software-defined networks (SDN), Juniper's role in enabling cloud and competing against the industry's 800-pound gorilla, Cisco.

Customers are moving toward highly virtualized data centers, cloud services, hybrid cloud. In this context, why is Juniper a better strategic partner than, say, HP, Cisco, Brocade or another networking company?

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