Juniper dumps DX application-acceleration gear

DX hardware, software and licenses discontinued

Juniper Networks is discontinuing its DX line of application acceleration boxes that load balance, offload processing from Web servers and guard against denial-of-service attacks.

The company has not announced details of when or how it will shut down the product line or wind down support for it. Juniper indicates it may be terminating the DX because it regards it as insufficiently distinguishable from competitors' devices.

"Our ability to deliver sustained differentiation is the nexus of the opportunity in front of us. We remain fully committed to capitalizing on this opportunity. To this end, Juniper has made the formal decision to end-of-life the DX hardware, software and licenses," Juniper responded when asked about rumors concerning the discontinuation.

The gear competes against products made by Array Networks, Citrix, Crescendo, F5, Foundry and others.

Layoffs associated with the end of the DX were also rumored, and Juniper didn't respond directly to whether that was true. "Every effort is being made to identify new roles for all employees affected by this decision," Juniper's statement says.

News of dropping the DX came as a surprise to one customer that uses the gear. "That thing works," says David O'Berry, director of IT at the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.

He says in addition to load balancing and protecting against DoS attacks, DX's TCP streamlining improves the performance of his T-1 lines. When he took the device offline for troubleshooting, the packet loss jumped to 30%, he says.

"The only way this makes sense is they're taking the DX software and somehow integrating it into the WX," O'Berry says, referring to Juniper's WAN acceleration gear. WX appliances sit at both ends of corporate WAN links and through a variety of compression and optimization techniques squeeze more data across the connections.

Juniper bought the DX technology from Redline Networks in 2005 for US$132 million. O'Berry says from a customer point of view, the gear never seemed integrated fully with Juniper's other products. "It still seemed like it was Redline," he says. "You talked about Redline if you talked about the DX."

He says that as a big user of Juniper gear, he isn't worried about whether the end-of-life will disrupt his network. "I have confidence they will make it right," he says.

This is the complete text of Juniper's response to questions about whether it is discontinuing its DX line and whether there are associated layoffs:

"The strength of Juniper is based on the competitive advantage that we bring to the market coupled with the increasing criticality of high-performance networking to our customers' business success. Our ability to deliver sustained differentiation is the nexus of the opportunity in front of us. We remain fully committed to capitalizing on this opportunity. To this end, Juniper has made the formal decision to end-of-life the DX hardware, software and licenses. We will work diligently to continue to support existing customer installations of the DX and successfully transition customers to other application acceleration offerings within our high-performance network infrastructure offerings in the future. At Juniper our cornerstone principle of putting employees first and investing in their success continues to correlate directly to the success of our company. Every effort is being made to identify new roles for all employees affected by this decision. In a business environment of constant change, we maintain a relentless commitment to execution and serving the high-performance networking requirements of our customers."

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