Microsoft’s Muglia Heads To Juniper

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Former Microsoft executive Bob Muglia will work with Juniper to compete with Cisco and HP in networking

Juniper Networks is hiring former long-time Microsoft executive Bob Muglia to head up its newly formed software division, an indication of the importance Juniper and other networking vendors place on the role of software in the market.

Juniper on 25 July announced the decision to make Muglia executive vice president of its Software Solutions Division, where the company will centralise its varied and growing software offerings. Muglia will oversee Juniper’s overall software strategy, according to chief executive Kevin Johnson.

Networking in the data centre

“We are excited to have a leader of Bob’s caliber coming on board to lead Juniper’s software initiatives, and I’m confident that his vision, management savvy and technical expertise will bring tremendous value to our organisation,” Johnson said in a statement. “As we continue to execute on our growth strategy centred on systems and software, we look forward to Bob playing a central role in extending our leadership position in network-powered software solutions.”

With networking playing an increasingly important role in the data centre, thanks to the growth of such technologies as virtualisation and the rise of cloud computing, the need for software that helps manage, configure and run the network. All the major networking vendors are growing their network software offerings, though Juniper officials see their portfolio – and the combination of that software with their hardware – as a key differentiator in its competition with the likes of Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard.

Central to that portfolio is the Junos Networking operating system, which is the software platform that is common to all of Juniper’s hardware, from routers and switches to security devices. Juniper also offers a Junos SDK (software development kit), which enables its own developers and third-party programmers the chance to develop applications that leverage the network operating system.

The vendor also offers a host of other software products, including the SRX Series and vGW Series security products, MobileNext core for mobile operators, the Junos Pulse mobile security suite for managing mobile devices, and the Junos Space platform for developing and deploying network applications.

Juniper executives said they hope to grow and enhance the software portfolio with Muglia at the helm. He brings with him more than 23 years at Microsoft, where most recently he was president of Microsoft’s $15 billion (£9bn) Server and Tools Business, a unit whose revenues grew 50 percent under his direction. The business group encompasses infrastructure software, developer tools and cloud computing platforms, including products such as Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, System Centre and the Windows Azure Platform.

Executive exodus

In January, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer announced that Muglia would be leaving the software giant this summer, part of a larger exodus of high-ranking executives from Microsoft that started last year and spilled over into 2011. A month later, Microsoft tapped Satya Nadella, who had overseen the company’s Bing search engine business, to take Muglia’s place as head of the server and tools business.

In announcing Muglia’s departure, Ballmer praised his performance but said that new leadership was needed.

“While Windows and Office are household words, our Server and Tools Business has quietly and steadily grown to be the unquestioned leader in server computing,” Ballmer wrote in a 10 January email fo employees. “We are now ready to build on our success and move forward into the era of cloud computing.”

For his part, Muglia sounded excited about the move to Juniper.

“I have long respected Juniper for its disruptive approach to solving the toughest networking problems and for its networking vision that is simple, open and programmable,” he said in a statement. “I am thrilled to be joining Kevin and his team and look forward to contributing to the company’s continued success and momentum in the marketplace.”

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