A global leader in networking products is betting big on Cal Poly Pomona with a major gift to the College of Business Administration.
Juniper Networks is not only a leader in the software-defined networking, it’s also going to help students at Cal Poly Pomona’s Mitchell C. Hill Center for Applied Business Technology stay on the cutting edge with a generous donation of hardware worth nearly $240,000.
“As we build this new cloud computing data center, we also want to incorporate software-defined networking so that we’re doing the same thing leading companies are doing,” says Ron Pike, a computer information systems professor. “Juniper was the first company — really a decade before the rest of the industry — to recognize the value and need so its products are the most mature.”
Allowing network administrators to allocate resources and reconfigure networks in real-time depending on demand is what makes software-defined networking such a breakthrough. Pike says that Juniper is not only on the forefront of software-defined networking, it’s is the second-largest company building networking products.
The addition of Juniper switches and routers helps expand the equipment portfolio at the Mitchell C. Hill Center for Applied Business Technology to include the industry’s top two companies, the other being Cisco. The chance to gain hands-on experience on multiple platforms will help better prepare students for their careers, says Nicholas Xenos, Juniper Networks’ academic alliance manager.
“Students can come out with a great degree, they can have great potential and strive to be very successful,” says Xenos. “To be able to add ‘I can also get in here and work with your team to solve problems today’ really changes the kind of conversation you have with a potential employer.”
Juniper and Cal Poly Pomona began their relationship at a National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition when students hunting for a competitive advantage approached Xenos for equipment support.
Help with gear turned into a full collaboration in which course curriculum covering Juniper Networks was adopted. Students are learning the intricacies of the same hardware the New York Stock Exchange uses to execute millions of trades every day.
“We wanted to increase the ability to have our students configuring hardware more often,” Pike says. “To put this adaptive networking equipment into our data center makes it just like the big boy data centers. Everyone is moving in this direction – it’s just Juniper is in the lead.”
The Mitchell C. Hill Center for Applied Business Technology was established with a $500,000 gift by Avanade. Hill, the founding CEO of Avanade, graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in computer information systems.