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CTO Thoughts on HP=Aruba Acquisition

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CTO Thoughts on the HP-Aruba Acquisition:

This morning HP silenced the rumors and announced its acquisition of wireless provider Aruba Networks for $2.7 Billion.  

That’s a hefty price tag and potentially a big change in the industry.  Certainly one that has everybody talking this morning.

 I’ve been following Aruba’s shopping out for a while, and I have some thoughts about how this may play out.

 

 HP and Aruba have been in a 'coopetition’ like relationship for a long time. HP already partners with Aruba on wireless LAN management and that has been in place for over 10 years. 

However, HP has a track record of acquiring enterprise companies and not realizing their potential. 3Par, 3Com, EDS, Autonomy are a few examples. Aruba’s revenues last quarter by themselves are already half of all of HP Networking. Additionally, HP is about to break its company in two; this 2.7 Billion dollar acquisition will certainly complicate that story. 

 

Aruba by itself, has a great set of products. Having used ClearPASS (Aruba’s wireless management tool) myself along with Aruba VPN/Access Switch products; I can attest to the quality of the gear personally. 

 

However; my experience here is that what may happen, what I fear will happen, is that HP will begin to force pushing its switching and routing platform out with this product, making Aruba potentially less than it was by itself. No knock on HP’s ProCurve platform, we have many clients who use it successfully; but many IT organizations use Aruba today, but have sworn off working with HP with their switching and routing platform; and that is where I see the biggest risk. OEM deals like Aruba currently has with Dell will disappear for certain. I hope that Aruba’s acquisition doesn’t stymy the great research and development work Aruba has done to build up their WLAN market share and value to clients.

 

I say this with one particular caveat; ClearPASS is the finest wireless management tool I’ve ever worked with. That, by itself is worth a lot. Meraki/Cisco and Ruckus I know have taken notice; I hope their response is to make their management platforms to at least the same or better level as Aruba has.

 

My 1.5 cents. I’d enjoy other thoughts here in the comments.

 

David Carter
CTO, Advanced Logic Industries

 

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