Friday, March 13, 2015

My Thoughts on the HP / Aruba Acquisition

Image Source: HP.com Press Release

I received a message on LinkedIn asking about my opinion of the HP / Aruba deal. After writing it out, I thought I'd share. Please let me know your thoughts and why you think 'em.

Here's the question that started it:


whats your take on the HP Aruba deal. Do you think this and the issues at Meru allow for a new manufacturer to take hold and /or emerge?

Here's an expanded version of my response:

Meru? I have yet to ever come across them in the marketplace, ever. I know they have some installs out there, but I have actually never seen one in the wild.  For a $100 million / year business, they are sneaky sneaky. The HP Aruba deal could be pretty big. Regardless of the buyout, Aruba's been doing some great things over there and are playing as competitive as ever. Just like everyone who's talking about it I honestly think this injection of "big money" into their company could be a good thing, as long as they (HP) don't mess with the product and operations. 


Let's Talk About Food

Image source: elpatomexicanfood.com
El Pato Mexican Food is a restaurant chain in South Texas. Labeled as "A Valley Tradition" it is not only well-known, but revered as a local brand that serves the community with food that embodies our culture and area. Being this close to the Mexico border, we have a unique blend of people, food, heritage, and loyalty. El Pato hits on all of those. It was started by "Mrs. G" in a small space where her recipes were used to hand craft everything from the spices in the Carne Guisada to the amazing tortillas.

Somewhere in the late 90's / early 2000's, the El Pato brand was purchased by a local group of "gringos". Although it sparked local controversy about the change in ownership, none of the recipes, ingredients, or methods changed. People will debate you to this day about how it "used to be", even though the core components have remained the same. Since the acquisition, El Pato has flourished in the area and have even been rumored to have mulled expansion plans throughout the state (although it never happened.)

When they sold out, there was a bunch of concern that their products and services would suffer. Instead, whoever acquired them knew that their recipes were a secret to success, so they left them alone and scaled them up instead of altering their process. 

If Aruba ends up like El Pato I think it'll put some hurt on the other vendors, and definitely affect the marketplace. 

And now you know where to eat when you come to South Texas! (Note: I should eat breakfast before blogging)

So, is there room for other vendors? 

Always. However, Ruckus is really strong right now, Cisco is Cisco (although honestly I have been fielding a bunch of Meraki rip-and-replaces lately), AirTight has great product that plays into their niche perfectly, Extreme is trying *so* hard, even Avaya is trying to make waves ... and then there's everyone else: Moto got acquired by a label company, and what's happening with Xirrus anyway??

Whoever it is would have to differentiate quite a bit and carve some of their own space out. Ubiquiti could take a stab at it, but would have to show off some Enterprise experience and deployments before Fortune 500s start taking them seriously IMHO.

Thanks for my new blog post Gary. Haha :)

-drew
   

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sensors and Beacons and APs, oh my!


Today at the 2015 Aruba Atmosphere conference in Las Vegas, one of the things that got the most attention from the online audience was the inclusion of a sensor product that is supposed to be out in the second half of 2015. Few things got the amount of ooh's and ahhh's, at least for those of us unfortunate enough to not be in the audience at the Cosmo.

From the first post showing off the screen shot, a grainy picture taken from a cell phone camera of the stage, I was immediately impressed. If you rewind your twitter feeds a few months, I mentioned a post about a product called Axon by Spirent. This repackaging of the Epitiro product from a wonderful group of people in the UK, has tried its way to break into the "see your network from the end users perspective" market. Along with 7 Signal, these products have been preaching the message of being a better way to monitor your wireless infrastructure.

Granted, I don't know any details about the product other than what has been published on line,
-it's by Aruba
-it screws into a wall-plate
-it monitors your network
-it feeds data to a central system
however I am just as excited as can be. I don't think it will be long before other vendors follow suit and gut a small AP to make it do the same thing. Once the central software and monitoring engine are produced, it shouldn't be long before this is a standard. Shouldn't being the operative word here.

That being said, Aruba gets the golf clap on this one. Again, not knowing anything about the product, my imagination is surely running wild. The unique features that make Epitiro awesome may belong to them, but there is always room from reimagining the way to define and measure a user experience.

With all of the other fantastic demos today at #ATM15, I was glued to my newsfeed on TweetDeck for a solid hour. What wonderful things Aruba is doing; from checking students in upon arrival, to routing you to your seats at games and gates at airports, the powerful inclusion of beacons was only trumped by the seamless way the management was integrated into the product family.

Image source: http://meridianapps.com/


The team at Meridian seemed to have melded well post-acquistion, and it looks like it was a great match. If you haven't looked at their app maker, check it out.


The irony with this blog post is that I was offered an opportunity recently to join the Airheads forum to contribute at a higher level. Not being an Aruba reseller, integrator, or partner of any kind made me hesitate at following through with that opportunity. Here's a line from an email of mine explaining why it wasn't a good fit:
I was enthusiastic about doing this, however, not being familiar with the products and services Aruba offered would have come off as disingenuous to anyone reading what I was going to write.
Alas, 2 days later, here I am writing about the products and services after following the company more closely. Anyhow, I look forward to seeing what the future holds, and just like the rest of the industry, I really hope HP doesn't screw up the company. haha Seriously though, don't screw it up. :)