Aerohive told me in 2010 they were hell-bent on world-domination in the WiFi space. Very cool and certainly not your typical tech interview. Sure, its not break-the-internet worthy but still, an awesome approach IMO. Cisco, “Bring it on.” They used to tell me.
In a way their irreverance reminds me of Salesforce. They weren’t afraid to take on incumbent WiFi vendors and still today, they don’t mind taking a jab at far larger players in the market. So many companies are politically correct, the meetings they have with you to espouse new products have been so watered down by lawyer-approved copy, it seems more like a class taught by your most boring college professor.
I couldn’t help thinking of this as I met with the company recently. I obviously asked about the recent acquisition of Aruba by HP and they said this is HP’s 3rd or 4th attempt to do this and it will slow them down. Moreover, they proudly told me about their new deal with Dell for distribution. Raise your hand if you’re surprised at the news.
Getting back to the acquisition, Abby Strong, Director of Product Marketing at Aerohive had this to say about the move in her blog:
In the technology world, innovation and disruption are driven by the up-and-coming companies, not the behemoths. We think Aerohive is well situated to be an even bigger player in the Enterprise WLAN marketplace. Our core differentiators allow us to offer our customers a complete enterprise solution whether they need a half dozen APs or tens of thousands of access points, routers, and switches – same architecture, same management, one platform for innovation.
Past acquisitions like this have introduced us to some of our best channel partners 🙂
Further points she made in writing and to me in-person are the channel may not want to work with HP – they may not compete with their other products once they introduce a customer to Aruba. Or they may not want to deal with the HP dealer/reseller requirements.
A few years back I had a chance to interview Abby Strong on video. I hope you enjoy it.
One of the challenges the company recently overcame was their UI. They made it much more user-friendly hiding the complexity behind menus – allowing a basic user to configure more without needing to get into tremendous depth.
This led to a demo of the HiveManager NG management system which has tremendous functionality and is now pretty easy to use. The company says you can use it to configure an entire enterprise-class network in under 15 minutes. In the demo I witnessed, I especially liked the slider bar allowing you to see a snapshot of wireless activity at a specific time. This can be very useful for those times when IT isn’t around and they need to retroactively troubleshoot a problem. Moreover you can see top users, top apps, usage spikes, usage trends and the top clients.
There is also a new troubleshooting tool for people who aren’t WiFi experts which can suggest such things as looking at specific log files on your Radius Server. In addition, it can get all the frames from wireless clients, assign a case number and escalate or track an issue.
Another great feature is application control, enabling a policy like keeping app store bandwidth at no more than 10% of total available capacity.
In short, Aerohive is well-positioned – in part because they have a great product which is centrally managed – perfect for the cloud and they have made it far easier to deploy, configure and understand. With the Dell distribution channel added to their current sales efforts, we can expect far more success in the market. Depending on what happens with HP/Aruba over the short and long-term, there may be a nice opening for them to expand into.