Aerohive (News - Alert) told me in 2010 it was positioned for world domination in the Wi-Fi space. I thought that was very cool – certainly not your typical tech interview. Sure, it’s not break-the-Internet worthy, but it is still an awesome approach in my opinion.
In a way Aerohive’s irreverence reminds me of Salesforce. Aerohive wasn’t afraid to take on incumbent Wi-Fi vendors and still today it doesn't mind taking a jab at far larger players in the market. So many companies are politically correct. As a result, the meetings they have with reporters 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 than an interview in which you might be able to turn up something new and exciting.
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 Aerohive said this is HP’s third or fourth attempt to do this and it will slow them down. Moreover, Aerohive proudly told me about its new deal with Dell (News - Alert) 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 were that 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.
One of the challenges Aerohive recently overcame was its UI. It 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 less than 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 Wi-Fi experts. It 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 percent of total available capacity.
In short, Aerohive is well positioned – in part because it has a great product that is centrally managed – perfect for the cloud and now far easier to deploy, configure, and understand. With the Dell distribution channel added to its 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 Aerohive to expand into.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino