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Some analysts don't see a Cisco-Meraki acquisition as particularly threatening to enterprise-focused wireless players like Aruba Networks, though certainly a problem for networking companies playing at the lower end of the market.
"While the Aruba Instant product can be sold to SMBs and K-12 markets, it primarily targets enterprise branch offices," wrote Ehud Gelblum, managing director at Morgan Stanley, in a Tuesday research note. "Yet unlike Meraki's products, Aruba's can be seamlessly upgraded to enterprise-class features, further differentiating the solution and making the Meraki acquisition largely a non-event for Aruba. The deal does appear bad for Adtran, however, in that Meraki targets the same low-end SMB Adtran's NetVanta goes after."
Richard Valera, an analyst with Needham & Company, wrote in a note: "We think Aruba's relatively new Aruba Instant product offers many of the same ease-of-deployment/management advantages of Meraki, overlaps more with Meraki than Aruba's traditional products; however, we see this nascent and quickly growing product as an incremental growth opportunity for Aruba in the midmarket rather than a meaningful piece of Aruba's business that's threatened by the Cisco/Meraki deal."
"This move validates our vision that the market is rapidly moving towards the all-wireless enterprise, and along with this, the hastening decline of wired-based primary access networks," said an Aruba spokesperson in an email to CRN. "The consumer market was the first to go all-wireless. Small businesses were next. Medium to large enterprises will follow this trend, and Aruba is laser-focused on this part of the market."
Aruba's made no secret of targeting smaller and more distributed businesses through Aruba Instant and also its distribution relationships with players like Synnex. But partners don't see Cisco-Meraki as a big threat, especially with Aruba having embraced both controller and controller-less wireless infrastructure models and with its stronghold very much in larger midmarket and enterprise customers.
"I don't think it's a threat to Aruba," said Andy Welsh, director of partner alliances for Accuvant, the Denver-based integrator. "I think Aruba's been going down that [cloud] management path for while. What it does for Cisco is help them compete better with the Aerohives and Ruckuses. Aruba will still battle hard in those places, too, but I don't know how interested Aruba is in all those smaller deals. My experience with Meraki is that they're happy with a three-AP deal in a K-12 building."