Dell To OEM Aruba Wireless Products

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Aruba products will now be offered as Dell PowerConnect W-3000 series controllers, W-600 series small business and branch office controllers, W-series single-radio and dual-radio access points, all supporting 802.11n a/b/g/n, and the AirWave wireless management suite.

Dell will offer the products itself, and also make them available through its PartnerDirect channel partners. They'll be available later this quarter in the U.S. and Canada, as well as in 12 countries in Europe, with more countries expected to be added soon.

The move expands Dell's networking portfolio to a full range of wired and wireless products, including what it already has with PowerConnect and the B-series and J-series products it brands and sells from Brocade and Juniper, respectively.

Aruba and Dell have been co-selling Aruba wireless products alongside Dell servers and data center gear for years, and it made sense to deepen that relationship, executives from both companies said.

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"We heard from customers that they want a seamless, enterprise-wide networking experience," said Larry Hart, head of worldwide marketing, networking, at Dell. "We were missing wireless, now we have it. The idea here is that we believe Aruba offers a best-in-class solution."

The branding for the Dell PowerConnect W-series will include "powered by Aruba Networks" as part of its nomenclature. The target markets, Hart said, are midmarket businesses, large enterprises and public sector entities with enterprise mobility needs.

"Dell had its pick of any wireless LAN vendor, and we're very pleased that Aruba was the only vendor that moved the needle," said Mike Tennefoss, Aruba's head of strategic marketing.

Adding wireless to its existing portfolio is part of a broader strategy by Dell to offer a complete networking portfolio extending from the data center, where its traditionally been strong, to the mobile edge, where it has been active lately not only with laptops but also with mobile devices such as the recently debuted Streak tablet.

"Users need to be productive in all their environments," Hart said, citing research that some 88 percent of enterprise employees now work outside company headquarters, and half of all employees spend about 20 percent of their work time away from their primary work area.

Dell channel partners will be fully trained on Aruba wireless gear, said the executives, and the W-series products will be fully supported as a channel sale the same way other channel-sold Dell products are, Hart added.

"Dell is in a great position to run with this," said Tennefoss.