Aruba Expands Network Security Footprint With Avenda Buy

According to Aruba, which confirmed its intent to buy Avenda as it released first quarter earnings Thursday, it will use Avenda's products in its Mobile Virtual Enterprise (MOVE) architecture. MOVE products, which Aruba first launched in March, are designed to provide context-aware networking for enterprises with mobile infrastructure, and Aruba has continued to expand the portfolio throughout the year.

Hitesh Sheth, Aruba's chief operating officer, said the acquisition was about "arming our customers with a simple, cost-effective and device-agnostic approach to connecting and securing BYOD users."

"Legacy networking vendors have struggled to deliver a purpose-built solution for today's mobility age," said Sheth in a statement. "Faced with the BYOD phenomenon, IT departments need to deliver policy and control to a wide range of mobile devices and PCs over their existing networks."

Avenda, which was named to CRN's list of the 25 Coolest Emerging Vendors for 2011, was founded in 2006 and is based in Santa Clara, Calif. Its focuses include network access security products for wireless, wired and VPN networks, and its eTIPS offering includes identity-based policy services, AAA functionality, guest access and network access control baked into a single hardware appliance or virtual machine. According to Avenda, it also offers self-service provisioning of 802.1x and security credentials to mobile devices running Apple iOS, Apple MacOS, Google Android or Windows.

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As of this past summer, Avenda had about 25 channel partners worldwide. It sells its products in both on-premise and cloud-based subscription service versions.

Aruba did not disclose terms of the proposed acquisition, which is expected to close in the second quarter of its fiscal 2012, ending January 31. BYOD and the mobile device explosion have both been top priorities for the wireless vendor this year, including a recent push to gain influence among SMB customers with a new slate of wireless access points and a distribution relationship with Synnex.

For the first quarter of its fiscal 2012, Aruba reported revenue of $119.4 million, up 44 percent from the year-ago quarter's revenue of $83.1 million. It reported a GAAP loss of $0.5 million for the quarter, compared with a $2.1 million profit in the first quarter of 2011.

Dominic Orr, Aruba's president and CEO, said Aruba's opportunity is growing apace with the proliferation of mobile devices in business.

"We believe that mobile device adoption will only increase, resulting in even more demand on the network edge for enterprise mobility solutions as employees continue to bring their mobile devices to work," said Orr in a statement. "With our MOVE architecture, scalability, and superior security, we believe we are well positioned to take advantage of this trend, and that our pending acquisition of Avenda Systems will enhance our solution and technology differentiation once it is completed."

Aruba has made several small acquisitions in the past few years. Among the more recent were a Dec. 2010 pickup of assets and technology from Amigopod, an Australia-based network authentication vendor, and the May 2010 purchase of outdoor wireless mesh specialist Azalea Networks. Several of Aruba's wireless LAN competitors have also acquired in the security space this year, including Meru Networks' recent pickup of Identity Networks.