Enterasys: New Cloud Wi-Fi Platform Puts Partners In Control

Enterasys' new cloud Wi-Fi platform differs from others on the market because it's designed to be fully hosted and managed by partners, said Daren Dulac, director of business development and technology alliances at Enterasys, Salem, N.H.

"What we have seen in the marketplace with the Aerohives and Arubas and Merakis of the world is that they are defining and hosting their own cloud software. So, if you look at the service revenue created there, it goes into the manufacturer's pocket," Dulac told CRN. "And then, the supplemental service dollars are the pieces of install and configuration that a partner would garner. So, we said, why don't we give the partner that capability plus more."

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That "plus more," according to Dulac, is that partners will actually be the ones hosting Enterasys' cloud software within their own data centers, while layering a full managed services suite on top of that offering. Dulac said the price of these managed services will be bundled into the price of Enterasys access points that power the cloud Wi-Fi solution.

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"We said, let's move to a model where managed services partners, in essence, do the full life cycle, from site survey and analysis to design to implementation," Dulac said. "So their hands are in the services dollars for the full life cycle of the deployment."

Cisco, which acquired Meraki in 2012, declined CRN's request for comment, and Aerohive did not immediately reply.

An Aruba spokesperson told CRN, "Our Cloud Wi-Fi solution offers partners a low barrier to entry to providing managed services because there is no data center to set up and maintain. We do that for our partners and achieve economies of scale. The partner can focus on managed services instead of internal systems management."

Enterasys partners that do not have managed services practices, or the capacity to independently host cloud Wi-Fi software, will be able to white-label and resell the cloud Wi-Fi solution from those Enterasys partners that can, according to Dulac.

Roughly 10 percent of Enterasys partners have the ability to host and provide managed services for the cloud Wi-Fi solution today, he said.

One of those partners is PCM -- formerly PC Mall -- which will roll out the Enterasys cloud Wi-Fi solution as part of its broader hosted and managed services practice starting this week.

"The big piece to me is the managed services piece that is rolled into that one price, per access point, per month to the customers," said Patrick Lohmeyer, associate vice president of services development at PCM, an El Segundo, Calif.-based solution provider and No. 27 on CRN's Solution Provider 500 list. "That's really where it gets exciting because it's not only hosted but, as part of the service, it's managed."

NEXT :PCM's White-Label Plans In addition to the recurring revenue opportunities offered through this model, PCM's Lohmeyer said Enterasys' cloud Wi-Fi solution allows partners to have greater stickiness with their customers than competing solutions, given the fact that partners -- not Enterasys -- are hosting and fully managing the service.

"All the control is pushed out to PCM," Lohmeyer said.

PCM does plan to allow other Enterasys partners to resell a white-label version of its service. "We are going to work in a reseller program for other Enterasys partners in the very near future, probably in the tail end of 2013," Lohmeyer said.

Chip Thompson, general manager at LevelOne Technology, a Waco, Texas-based solution provider and Enterasys partner, said Enterasys' cloud Wi-Fi solution will give partners more ownership over the customer relationship than some other offerings on the market.

"It means we'll be in touch with our customers or clients more often, which gives us more of an opportunity to upsell or sell other products or services," Thompson said.

Enterasys said its cloud Wi-Fi solution is based on its Identifi access points and OneFabric management system.