Aerohive Entices Aruba Customers Fearful Of HP Acquisition With Big Discount

Wireless vendor Aerohive Networks is trying to nab existing Aruba Networks customers and partners who might be wary of Aruba's planned acquisition by Hewlett-Packard by offering them up to a 25 percent discount off Aerohive wireless and networking products.

Aerohive's Get Me Off This Island limited-time special program, available until Dec. 31, 2015, opened up on Monday to existing Aruba customers through authorized Aerohive resellers. The program is designed to provide reliable, affordable enterprise alternatives for customers who are concerned about Aruba's future after its acquisition by Palo Alto, Calif.-based IT giant HP goes through, according to David Greene, senior vice president and CMO at Aerohive, Sunnyvale, Calif.

"We certainly getting calls from Aruba partners, resellers who are saying, 'Hey I don't want to be an HP reseller, the HP ecosystem doesn’t fit into how I'm looking to grow my business,'" said Greene. "There's obviously a revenue opportunity for us. We think it's a good business and good revenue opportunity for our resellers as well ... We haven't done [a discount] this broadly before."

[Related: Aruba Partners Now 'Cautiously Optimistic' About HP Acquisition]

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HP last week said it plans to acquire Aruba in a deal valued at $3 billion that is expected to close in the second half of HP's fiscal year 2015. HP declined to comment on Aerohive's program.

"This is a very bullish move to try to steal some scared Aruba partners," said a top executive at a solution provider that works with Aruba, speaking on condition on anonymity. "I'm not taking the bait, jumping on board until I hear more specifics on the [HP] acquisition ... It is an interesting move though on Aerohive's part."

The executive said although the 25 percent discount is somewhat enticing, jumping to Aruba would be too big of a leap to make before the acquisition is finalized and all the details on are the table. He says there is "definitely a possibility" this could attract a "good portion" of Aruba customers because of HP's poor acquisition and integration history.

Greene said the pattern seen through past HP wireless acquisitions hasn’t generated a positive outcome for channel partners.

"This is HPs third attempt to integrate wireless into their portfolio. It's pretty clear that with multiple product offerings and multiple management tools, that not all those platforms can keep going forward," said Green, referencing HP's fiscal 2008 acquisition of Colubris and its China-based H3C Technologies networking subsidiary. "For a customer that already has Aruba, they're looking at what to do next, but they have no way of knowing if the products they spend money on today are the ones that HP will keep spending money on going forward. We think there an opportunity here to help them."

Abby Strong, Aerohive's director of product marketing, said there is currently talk of uncertainty in the Aruba ecosystem relating to the acquisition.

"We're seeing a lot of interest from the customers who bought Aruba products through another partnership that Aruba has -- Dell, Alcatel Lucent, Brocade, those were partnerships where Aruba was engaged as an OEM partner or strategy alliance with those other major switching companies who are now extremely unhappy with the acquisition," said Strong.

Customers need to have at least 25 Aruba access points installed in order to be eligible for this program, the company said.