Juniper Forms Alliance With Aerohive; Says Aruba Partnership Still Intact

Juniper Networks says its alliance with Aruba Networks, now a subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard, is still well intact as the company reveals a new partnership with another wireless vendor, Aerohive Networks, with the possibility of building a combined technology solution on the horizon.

"We've now partnered and integrated with three of the top four wireless vendors in the industry," said Scott Miles, senior director of Juniper's Cloud & Enterprise portfolio marketing in an interview with CRN. "Aruba is still a technology alliance partner. It’s really about offering our VARs and customers the ability to choose."

The two Sunnyvale, Calif.-based companies will collaborate on joint global go-to-market and co-branding opportunities for channel partners to provide solutions targeting distributed enterprises in the retail, education and government segments. The partnership fits into Juniper's Open Converged Framework initiative for enterprise networks with the goal of allowing the convergence of wired and wireless networks from different vendors, said Miles.

[Related: Here's Who Made Gartner's 2015 Wired and Wireless LAN Magic Quadrant]

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Kirk Hanratty, chief technology officer of SynerComm -- a Brookfield, Wis.-based solution provider and Aerohive, Aruba and Juniper partner -- says the alliance puts some pressure on Cisco with a new best-of-breed offering for customers from two channel-friendly organizations.

"It's allowing more flexibly for customers," said Hanratty. "Cisco obviously is going to try to sell the systemwide approach. They've tried to do that with networking and security -- 'Buy everything from us and we'll take care of you.' But from my experience, that's been very hard to deliver on those visions over time."

The two companies' technologies have already been tested and proven to be interoperable, which will help drive sales, according to Hanratty. "When you get into the best-of-breed world, basically the non-Cisco world, having interoperability assurances takes some of the risk out -- that's really important for customers," he said.

Hanratty said the Aerohive partnership is more promising that Juniper's alliance with Aruba, formed last year.

"There's some baggage that comes with [HP]," he said. "Typically when you get bought by bigger companies, innovation doesn't speed up, it slows down."

HP completed the blockbuster acquisition of Aruba for $3 billion in May. Analysts say the purchase was a win-win for the companies, but Aruba's strategic alliance vendors -- like Juniper -- are begging to look elsewhere.

"It made all of the vendors that partner with Aruba look at alternative vendors," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. "Putting all your eggs in one technology partner basket has some risk. … Dell has announced they are reselling Aerohive, I believe Brocade is doing Aerohive and Ruckus, as now so is Juniper."

Juniper revealed in June a new alliance with Ruckus Wireless, through which they will work together to deliver an "open" wired and wireless solution, as well as collaborate on global go-to-market opportunities.

"We put in place the incentives from a sales and VAR perspective to ensure that they have the tools they need to make this technical alliance with Aerohive successful and leverage the benefits of going hand and hand," said Miles.

Milind Pansare, principal product marketing director at Aerohive, said now that the alliance is formed and structured, integrating technologies is on the horizon.

"We are in active discussions to look at what areas makes sense for the technical integration," said Pansare.

Kerravala said the two companies have the ability to create a solution together to impact the market and win over some share.

"If the two companies built some joint technology that was unique to them, it certainly could [impact the market]," he said.

Pansare touted Aerohive's HiveManager -- which enables centralized planning, management, troubleshooting and analytics for WLANs along with Juniper's Junos Space Network Director network management solution -- as a good selling point for partners in the enterprise. Aerohive also released an on-premise version of HiveManager earlier this month.

"This partnership focuses on meeting in the channel," said Pansare. "We're bringing Juniper's and Aerohive's best marketing resources and sales resources together to really enable the channel for joint materials and new go-to-market efforts."