HPE's Aruba Networks Plans To 'Accelerate' Acquisition Strategy Around Software

Aruba Networks CEO Dominic Orr said he plans to accelerate the rate of acquisitions around software companies as the synergy between Aruba and Hewlett Packard Enterprise hits its stride.

"If you look at the Aruba history, we are quite successful every nine months or so [buying] a small software company and we call it 'tuck-in,'" said Orr, in an interview with CRN.

"If you look at most of our differentiation in software, most of those differentiations are from companies that we buy and we can quickly tuck it into our platform architecture, and you should expect that we accelerate the rate of acquisitions," Orr said.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HPE's Aruba Networks Is Building A Networking Product Line For SMBs Aimed At Competing With Cisco]

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"If you look into our product roadmap and how we're going to spend R&D money and M&A dollars, you can summarize it with four words -- stable, secure, smart, simple," he added.

"All the innovation in the marketplace is coming out of software now," said George Miller, VP of sales at Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based solution provider. Integration Partners, ranked No. 128 on CRN's 2016 Solution Provider 500 list, is an Aruba partner.

"Our position is continuing to grow with [Aruba] and we're not just talking about upgrading existing Aruba customers, but we're talking about taking out other vendors and there still a pretty significant market opportunity out there," said Miller. "They have an opportunity to upgrade a lot of networks out there. The forecast looks really good for Aruba over the next couple of years."

Miller said Orr's networking philosophy will resonate with customers.

"The whole goal out there within the network industry is to take complexity out of the networks and through automation and DevOps it has proven out to dramatically simplify the operations of network functions," said Miller.

He continued: "There's a lot of smaller software companies in that space trying to make a name for themselves, but obviously having the backing of somebody like HPE-Aruba is going to help accelerate the pace at which it's accepted in the marketplace."

Before being purchased by HP in 2015 for $3 billion, Aruba's last acquisition was of software location specialist Meridian in 2013. Meridian provided an enterprise software platform customers used to create custom mobile apps.

Following the acquisition, Aruba launched a slew of solutions including the Meridian Mobile App Platform with location-based features such as indoor mapping, turn-by-turn directions, venue-specific content and proximity-base notifications to mobile app users. Aruba also built web-based Meridian Editor to manage a user's mobile app content.

Chris Atha, senior vice president of Advantel Networks, a San Jose, Calif.-based Aruba partner, said Aruba has a good acquisition track record of successfully integrating technology from another vendor.

"It's a great time for them to place more bets," said Atha. "We've benefitted a lot from their past acquisitions and moves in the software and cloud front make a lot of sense."