Aerohive Attracting Brocode-Ruckus Channel Partners Amid Broadcom Uncertainty

As channel partners hold their breath to see where Brocade's networking business lands, some partners have decided to take their business to competitor Aerohive Networks.

David Greene, chief marketing officer at Milpitas, Calif.-based Aerohive, said dozens of Brocade and Ruckus Wireless channel partners both in North America and abroad had contacted Aerohive seeking to either form a new partnership or expand their investment after Broadcom recently unveiled plans to acquire Brocade for $5.9 billion then sell off its networking business.

"As a Brocade Ruckus partner, do you go to a client right now and say, 'I want to sell you this great Ruckus solution – I have no idea what the roadmap is going to be, I have no idea what the future investment is going to be, but it was a really technology a year ago when I picked it, and you should buy it,'" said Greene, in an interview with CRN. "Resellers have worked hard to have a long-term relationship with their clients and they're not going to trash that over a single piece of technology … Just last week I was talking to a very large Ruckus partner who's now going to work with us just because of the uncertainty of what's happening."

[Related: Brocade's Networking Business: 5 Potential Buyers, 5 Companies Unlikely To Make A Play]

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One CEO from a solution provider who partners with Brocade-Ruckus said he is currently testing Aerohive technology for the first time due to the uncertainty ahead. He said when Ruckus was initially acquired by Brocade in May for $1.2 billion, his company was excited to start adopting and selling Brocade's solution.

"But now with another spinout happening again, we really don't know where this thing is going," said the CEO, who declined to be identified. "We just need to look at other options right now, so we're looking more into Aerohive and what they can do for our business."

He said with Broadcom expecting to complete its acquisition of Brocade in the second half of its fiscal year 2017, which runs from May 1 to Oct. 31, Aerohive is a networking vendor he's willing to place his bet on.

"I'm happy with the talks we've had with Aerohive so far and potentially selling their products indefinitely," he said.

Brocade did not respond for comment on the matter by press time.

Greene said the uncertainty surrounding Brocade-Ruckus future is making customers rethink their purchasing decision.

"We've had partners bring deals back and say, 'I've been told that we were out of this deal and when the Brocade-Broadcom thing got announced and the customer called back and said: We'll like you to put in another proposal.'" We had at least one really big deal where that's happened," said Greene.

In a statement to CRN, Ian Whiting, chief commercial officer of Brocade's Ruckus Wireless Business Unit said, "Regardless of the current short-term period prior to an announcement of our new home, we have not seen our partners leaving to go to Aerohive. What we have seen is a significant level of loyalty from our partners due to our high performing products and singular dedication to our partners and customers. Ruckus remains a strong player in this market, and we have every intention of continuing our leadership."

One source familiar with the Broadcom and Brocade M&A situation told CRN recently that there is a large amount of interest from potential buying in acquiring Brocade's networking business. "Those buyers are a mix of financial sponsors, so private equity companies and also strategic buyers," he said. "There is a very strong desire from all the parties – Brocade, Broadcom and any potential buyer – a strong desire to move as quickly as possible."

Greene said there's "no evidence" that Broadcom "cares" who buys Brocade's networking business, saying it's a top concern for the partners who are reaching out to Aerohive.

"Broadcom's objective in this, is just get rid of it. The continuity of the business is not on their priority list," said Greene. "So as a partner you have no idea, is it going to land to someone who really wants to take the wireless business forward? Is it going to land with someone just wants the customer-base and doesn't want to invest in the technology? Is it going to land with someone who actually wants the Brocade switching business and doesn't really care about the wireless business?"

Barry Shevlin, CEO of Vology, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider, ranked No. 132 on CRN's 2016 Solution Provider 500 list, said he is pausing his invest in Brocade, but is not willing to let go of the business right now for another vendor.

"We have a good size Brocade business, so we're going to be patient -- to a point," said Shevlin.