CRN Exclusive: Aerohive Networks Revamps MSP Partner Charge With New Initiatives

Aerohive Networks is striving to enable more channel partners to build managed service provider (MSP) practices through a new flexible purchasing strategy and exclusive partnership with distributor Synnex.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based wireless specialist is leaving behind its AdvantageMSP program with the goal of broadening the channel's ability to build an MSP practice around Aerohive, giving partners a way to with the to purchase hardware and software separately, and at different times.

"Partners want to be able to deploy the network on a schedule, and then they want to be able to turn on the software whenever they need it," said David Greene, chief marketing officer for Aerohive, in an interview with CRN. "They might deploy at one time and actually activate the network at a different time, and they don't want to pay for stuff before they use it … We're announcing big changes to give our partners the flexibility they want."

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Another boost to partners comes after Aerohive recently selected Fremont, Calif.–based distributor Synnex as their exclusive North American partner for its cloud networking and enterprise Wi-Fi solutions.

Through the partnership, Synnex is offering a wireless-as-a-service exclusively built on Aerohive which partners can white-label and resell, according to Aerohive's channel chief Michael O'Brien.

"Synnex has utility-based pricing for our full product line of access points and switches on a monthly subscription basis," said O'Brien. "The monthly subscription takes the hardware, capital assets and turns it into utility pricing for the VAR, which they can then white-label and markup. So it allows partners to – without any capital expense between them and the customer – basically to get into a managed services program and a managed services offering extremely quickly."

Another new MSP feature that partners can now leverage is the ability to move products and licenses between customers more easily.

"We heard partners wanted portability, the ability to move equipment and move licenses between their different customers – that was something we weren't able to support before, and now we are," said Greene. "In some cases, partners are going to own the equipment and own the software and manage it for a monthly fee. In other cases, the customer wants to own everything, but they don’t want to manage it. In some cases a hybrid of the two."

"This is all really about giving partners flexibility about how they approach managed services," Greene said, adding that Aerohive can do the customer management or installation services for partners with limited resources.

Aerohive launched last year its new Aerohive Cloud Services Platform, which includes open APIs for monitoring, presence, location and identity, allowing partners to offer new services beyond management and support of deployed hardware.

Matthew McGinn, director of business development at Align, a New York City-based solution provider, and Aerohive partner, said wireless managed services is becoming "essential" for customers.

"Our clients don’t have the expertise or don’t want to have the expertise to manage their wireless systems on an ongoing basis," said McGinn. "We're writing to the APIs to create the metrics, key performance indicators and the monitoring sets on our dashboards that we're looking for to manage at scale and not just at each access point. These are differentiators that we have with Aerohive."

For the first time, Aerohive said it is opening up its MSP offerings and incentives to all certificated partners.

"This is a great growth opportunity for our partners. We think we've covered just about every variation on how a partner might want to do it," said O'Brien. "We're the only vendor we know of that has one platform, one technology, one cloud anywhere you want it managed service or project-based … Partners only have to train on one platform and only have to invest in one technology to answer the full spectrum of their customer's requirement."