Ingram Micro Partners With HPE Aruba In Federal Market

‘In the area of wireless, Aruba has been the leader in pushing the government to implement secure wireless systems,' says Tony Celeste, executive director and general manager for Ingram Micro's public sector business.

Ingram Micro this week became an authorized distributor of federal government-focused wireless networking products from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. The company said will make it easier for solution providers to bring secure networking to government clients.

The move, unveiled at this week's Ingram Micro One conference in Denver, makes Ingram Micro the latest distributor able to work with Aruba's federal practice, said Jamie Ferullo, director of advanced solutions and leader of the HPE Business Unit at the Irvine, Calif.-based distributor.

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Ingram Micro has similar relationships with Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and others, Ferullo told CRN.

"But Aruba is a disrupter to the market," he said. "The company is growing faster than the market as a whole. We see Aruba sales via Ingram Micro growing by double digits this year."

Ingram Micro has worked with Aruba for about seven years, Ferullo said. The distributor in November 2018 introduced the Aruba Go program to help recruit and on-board partners, and in the last year has brought on over 900 partners into the program, include 200 that are net-new to Aruba, he said.

Ingram Micro is bringing Aruba's entire portfolio of secure networking to edge technologies to its GSA schedule.

Aruba in the federal government market occupies a unique space, said Tony Celeste, executive director and general manager for Ingram Micro's public sector business.

"The federal government has the same challenges as everyone in that it is trying to take advantage of commercial products, but has lagged in its plans because of security issues," Celeste told CRN. "Aruba is a leader here because of its multi-zone capabilities, which can segment classified and unclassified network traffic."

Aruba already has National Security Agency Suite B cryptography certification to work with both unclassified and most classified information, Celeste said. It is also certified with the NSA's Commercial Solutions for Classified, or CSfC, program, he said. "These are key to letting the federal government take advantage of commercial products," he said.

Other vendors offer products to federal government networks, Celeste said. "But in the area of wireless, Aruba has been the leader in pushing the government to implement secure wireless systems," he said.

Ingram Micro partners say the distributor's expanded relationship with Aruba will make it easier for them to serve their federal government clients.

It is a very important move for the channel given that the choices for wireless devices with encryption to match federal government requirements have been limited, said Jaime Albizures, vice president of sales and business development at Ace Technology Partners, an Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based solution provider and partner to both Ingram Micro and Aruba.

Albizures told CRN that 95 percent of his company's business comes from government contracts, primarily from building Trade Agreements Act-compliant servers, desktops, high-performance computers and other equipment. The Trade Agreements Act stipulates that the U.S. government can only purchase equipment made in the U.S. or other designated countries.

The Aruba products are Trade Agreements Act-compliant, which is something a lot of other wireless networking equipment lacks, Albizures said. "Now Aruba can go onto our contracts for clients including the U.S. Army and Air Force," he said.

Jim Takatsuka, executive vice president of Pacxa, a Honolulu, Hawaii-based systems integrator that established its federal business two years ago with Ingram Micro’s help, told CRN his company will take advantage of the distributor’s expanded relationship with Aruba.

"Aruba was designated as a standard infrastructure for certain Navy programs," Takatsuka said. "Ingram Micro now lets us use Aruba for those projects."

The new relationship also lets Pacxa compete in areas it was unable to in the past, Takatsuka said.

"We technically partner with Cisco, but it's hard to compete with larger [solution providers] selling Cisco products," he said. "We have sold Aruba here and there through HPE. So this opens a lot of opportunities for us."