Aruba Boosts Security In Partnership With Alcatel

The two vendors on Tuesday unveiled a security-centric partnership that will allow Alcatel to rebrand and resell Aruba's product line, said David Butler, vice president of business development at Aruba, Sunnyvale, Calif. Besides the OEM deal, Aruba and Paris-based Alcatel also will engage in cross-licensing of each other's technology and joint development of new wireless technologies.

Butler said the heart of the deal is the integration of Aruba's products into Alcatel's CrystalSec security framework, the five-pronged security architecture behind Alcatel's enterprise networking products. CrystalSec combines network device hardening, secure management capabilities, secure network services and certifications and partnerships for a more secure network, according to Alcatel.

New Aruba products will soon arrive as a result of the new partnership, Butler said. "We are quickly going to build differentiated Aruba products from Alcatel products. There's a really aggressive product introduction strategy behind this," he said.

The partnership between Aruba and Alcatel effectively ends a wireless security partnership between Aruba and Airespace, which is being acquired by Cisco Systems.

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Butler confirmed that Alcatel approached Aruba with the partnership idea before the Cisco-Airespace deal was announced. One reason Alcatel sought a partnership with Aruba was to reduce channel conflict with Airespace, which "was overdistributed in the same channel and competing with themselves," Butler said. Aruba's out-of-the-box combination of mobility and security also piqued Alcatel's interest, he said.

Because the partnership aims at take more enterprise wireless market share, little should change for Aruba's U.S. reseller partners, most of which are smaller shops that don't compete at the enterprise level, Butler said. Also, no extra certifications or updates will be required for partners now selling Aruba products, he added.

That means Aruba partner Andy Segal, president of Vandis, an Albertson, N.Y.-based VAR, becomes just another bystander observing a large partnership between two vendors at a time when consolidation is quickly becoming the norm.

"I see it now as almost an inevitable thing," Segal said. "Everybody is trying to have a bigger package of products. And these days, if you don't have what you need, you are going to reach out for what you need."