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Partners: HPE Acquisition Of Niara Is A Direct Shot At Cisco's Intelligent Edge Weak Spot

HPE partners say the acquisition of Niara, maker of a next generation behavior analytics software platform, gives them more firepower to displace Cisco at the edge of the network.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) partners say the company's acquisition of security analytics software provider Niara gives them more firepower to grab market share from Cisco at the intelligent network edge.

"This is another bullet aimed at the weak limb of Cisco, which is the edge of the network, not the core," said Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 187 on the CRN SP500. "There is no question that the edge of the network is where Cisco is most vulnerable. This is a move by HPE Aruba to take away some of the edge network control that Cisco believes they have."

[Related: HPE Acquires Niara To Create What Keerti Melkote Is Calling The Industry's 'Top Visibility And Attack Detection System']

HPE said Niara's next-generation behavior analytics software platform combines with Aruba's ClearPass to provide the most complete visibility and detection system in the industry.

"With this transaction, we are continuing to innovate at the Intelligent Edge with software-defined solutions to better protect our customers’ business and IoT data," said Keerti Melkote, senior vice president and General Manager of Aruba Networks, a subsidiary of HPE, in a press release.

Cisco is having a hard time competing against companies like HPE Aruba at the edge, said Venero. "Cisco is definitely not winning the game at the edge," he said. "There is no question about that. It's because there are so many companies out there building leading edge technology for the edge. Most of those companies are partner-centric and allow us to provide something that is more margin rich."

CRN reached out to Cisco, but had not received a call back at press time.

Future Tech recently held a cybersecurity summit in Washington D.C. where the main topic was risk at the edge of the network rather than the core, said Venero. "You can have the best core in the world, but if your edge is vulnerable and you are not being proactive versus reactive, then you are vulnerable and more likely to be subject to a breach."

A top sales executive for one of HPE's top partners, who did not want to be identified, said the Niara deal hits Cisco hard at the intelligent edge where customers are looking for a Cisco alternative. "Many, many companies feel they have been mistreated by Cisco and are looking for some payback," said the sales executive. "They are sick and tired of being held hostage by Cisco. This kind of deal allows them to kick Cisco in the knees at the edge of the network, without putting their Cisco core network at risk."

The sales executive said Aruba ClearPass is gaining momentum among customers because it is a "solid, easy to use and the return on investment" is compelling.

The sales executive said Cisco and its partners are battling hard even at the core, sometimes offering deep SmartNet maintenance discounts to win deals. "Cisco has a big installed base to play with," he said. "Aruba truly has to have a better product to win."

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