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Keerti Melkote On The Aruba Team’s ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’ And His Future Plans: Exclusive

With the news that Aruba Networks founder Keerti Melkote is leaving the company, the tech visionary shares with CRN why now was the time to leave and describes how Aruba’s portfolio is ‘on fire.’ He also tells CRN that HPE CEO Antonio Neri has been and will continue to be Aruba’s ‘biggest cheerleader.’

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Melkote Signing Off

Keerti Melkote, who has been at the helm of Aruba Networks for nearly two decades as the company’s founder and president, revealed this week that he was leaving the company. The networking giant, under the direction of Melkote, has spent the past 19 years giving competitors a run for their money with its innovative Wi-Fi and intelligent edge solutions. Melkote said that if there was ever a time to consider leaving, it would be now, considering the company’s strength in the market and impressive growth it’s seen recently, despite a global pandemic that stressed the IT industry and enterprise buying trends.

Six years ago, HPE bought Aruba Networks for $2.7 billion, but the wireless specialist stayed true to its roots, giving HPE cloud-first Wi-Fi and edge services offerings built on a solid as-a-service platform. Tech entrepreneur Melkote, according to HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri, has been instrumental in building a $3 billion HPE Aruba business that is pulling in double-digit growth year over year for its parent company. And Melkote said that Neri “kept up his end of the bargain” in supporting—not stifling—Aruba’s growth.

Melkote is being replaced by HPE Senior Vice President of the Communications Group Phil Mottram, a 30-year telecommunications veteran. Alongside Melkote, the leader’s longtime lieutenants, Aruba CTO Partha Narasimhan and Pradeep Iyer, Aruba’s chief architect, also left the company. Silver Peak founder and former CEO David Hughes, who joined the company after Aruba acquired the SD-WAN specialist in 2020, is taking over as Aruba’s chief product officer and CTO.

Melkote spoke with CRN following the news to talk about why now was the time to leave his brainchild, his expectations for Aruba’s future strategy and why the portfolio is “on fire.” He also told CRN why he’s so confident that Aruba’s cherished channel community will have everything they need to continue the growing momentum around edge, SASE and next-generation connectivity solutions and shared that while the last few days have been an emotional time, customers and partners are in great hands.

Here’s what Melkote had to say.

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