It’s been exactly 3 years since I started at Aerohive, and I’m pretty dang sure I mentioned that every Wi-Fi infrastructure company would be forced to “copy Aerohive or die.” Wait for it … wait for it… I TOLD YOU SO! Ah … that feels nice … OK, I’m over it. So … moving on.
Here we are, after all that time of Aruba and others spewing all that crap about how Aerohive has had it all wrong and controllers are the bomb. Oh yeah, they’re the bomb alright… ___________ ← That’s a blank space where I don’t even have to fill in a sarcastic comment because I’ll just let you make up your own and fill it in for me.
Aruba now thinks they have the goods with their new “Aruba Instant Enterprise” (AIE) announcement. I guess we’ll see … they are even being so bold as to call it controller-less now, but why no equally bold controller End of Life announcement? Is it because AIE isn’t the functional equivalent of their controllers or because they fear the loss of the ~40% revenue coming from controllers and licensing? Clearly both are true.
It is no coincidence that Aerohive has nearly 6,000 enterprise customers using our “controller-less“ technology every day in nearly every vertical and that we single-handedly established credibility for the term. So much credibility, in fact, that Aruba, currently #2 in enterprise Wi-Fi market share, chose to ride our coattails using the term to describe their pale imitation.
The French have a saying, “Il faut toujours préférer l'original à la copie!” which means always prefer the original to the copy. Southerners have a saying too, “You got that right.”
Aruba, right on their homepage, is trying to convince people that architecture doesn’t matter because they have multiple architectures. So they are telling their prospects and customers that they can choose between functionality, simplicity, and reduced cost. Why not offer all three in one simple package that is flexible enough to work in any customer environment? Is it so that they can say, “sorry Mr. Customer, you chose wrong, but hey man, we have you covered. We can get you that functionality for only an 80% controller upgrade surcharge.” They have you covered alright … like a pig in slop.
Why would you want to choose between, or worse yet, buy, configure, manage, and troubleshoot a hodge-podge of multiple architectures when you could choose a single architecture that does it all? They’re trying to sell that nonsense with the unconvincing message of, “Flexibility Matters.” The only flexibility they’ve added in my opinion is that they use the term controller-less with and without the hyphen.
Distributed architectures, like Aerohive’s Cooperative Control, have been proven time and again to be the right architecture for high performance, resilience, scalability, and cost effectiveness. Do any of those buzz words sound like today’s Wi-Fi requirements?
If architecture doesn’t matter, then why don’t we just go ahead and convert the Internet over to using controllers right now? Oh wait.
If architecture doesn’t matter, then why aren’t Ethernet switch and router vendors offering you multiple architectural options? Hmmm.
If architecture doesn’t matter then why did Aruba even bother developing Instant?
The reason they ‘have you covered’ is because they’ve been thrashing all over the place for the last 3 years, building a little of everything (what we call “hedging your bets”) and have now decided the best way forward is to follow Aerohive lock, stock, and barrel.
Now that Aruba has created what they think is similar to Cooperative Control, they are throwing out press releases saying things like, “…delivers the first controller-less Wi-Fi solution for best-in-class security, resiliency and scale for distributed enterprises” and “These innovations, pioneered by Aruba for building larger, highly resilient campus networks, are critical for all enterprise locations… ”
So, while they’re saying they were first and pioneered controller-less (lie), they are also saying that controller-less is a critical innovation for all enterprise locations (true). What a bunch of disingenuous, self-defeating marketing hooey … something Aruba is known for obviously.
Of course architecture still matters. Don’t be ridiculous. The questions you should be asking Aruba, and every other vendor are:
- Why did it take Aruba so long to wake up, why were they clueless for so long, and why are they now bragging about something Aerohive invented more than 5 years ago?
- Do I get my money back if I bought controllers and now don’t need ‘em?
- If AIE offers “unprecedented scale” then why are they still recommending controllers for campus deployments?
- What’s next?
I promise you that Aruba doesn’t have the answer to “What’s next?” They are focused on playing catch-up, while Aerohive is focused on what is over the horizon … skating to where the puck will be. Make no mistake: Aerohive is going to once again change the game. Wait for it ….