Tuesday, 20 October 2015

HP and Aruba plan for 5G.. continued

Partnering with us to go after the campus market, which is changing from wired to wireless. HP has a good history on the wired side, so we felt this was an opportune moment to bring the sides together, but go to market with a mobile-first story. After all, as customers re-architect their infrastructure they’re not going with four cable drops to every desk, they’re looking at where the traffic is, which is all on the wireless networks these days. HP agreed with that and basically said, “Why don’t you guys come in and not only grow Aruba, but take all of networking within HP and make it a part of the whole ecosystem.” So HP Networking and Aruba have come together in one organization and Dominic Orr [formerly CEO of Aruba] is the leader for that and I am Chief Technology Officer. We are focusing on integrating the Aruba products with the HP network products to create a mobile-first campus architecture. Does the Aruba name go away and does everyone move to an HP campus? No, and there is some exciting news there. The go-forward branding for networking products in the campus is going to be Aruba, including the wire line products. Over time you will start to see a shift in this mobile-first architecture with Aruba switching also coming to market.

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And we talked about real estate. Do we all move to the HP facilities in Palo Alto or do we stay here? The good news is we’re going to stay here for at least 12 months, and after that we are building a facility for Aruba, so we are going to move into a new building right down the street. Will that include the HP Networking operations in the area? No, we have a global development model, so we have development sites here in Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Roseville. And we have sites in India, China, Canada and in Costa Rica. There won’t be any changes to any of the development sites. As the business grows we’re going to have to grow most of those sites. HP has bought other wireless players along the way, including Colubris and 3Com, so how does it all fit together? Colubris was a pretty focused wireless acquisition back in 2008 and those products have done well for HP, but that customer base is ready for upgrades to 11ac and as they upgrade they will migrate to Aruba. The former product line will be end-of-lifed over time, but we’re not going to end support for it. There is a small team supporting it and will continue to do so until customers are ready to migrate. 3Com was a much broader acquisition, involving data center campus products, routing, etc. Most of the R&D for 3Com is in China with H3C [the joint venture 3Com formed with Huawei Technologies before 3Com was acquired by HP in 2010]. There is a two-prong go-to-market approach for those products. There is a China go-to-market, which has done really well. In fact, they are number one, even ahead of Cisco, from an overall network market share perspective in China. For the rest of the world we were using the products to go after the enterprise.

As you probably heard recently, we are going to sell 51% of our share in H3C to a Chinese owned entity because there needs to be Chinese ownership for them to further grow share. H3C will be an independent entity on the Chinese stock market and will sell networking gear in China and HP servers and storage as well. So that becomes our way to attack the China market while we will continue to sell the other network products to the rest of the world. Those products are doing very well, especially in the data center. They run some of the largest data centers in the world, names that are less familiar here in the U.S., but very large data centers for the likes of Alibaba, Tencent and other companies that are basically the Amazons and Facebooks of China. 3Com has a wireless portfolio called Unified Wireless. That product line will also be end-of-lifed but still supported, and as we migrate to next-generation architectures we will position Aruba for those buyers. The definitive statement we’ve made is Aruba will be the wireless LAN and mobility portfolio in general and Hewlett-Packard’s network products will be the go-forward switching products. Two products that are really helping to integrate our product lines are: ClearPass, which is our unified policy management platform, which is going to be the first point where access management is integrated between wired and wireless; and AirWave, which is the network management product which will become the single console for the customer to manage the entire campus network. For the data center we will have a different strategy because data center management is about integrating with servers and storage and everything else, but for the campus the AirWave product will be the management product.

3Com has a product called IMC Intelligent Management Console that will continue if customers need deep wired management, but if you need to manage a mobile-first campus, AirWave will do the complete job for you. Given your longevity and perspective in the wireless LAN business, are we where you thought we would be in terms of Wi-Fi usage when you first started on this path 13 years ago? It’s taken longer than I thought it would, but it has certainly far surpassed my expectations. Back in 2002 there was no iPhone or iPad. Wireless was for mobile users on laptops and we believed it would become the primary means of connecting to the network and you would no longer need to cable them in. That was the basic bet we made when we started Aruba. My hope was we would get there in five to seven years and it took 15, but things always take a little bit longer than you think. The seminal moment in our business was the introduction of the iPad. Even though the iPhone was around most people were still connecting to the cellular network and not Wi-Fi because of the convenience. Laptop-centric networking was still prominent, but when the iPad arrived there was no way to connect it to the wire and there were all sorts of challenges. How do you provide pervasive wireless connectivity, because the executives that brought them in were taking them along wherever they went. Security was a big challenge because they were all personal devices.

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