Aerohive jumps into SD-WAN market to take on Cisco

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Aerohive jumps into SD-WAN market to take on Cisco

Aerohive Networks has unleashed a software-defined WAN offering it said offers simplicity, performance and optimisation that competitors in the red-hot market for SD-WAN technology can't match.

Aerohive, already a major software-defined local-area network player, introduced its SD-WAN offering on Wednesday, and the company argues that it is in a position to offer a more unified, easily managed solution than Cisco.

"If you look at Cisco, they're utilising separate technologies to try for one unified story, and that's cold water for many customers," said Mathew Edwards, Aerohive product marketing chief.

"They acquired Viptela. They acquired Meraki, and they're all very independent technologies. Being able to identify what you need for one side of the business or another is going to be technically very challenging for customers, partners and for Cisco themselves."

"A lot of companies want that unified story, so if a company has Aerohive wi-fi, and Aerohive switching on the corporate side, in the remote offices, they don't want to manage multiple technologies," Edwards said. "It helps manage from corporate through remote sites with a unified approach."

That unified approach allows users or partners to manage Aerohive's SD-WAN offering with a simple single-pane-of-glass interface. The offering includes Aerohive's new XR200P cloud-managed, secure SD-WAN router, a VMware-based virtual VPN gateway appliance, and its Hive Manager cloud management platform.

The routers can be shipped to any site with no configuration, Aerohive said. They'll automatically find the Aerohive cloud and are provisioned automatically. The routers feature "intelligent path selection," which makes sure traffic coming in and out – whether it's from apps, devices or internet of things systems – is sent through the appropriate path while being aggregated and monitored. Traffic can be directed based on a user's identity, what apps are being used or other factors.

"The whole aim is to simplify the deployment and support of highly distributed organisations," Edwards said. "It's an enterprise-grade experience regardless of where you are. We really do drive into the identity-based policies of our networks and the organizations that use them.

Users, applications, SD-WAN will make decisions on that basis to shape performance. Corporate user, guest user - we know who you are, what device, what your rights should be, where you're located, and we make decisions based on that information."

Moving into the SD-WAN market requires partners to embrace a services-centric, recurring revenue-based business model, and while many of Aerohive's partners have made that leap, the company still has "a large base" that has not, Edwards said.

"Many partners see the cost of hardware is decreasing, and services are more streamlined," Edwards said. "They're trying to provide an experience to the customers. They can install it and you can manage it yourself, or the partner can acquire the hardware and lease it out to customers for a monthly or yearly fee, but not all partners are there."

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