Market consolidation strikes again.
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, on Monday unveiled its plans to acquire software-defined WAN leader Silver Peak for approximately US$925 million in cash. But this isn’t a situation involving an incumbent vendor bolting on a new technology from an agile startup. Instead, it’s two market leaders – one in the wireless space and one in the SD-WAN space – coming together to strengthen the positions of both their portfolios.
Under HPE, Silver Peak will be able to reach brand-new markets in regions it wasn’t in before. And for Aruba Networks, the deal will give the networking specialist a full SD-WAN offering that can solve the needs of all customers. And It doesn’t hurt that both companies have historically been channel-first in their approach to the market.
Michael Dickman, senior vice president, product management and technical marketing for Aruba, sat down with CRN USA to talk about why the company chose Silver Peak, how the combination will give its competitors -- including Cisco and VMware -- a run for their money, and how the deal will benefit channel partners.
Here are five things to know about the HPE-Silver Peak acquisition, as described by Dickman.
Why Silver Peak?
At Aruba, we‘ve been evolving from a leader in mobility and edge and access networking to being a full-line enterprise vendor over the last five years. Now with the Silver Peak acquisition, we are Gartner Magic Quadrant Leaders in all the areas in which we focus. There‘s really three big requirements we see and one is what we call SD-branch – basically, a branch transformation that requires wired, wireless and WAN to all function together with unified policy and management and we have a really strong solution in that space. The second is around remote workers and the third is around pure play SD-WAN, and that’s not a market we had strength in -- there’s actually only two leaders in that space -- Silver Peak and Velocloud, which was acquired by VMware. They achieved that leadership position with a very strong focus on edge-driven WAN transformation. They have very strong technology that fits very well with the Aruba approach, in particular, automation, simplicity and being able to handle the entire problem set for customer. With the combination of Silver Peak with Aruba, we can now cover all the possible needs in this space from a pure play SD-WAN, to a WAN transformation or holistic branch transformation, to remote work and micro branches, as well.
Silver Peak technology compatibility with Aruba's homegrown SD-WAN technology
Silver Peak has strong leadership in WAN transformation and very strong capabilities for building a hybrid WAN that will connect to the cloud, leverage broadband internet, and set all of that up with fantastic automation. They have deep partnerships with a lot of players relevant there, especially security, but also with cloud services. Unique to Silver Peak, they also have world class WAN optimization. Many customers still have legacy workloads and having that capability of having a boost from WAN optimization – it’s a unique advantage to Silver Peak.
Where Aruba comes in is around unified policy and cloud management, and also the ability to handle massive scale for the entire branch. Silver Peak has perfected the automation of WAN transformation and Aruba is on the journey to perfecting the automation of a complete branch transformation. They are definitely complementary. It depends a little bit on where customer is on their journey -- if they want to know how to adopt hybrid wan faster and how to accelerate all their applications, both cloud and legacy, that‘s something Silver Peak will definitely accelerate Aruba’s ability to respond to.
Does this deal strengthen Aruba’s position against the likes of Cisco or VMware in the SD-WAN Space?
Yes. We definitely think this strengthens us. We‘re clearly a leader now in all the main areas we play, whether it’s wireless, wired or WAN – undoubtedly so. In fact, we are the only vendor that is a leader in all those three areas if you look at Gartner’s Magic Quadrants in Wired, Wireless, and WAN Edge Infrastructure. It’s definitely going to strengthen our competitive position and it‘s something we hope our partners take with pride to their end customers so show that we can solve the complete set of challenges.
A ‘channel-first’ approach all around
Both Aruba and Silver Peak are channel-first in the approach. That will continue. We are going to make it as easy as possible for channel partners to transact and work with the comprehensive portfolio. As an example of that, the Silver Peak sales force who already work with partners will be telling total story around WAN and branch and will be ability to discuss and sell the SD-Branch capability, too. It‘s really the whole portfolio.
As for the specifics of partner programs and combinations, it‘s still too early talk about that, but we’ll finalize that post-close and we will of course bring these together to make it as easy as possible to transact for partners. There’s already excitement [from partners] in the market around [this deal].
The big opportunity is for partners to bring the full portfolio to their customers so that no matter where their customers want to start their journey, whether its around remote work or holistic branch transformation, this is now a single portfolio that will allow them to say yes to customers no matter where they want to start journey. It‘s cloud-first for both companies; it’s very customer-focused in terms of the culture -- we’re both very technology and innovation-driven, and it will now cover the entire spectrum. Partners can really help meet any customer needs at any entry point and we think that’s a big benefit for our partners and our mutual end customers.
Silver Peak is more penetrated in the North American market than in the Asian and European markets and we definitely expect this to be a huge opportunity for Aruba‘s partners in EMEA and APAC to bring Silver Peak as a world-class SD-WAN solution in a way Silver Peak wouldn’t have been able to do as quickly before.