Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Aruba, HP, MobileIron, PaloAlto, Arista Networks, what do they all have in common?

As you probably know by now, HP and Aruba have announced their intent to merge into a single corporation. Call it an acquisition, call it a sale, call it a merger, call it whatever you like. This week at Aruba Atmosphere 2015, the keynote presentations made it clear that Aruba and HP are all about partnering with other companies to bring the customer the best-of-breed solution set.

The keynote presentation by Dominic Orr gave us the clear message that things were not going to change. Meg Whitman spoke to us live from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona with a full six second delay between Dominic speaking and Meg reacting. The jury is out on whether or not this was actually a live feed, but the comedic effect of the delay was milked for all it was worth.

I found it very interesting to see Bob Tinker, CEO of MobileIron come on stage after Meg Whitman. I'm wondering if we might see another acquisition by HP, simply based on the focus Aruba is putting on strategic partnerships with companies who help Aruba/HP bring differentiated offerings to market. The lack of a built in MDM solution has been a glaring hole in the Cisco product portfolio for a very long time. Sure, Cisco has partnered with at least 6 different MDM vendors, but since they're only parters - your mile will vary greatly when you're seeing support to implement any give solution.

Chad Kinzelberg, Senior VP Palo Alto Networks went on to describe how the Palo Alto firewalls were much more nimble because they don't rely on the port based communication firewall sets like legacy firewalls do (read: Cisco).

Jayshree Ullal, CEO of Arista Networks rounded out the speaker list. She is by far the best public speaker I've heard present in a very long time. It was clear she had given this messaging about Arista many, many times - but she still managed to sound human doing it.

It will be interesting to see how the merger between HP and Aruba plays out over time, especially when there are so many companies relying on Aruba hardware to have a mobility offering in the first place.

Also, the opening act before Dominic took the stage was really cool! The iLuminate dance team from America's Got Talent kicked off the Atmosphere conference in a unique, geeky, Tron-esque fashion! Whoever booked them for this event deserves a pat on the back! Good work!