Aerohive and Dell EMC announce OEM relationship

Aerohive gets a boost from Dell EMC’s channel and services, helping it distribute its Wi-Fi hardware and cloud management platform and reach more customers.

Cloud Wi-Fi vendor Aerohive Networks has signed an original equipment manufacturing (OEM) agreement with Dell EMC to distribute its Wi-Fi hardware and its HiveManager NG Cloud Management Platform.

In addition to product distribution, the relationship includes joint sales, marketing, support and services. It will also bring together Aerohive’s innovative products with the massive power and scale of the Dell EMC channel and services.

Dell and Aerohive have a relationship that goes back to 2015 when Dell become a global reseller partner for Aerohive’s products. The following year, the two companies collaborated and enabled HiveManager NG to manage Dell’s N-series wired switches, as well as the Aerohive APs, giving customers a true “single pane of glass.”

The new announcement, which was made during Aerohive’s quarterly earnings call, builds on the existing foundation so businesses can purchase a Dell-EMC branded and supported, cloud-managed, unified wired and wireless networking solution. The technology is the same as it would have been prior to the OEM agreement, but customers receive the benefit of avoiding the complexity of having to purchase two sets of products from two vendors, possibly from two value-added resellers (VARs). Now, everything from procurement to support can be handled through Dell. It’s been my experience that businesses prefer a “single throat to choke,” and Dell EMC has stuck its neck out.

In addition to the OEM agreement, Aerohive announced a new feature in HiveManager NG where switch stacking can be done through a GUI for Dell EMC N1500, N2000 and N3000 series switches. Stacking isn’t overly difficult to do through a command line interface (CLI), but it is tedious and requires strong technical skills. Doing it through the GUI is dead simple and can be done by junior network engineers, freeing up senior talent to work on other things. HiveManager NG also supports the Dell EMC N1100 series switches.

Dell EMC partnership gives Aerohive a boost

The partnership could pay big dividends for Aerohive. Dell EMC has had a Wi-Fi OEM agreement in place with Aruba Networks for years, but now that Dell EMC’s arch rival and biggest competitor, HPE, owns Aruba, it’s unlikely Dell EMC wants to do anything to contribute to their success. I don’t expect Dell EMC to stop selling the Aruba products, particularly into organizations that currently use the products. But I do anticipate we’ll see much of the new business flow Aerohive’s way. Also, Dell EMC’s distribution capabilities and global reach are vastly superior to the tiny Aerohive, enabling Aerohive to expand into customers and regions it couldn’t have on its own.

Dell EMC gets great technology and an excellent cloud management tool. The marketing-speak coming out of Dell Technologies since the merger with EMC has been about infrastructure modernization. A modern network doesn’t have siloed wired and wireless technologies that need to be managed independently. The OEM agreement and integrated management give Dell EMC the most competitive networking solution it has ever had, particularly because of Hive Manager NG. 

There are several cloud management platforms available today, but Aerohive customers have told me they love the breadth of functionality in the company’s product. Many cloud management tools keep things simple by not letting administrators have access to the full range of capabilities. That might be fine for SMBs, but larger organizations want to be able to do the same things in the GUI as they can do from a command line.

Phase 1 of the relationship was a reseller agreement, phase 2 will be Hive Manager integration. This next step brings a full, unified portfolio to the Dell EMC customer base. Will there be another phase? In my opinion, Dell EMC acquiring Aerohive would make the logical next step. But for now, so far, so good.

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