Changing the Channel: Networking VAR news

Nov 6 2009   10:51PM GMT

With SaaS-based AirWave, Aruba offers platform for managed WLAN services

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

Not long after I wrote about opportunities for selling wireless LAN managed services opportunities for networking VARs, Aruba Networks launched an software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of its AirWave Management Platform. Aruba bought last year AirWave, a cross-vendor wireless LAN management software company.

With its new AirWave OnDemand product, Aruba is offering a cloud-based instance of the software to network managers. The SaaS-based product can manage any vendor’s wireless LAN infrastructure, just like the on-premise verison. Aruba’s WLAN controllers will now ship with a free VPN license that automatically creates a secure VPN tunnel from its controllers to Aruba’s co-location data centers that house SaaS instances of AirWave. Enterprises with non-Aruba gear will have a couple of option for tunneling back to AirWave OnDemand.

Bryan Wargo, general manager of Aruba’s AirWave business, said this new SaaS product will create a couple of new business opportunities for VARs.

First of all, the AirWave OnDemand product will be subscription-based and won’t require any on-premise hardware, removing capital outlays from the transaction and allow VARs to sell the product to customers as a lower-cost operational expense. Aruba is offering AirWave OnDemand at $10 per month for each wireless LAN device managed by the product (inlcuding controllerrs, routers and access points).

Wargo also said VARs will have the option of building managed services on top of the AirWave OnDemand platform. For instance, a VAR could offer to manage a customer’s wireless LAN via AirWave OnDemand from its own NOC. The VAR could maintain dedicated network admins in the NOC who could use AirWave OnDemand to manage the wireless LANs of multiple clients and multiple vendors’ hardware.

“The idea is for them being a trusted VAR partner who can run a wireless network for a low monthly fee,” Wargo said.

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