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Aruba: 'We're not Cisco'

Collaboration, not lock-in, the key to customer satisfaction, says wireless specialist

Aruba: 'We're not Cisco'
Green said that many of Aruba's customers will still opt for Cisco's wired solutions

Aruba Networks' product development director for government solutions, Jon Green, last week hit out at Cisco with accusations that the large networking vendor insists customers use all-Cisco kit for their networks.

While explaining Aruba's motivations for pursuing corporate-level partnerships - such as with Palo Alto Networks and Alcatel-Lucent - Green said that this illustrated a major difference between wireless specialist Aruba and the all-rounder Cisco.

"We're not Cisco; Cisco will go out and say that you must use Cisco end-to-end in order to have a network that even functions, period. And that's just not realistic - nobody's doing things that way," he told ITP.net.

"They expect to have multi-vendor networks, and we look at it as a service to our customers to have these corporate-type relationships. If we're hooking up an Aruba access point with a Brocade switch and something doesn't work right, we don't want to be making it the customer's problem to sort out."

Green said that, as time goes by, he expects to see more high-level technology partnerships between vendors, where each side provides a single piece of a larger solution.

"We'll even be friendly with Cisco - I don't think the reverse is true, though!" he joked.

Aruba Networks has enjoyed a number of customer wins in the past 12 months, with many opting for Aruba's wireless kit over Cisco's. This, he said, vindicated Aruba's claims that - when it comes to pure wireless technology, at least - its kit is superior.

"What you see with a lot of our customers is that they'll use Cisco for their wired network almost exclusively. But when they go to do Wi-Fi, they actually end up picking Aruba," he said.

"In a large customer scenario, it'll be Aruba and Cisco, we'll have to do a bake-off [proof of concept], and we almost never lose the technical decision in those bake-offs. We lose on politics, we lose on financial issues, we lose on existing relationships, but we don't lose technically, so that's something we're proud of."

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