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Analysts bullish on HP-Aruba deal

Combined entity could create networking powerhouse to rival Cisco, analysts say

Analysts bullish on HP-Aruba deal
Analysts from both IDC and Gartner said that the acquisition would make HP a real competitor to industry stalwart Cisco

Industry analysts are upbeat about the recent announcement that HP is set to acquire wireless specialist Aruba Networks for $3bn.

According to a panel of analysts from Gartner, including Tim Zimmerman, Mark Fabbi, Andrew Learner, Bill Menezes, and Neil MacDonald, HP's investment in Aruba will help to create a "robust" wired and wireless access-layer connectivity solution.

Meanwhile, Surjyadeb Goswami, research manager at IDC, said that the transaction was interesting, in that it will bring "several opportunities" for both HP and Aruba.

Analysts from both IDC and Gartner said that the acquisition would make HP a real competitor to industry stalwart Cisco.

"This is a smart and bold move for HP, which had been struggling with its wireless LAN (WLAN) strategy over the past year. The acquisition adds respected executives from Aruba to the HPN organisation in key leadership roles, which can accelerate HP networking market opportunities," said the Gartner panel.

IDC's Goswami added: "This acquisition will help HP close the widening gap between it and Cisco from a next generation network access solution point of view for tomorrow's mobile enterprises."

However, both research houses cautioned that there would be challenges for HP before it could create a networking superpower to truly rival Cisco. Gartner's panel said that it would be critical that HP articulates an integration strategy and investment protection offerings for current HP Networking solutions.

The analysts added that HP would have to quickly adjust its services to offer global, comprehensive support for the joint Aruba/HP offering.

IDC's Goswami, meanwhile, said that it would be challenging for Aruba, under HP, to manage its ongoing partnerships with other OEMs such as Alcatel-Lucent, Dell, Juniper and Brocade, all of which compete with HP in some way.

"Dell is the one which has a broader scale of end-to-end enterprise infrastructure competition. A bigger question remains here on how HP is going to manage the expectations of these partnering vendors and associated customers," he said.

"However, if the Aruba unit is kept as a separate entity under the HP Enterprise Company umbrella for the next few years, it could help to sort out this issue."

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