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HPE to Acquire Silver Peak for Aruba, Potentially ‘Absolutely Awesome’ for SMBs
Jul 14 2020 Craig McCamley

HPE to Acquire Silver Peak for Aruba, Potentially ‘Absolutely Awesome’ for SMBs

HPE on Monday set it will acquire Silver Peak, the SD-WAN company, for $925 million. HPE’s strategy is to move Silver Peak into its Aruba business unit for a comprehensive edge-to-cloud networking solution.

Each vendor brings unique capabilities to the merger. Aruba brings its wired and wireless prowess, and Silver Peak, its SD-WAN expertise.

“Silver Peak will be combined with the HPE Aruba business, led by Keerti Melkote, and will expand Aruba’s technology leadership in the large and fastest growing SD-WAN segment of the market,” said Antonio Neri, HPE CEO and president. “The combination of Aruba and Silver Peak will create an industry leader for the edge-to-cloud era with a comprehensive end-to-end networking solution.”

The Deal Rationale

HPE outlined why the acquisition makes sense:

  • The combination of the two players will accelerate cloud transformation for enterprises. They’ll get a comprehensive edge-to-cloud networking solution covering all aspects of wired, wireless LAN and wide area networking.
  • Silver Peak’s intuitive, self-driving WAN delivers significant cost savings while maintaining application performance for rapid business recovery in a post-COVID world.
  • Silver Peak complements Aruba’s existing work-from-home and branch office solutions.
  • The acquisition significantly expands Aruba’s addressable market and is highly accretive to Aruba’s revenue growth and gross margins.
  • The combination of the two vendors accelerates growth of high margin recurring revenues with compelling economics.
  • Silver Peak is highly synergistic with Aruba’s customer base, innovation DNA and sales channel.

Silver Peak’s SD-WAN offerings complement and strengthen Aruba’s Edge Service Platform (ESP). By combining Silver Peak’s SD-WAN with Aruba’s SD-Branch products and services, customers can simplify branch office and WAN deployments. This will empower remote workforces, enable cloud-connected distributed enterprises, and transform business operations without compromising quality or reliability, the companies said.

In early June, Aruba made two significant ESP announcements. First, Aruba announced ESP, an AI-powered, cloud native platform designed to automate, unify and protect the edge. The company quickly followed up with enhancements to the Aruba Partner Ready for MSP program for ESP. The vendor’s goal — to drive more partners to sell cloud services and new consumption models.

SD-WAN a Good Bet

Revenue for the SD-WAN appliance and control and management software market increased by 75% in the fourth quarter of 2019, as service providers increasingly offered SD-WAN as part of managed service bundles, according to the Omdia Data Center Network Equipment Market Tracker.

SD-WAN market revenue reached nearly $640 million that quarter. That was up from less than $365 million during the same time period in 2018. SD-WAN 2019 revenue hit $2 billion and is projected to reach $4.8 billion by 2024.

Regarding today’s announcement, Silver Peak and Aruba will continue to operate as separate entities, or business as usual. After the acquisition closes, Silver Peak and Aruba will determine how to best engage existing HPE, Aruba and Silver Peak partners across the entire portfolio, the company said.

“Today’s announcement comes at a unique moment for our customers, who are grappling with business recovery in the wake of the pandemic,” said Melkote, president of Intelligent Edge for HPE, and founder of Aruba Networks. “The need for edge-to-cloud architectures has never been more relevant as enterprises look to extend connectivity to branch locations and enable secure work-from-home experiences. Silver Peak’s technology transforms legacy WAN architectures to self-driving WANs, a perfect fit with Aruba’s cloud-native, AI-driven edge services platform. Together, we will be able to meet these needs with critical connectivity, security and AI capabilities to drive the next generation of edge-to-cloud transformation.”

Vendors reported significant increase in orders and deployments of SD-WAN appliances in residential locations. This is to connect and secure remote workers due to the pandemic, according to Omdia.

HPE Comes Into Its Element

“The Silver Peak acquisition is a good one which gets HPE into the SD-WAN segment. If HPE can find a way to make it part of its overall SMB strategy, it will be absolutely awesome,” Anurag Agrawal, founder and global analyst at Techaisle, told Channel Futures. “Our recent global post-COVID data shows there’s likely to be a 345% increase in SD-WAN adoption within small businesses (an increase from 10% of small businesses to 34%). Within the midmarket there will likely an adoption increase of SD-WAN adoption of 93%. HPE is coming into its element.”

Silver Peak traditionally and strategically focuses on the enterprise segment and service provider market. Agrawal doesn’t view this as an insurmountable challenge.

“It may be challenging to bring the offering to SMB customers, but with Aruba making useful inroads into the ‘M’ part of the SMB segment, it will just be a matter of time that it rolls out SD-WAN for the midmarket segment under its everything-as-a-service strategy. It will then enable service providers to deploy SD-WAN solutions for the ‘S’ segment, the long tail of that market,” he said.

David Hughes, CEO and founder of Silver Peak, will join HPE after the acquisition closes. Expect that to happen by the end of October.

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