Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wi-Fi and Aerohive, The Right Fit!

This blog was originally posted on the Aerohive HiveMind Blog, but I wanted to make sure that my regular readers on this site were informed. I will splitting my blogging between Aerohive and Revolution Wi-Fi from here on out, so you may notice some drop in the frequency of posts on this site. Please visit the Aerohive blog to read my posts over there as well!

About a month ago I made the leap... I changed employers and hopped over the fence from the customer side to the vendor side. I knew the time was right, and the opportunity was right and I’ve been looking to put it into words ever since. I’ve thought long and hard, searching for a deep insight into why I made the decision to join Aerohive Networks, let alone a vendor in general. Finally, I realized I was over-thinking it. The reasons are simple...

Wi-Fi Is My Passion (and a burgeoning industry)
The first reason comes down to doing what I love to do. I started my career as a general technologist, working equally on building networks, servers, data center facilities, and core services like DNS and Active Directory. I quickly fell in love with networking because it was the glue that held everything together.  

Then I found Wi-Fi. I’m the first one to admit it, I’m a dreamer (and an idealist). I love seeing how technology changes how we interact with the world, how it influences our society, culture and behaviors. I’m a people-gazer.  Wi-Fi ignites my passion because it is on the front lines, directly affecting people’s lives. In the same fashion that Steve Jobs and Apple have changed how people interact with each other and the world through the effective design and use of technology, I think Wi-Fi has much the same effect. And I love being a part of that!

Wi-Fi gives one time to think and reflect. No wonder I’m a dreamer!
This is me performing a site survey for an outdoor mesh deployment.

I’m also very lucky to be involved in this industry at a time when Wi-Fi is experiencing a second wave of growth. It really took off in the home around 2003 with 802.11g. The release of 802.11n revitalized and broadened the possibilities in the enterprise. And with the wave of mobile devices, expansion of hotspots, and carrier offload, Wi-Fi is poised to play a prominent role in how people stay connected in their personal and professional lives like never before. Technology advancements like 802.11ac and 802.11ad will be exciting enablers to make solutions for video more pervasisve.

I’m fortuitous to be working with a technology I love, in an industry that is full of potential!

Innovating not Following
The second reason, and specifically why I joined Aerohive, is I believe in our technology. It’s important for me to work at a company that has an innovative spirit and a forward-thinking vision. I believe Aerohive offers that in spades!

The Aerohive Cooperative Control architecture is modern, is not constricted by legacy controller mindset, and allows our team to focus on solving business problems using innovative technology for our customers. Examples include the Bonjour Gateway, BYOD and mobile device solutions, Branch on Demand routing, Client Health Score for simplified troubleshooting, PPSK for enterprise class security that’s easier for smaller organizations to deploy and support, directory integration capabilities for high availability, Cloud SaaS operating model options, TeacherView and StudentManager.

I’ve worked with almost every Wi-Fi vendor solution on the market, and while most are capable solutions, they’re also complex to deploy, manage, and support for customers. In addition they’re spinning significant development cycles on re-designing a controller architecture back into a distributed architecture rather than on focusing on customer needs. We see this with Cisco’s move towards FlexConnect, Aruba towards RAP and Instant, and with Motorola toward Wing5. They’re busy making the Wi-Fi basics work in a distributed fashion, incrementally migrating existing features back into the access point. But they’re suffering from feature and scalability limitations while doing so, and limiting their ability to innovate at the same time. They are also validating the Aerohive position that was pioneered years ago with Cooperative Control (albeit in a twisted fashion) – Thank You!

Aerohive offers a focus on innovation. I want to be a part of that.

Relationships Matter
I’ll be the first to admit this... my success is a direct result of the relationships that I form with other [very smart] individuals. I learn best and succeed most when I surround myself with people smarter than I am. This was true when I first started my career, getting mentorship from an incredibly experienced radio and network engineer (thanks Tony, if you ever read this). It’s still true, no matter how far I’ve come in my career.

Making friends, at -15° F (I’m far left)

Aerohive is a pool of incredible Wi-Fi talent. I know other vendors are as well, but I think our team is especially so. It’s like a laundry list of who’s who in the industry, not only from name recognition but from respect. And respect matters a lot to me. Individuals like David Coleman, Matthew Gast, Bob O’Hara, Joel Vincent, Abby Strong, and my new boss Devin Akin are well-known thought leaders in this industry and well respected by everyone. I can learn from these people, and will in buckets!

The leadership team also exudes confidence and experience in running a small tech company and know how to succeed. We’ve got David Flynn, ChangmingLiu, Adam Conway, and others who have “been here, done it before” with Netscreen and Juniper. These individuals give me great confidence on our ability to execute and be successful.

The Right Fit
Putting all these things together, Aerohive was the right fit.

I’m excited to be on the Aerohive team, and can’t wait to evangelize Wi-Fi technology in general and our solutions in particular. We have a lot to offer today and a ton more coming in the pipeline!

Exciting times!

Andrew vonNagy