Wireless vendor Aruba is remaining tight-lipped about whispers that it is to axe a UK distributor following its decision to add Exclusive Networks to the line-up.
Exclusive began shipping Aruba products on Monday and will focus on the vendor's new ClearPass network access control (NAC) and BYOD solutions, which are an amalgamation of recent acquisitions Avenda and Amigopod. It joins incumbents Mayflex and Avnet.
Aruba celebrated its 10-year anniversary in February and Chris Kozup, senior director of EMEA marketing at Aruba, said the appointment of Exclusive is in line with its ambitions to evolve from its roots as a wireless connectivity outfit.
"For the first 10 years, we were very much Wi-Fi centric and built up channel partnerships with that context in mind," he said.
"As customer demands evolved and we introduced a more solutions-based approach, it became clear that we needed a partner that is familiar with a broader sphere of mobility and security, and Exclusive really stood out."
According to sources, Aruba is keen to stick with a two-distributor set-up in the UK, with Avnet fingered as the one that could walk the plank.
Kozup stressed that no additional changes to the distribution line-up are being announced right now, but when pressed stopped short of committing to a three-distributor set-up in the long term.
"Things are always in flux; watch this space," he said.
Exclusive Networks will throw its weight behind Aruba's ClearPass portfolio, which was launched in February. It is the first time Exclusive has carried an NAC product since [Exclusive acquisition] VADition's relationship with Consentry ended with the vendor going under in 2009.
Talking to ChannelWeb, Neil Ledger, joint UK country manager of Exclusive Networks, claimed that NAC is bouncing back in a big way.
"We took NAC to market three years ago and it was too early," he said.
"But what has happened since with compliance and risk means it is now all about controlling the network and NAC allows you to do that. Our primary focus will be on ClearPass and when we first saw the product six to eight weeks ago, it blew our socks off."
Ledger said Exclusive would look to recruit 12 to 15 "really active" enterprise security resellers to take ClearPass to market.
"With our history of taking new products to market, it seemed like a natural fit," he said.
Cambridge-based Metadigm was the first security VAR to place an Aruba order with Exclusive and chief technology officer Steve Malone welcomed the distributor's arrival to the fold.
"Metadigm has a long-standing relationship with Exclusive Networks so this announcement is perfectly timed. Wireless and BYOD go hand in hand and the Aruba portfolio helps us to deliver a high-quality solution to our customer."
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