I recently visited Aerohive’s home turf as one of the delegates at Wireless Field Day 5. It was wonderful getting to meet, in person, many Bees I frequently interact with via email and social media.
My own history with Aerohive is built largely on covering their evolution from the early days, writing about them professionally in Network Computing Magazine. As with other vendors, sometimes Aerohive gets the spotlight and sometimes they get compared against when analyzing what competitors are up to. I have my own small Aerohive environment, and have first hand familiarity (not mastery, mind you) with Hive Manager and a couple of AP models.
Aerohive has been a major player in minor-but-growing cloud-managed wireless network space that includes Meraki (Cisco), AirTight Networks, and PowerCloud.
Ah, cloud-managed networking. I’ve become a fan where I use it (and I do use it in a number of sites). I like that one of the running campaign themes of cloud-based networking in general is reduced hardware counts with no convoluted licensing schemes.
Though Aerohive has done a good job with pushing the value of “here’s a new feature, and you’ll just get it with your next Hive Manager upgrade at no additional cost!” message to customers, I was taken a wee bit aback during the Field Day briefings on Aerohive’s IDManager and Client Management services because they were called “new products” that require licensing.
Both offerings will no doubt be welcomed by existing Aerohive customers, and are easily marketed at prospective customers looking for a robust, all inclusive solution. My own little private shock at the licensing requirement doesn’t detract from my overall opinion on Aerohive, and after thinking about it , I know where the surprise comes from: we’ve gotten so used to rich feature sets being “free” that we instinctively expect the gratis model to apply to any and all “features” Aerohive develops. Which really isn’t fair to Aerohive, but is how we’ve been conditioned on the customer end.
I wont pretend to understand why Aerohive has “given” so many enterprise-grade services away to date that others license for, but draws the line at IDManager and Client Management. Nor do I care enough to get hung up on it, as other vendors seem to be licensing their Onboarding services as well after hearing their briefings.
For those keeping score at home, here’s a breakdown of some of what is included with Aerohive’s Cloud Manager and licensed APs under the heading of “it’s just in there”:
- Spectrum analysis
- Application visibility and control
- Statefull firewall
- Partner MDM hooks
- Planner software(free to non-Aerohive customers too)
- Bonjour gateway software (also free to non-Aerohive customers)
And what you have to license seperately:
- Client Management (license blocks of 100)
- IDManager (tiered licensing, starting at 250 guests)
- StudentManager (blocks of 1000)