Controller-less Wi-Fi systems deliver significant IT cost saving

Enterprise Strategy Group research finds Aerohive Networks’ controller-less wireless architecture delivers significant IT cost savings especially for highly distributed enterprises

Controller-less Wi-Fi systems deliver significant IT cost saving

Research by independent global advisory firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) has found that when compared with legacy wireless architectures, controller-less Wi-Fi solutions deliver significant economic advantages, Aerohive Networks revealed today (13 May 2014).

Aerohive is a pioneer in controller-less Wi-Fi and cloud-managed mobile networking for the enterprise market. The ESG research found that for highly distributed enterprises, Aerohive delivered a three-year net financial benefit of over US$5 million.

Its controller-less technology was shown to deliver significant cost savings and operational advantages, such as streamlined efficiency and productivity for both IT administrators and users.

As mobile devices have become increasingly critical to enterprises’ business processes and productivity, expanding the wireless LAN has become a top investment priority.

Wireless LAN expansion

In its survey of network technology decision makers, ESG research found that expanding the wireless LAN environment falls in the top five most-cited areas where organisations will be making significant investments over the next 12 months.

The status quo for wireless networking solutions has thus far involved deploying wireless access points (APs) that are connected to and managed by a centralised controller. ESG conducted research to help organisations determine the cost and benefits of deploying newer controller-less wireless solutions, compared with these legacy controller-centric architectures.

The ESG Economic Value Validation report found that with distributed intelligence and cloud-based management, controller-less solutions like Aerohive’s provide drastically lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and increased long-term benefits.

ESG found Aerohive’s controller-less solutions to deliver numerous customer benefits, including significantly lower relative CapEx, reduction in data centre footprint and associated Opex, simplified architecting and installation of APs, ease of ongoing management and increased solution resiliency.

Deployment scenarios assessed

ESG used its rigorous four-phase Economic Value Validation methodology, to examine controller-less costs and benefits in a range of deployment scenarios, including regionally distributed large enterprises, highly distributed enterprises and centralised campuses. In all scenarios, Aerohive’s solutions were found to deliver reduced TCO, IT efficiency savings and user productivity improvements.

In the case of the highly distributed enterprise, the annual TCO for an Aerohive solution was $874,463, compared with $2,526,760 for legacy solutions, making Aerohive’s technology over 65 percent less than a comparable controller-based architecture.

ESG estimated that using Aerohive, highly distributed enterprises realize the most significant cost advantages in the area of hardware, saving in excess of $3m in that area alone (for a hypothetical 1,000 distributed locations).

For the regionally distributed large enterprise, Aerohive’s TCO was nearly 40% less than the TCO calculated for a comparable controller-based solution. ESG also estimated cost savings for centralised campus deployment scenario it modeled. In that final scenario, Aerohive’s TCO was calculated to be nearly 25% less than that of the TCO for controller-based deployments.

Efficiencies for IT and wireless end users

In addition to cost, researchers also compared benefits of controller-less and controller-based solutions, focusing on improved efficiencies of IT and wireless end-users.

Aerohive’s cloud-managed and controller-less architectures significantly saved time for both groups, cutting down on time of deployment, software updates, troubleshooting and power requirements for IT. In its analysis, ESG found that enterprises working with Aerohive required less IT training, saving four days per IT administrator.

One potential pitfall of legacy, controller-based wireless architectures is the fact that the controller serves as a single point of failure—if a controller fails, then all of the APs connected to that controller are impacted. In these instances, ESG modelled that any controller failure would be accompanied by a 10% reduction in the productivity of wireless end-users.

Accordingly, ESG found that Aerohive’s controller-less solutions also increased user productivity with faster issue resolution, zero wireless downtime during software updates and no single point of failure.

Cost benefit analysis

Taking cost and benefit together, for the centralized campus, Aerohive’s solutions delivered a net financial benefit of $1,643,892 over three years compared to controller-based solutions. This financial benefit only increased for the highly distributed enterprise and regionally distributed large enterprise, with three-year net financial benefits of $5,631,064 and $8,102,134, respectively.

ESG senior analyst Bob Laliberte, said: “Organisations now face the daunting task of supporting double or triple the number of wireless devices that they did just a few years ago. Yet it is also imperative that these networking solutions are able to handle more than just the sheer volume of devices.

“While businesses require solutions that can rapidly scale, they also have to be easy to deploy and use. Furthermore, with greater reliance on wireless networks to deliver applications, high availability is a ‘must have’ feature, not a ‘nice to have’.

“Based on research calls with its customers, the controller-less architecture Aerohive has pioneered is able to meet all those requirements. The research also demonstrated that Aerohive’s lower costs and increased efficiency can benefit both IT and users and can deliver a compelling economic advantage,” concluded Laliberte.

David Greene, chief marketing officer, Aerohive Networks, commented: “The uptick in mobile devices has multiplied IT burdens, both cost-wise and time-wise for enterprises struggling to scale their networks with this trend. We’ve devoted our resources to fine-tuning our cloud-managed technology and have long believed in the benefits of a distributed controller-less architecture over legacy architectures.

“It is especially rewarding to have the economic value of our solutions validated by ESG’s exhaustive analysis, especially compared to the abundance of offerings in the market. By focusing on this new architectural approach, we continue to help enterprises reap the most short-term and long-term value from their IT investments.”

For more details on the ESG Economic Value Validation Report, sponsored by Aerohive, please visit the report here.

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