It was announced today that HPE plans to acquire Cape Networks. Unsurprisingly, the South African company will be rolled into HPE’s Aruba unit. According to the press release, the acquisition “will expand Aruba’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered networking capabilities with a sensor-based service assurance solution that gives customers a simple, proactive, and network-agnostic tool for measuring and monitoring SaaS, application, and network services.”
In human language, HPE is getting some interesting sensor tech and IP that focuses on improving observable wireless user experience, rather than focusing on optimizing for speeds and feeds. Has there ever been a more loaded statement than “the Wi-Fi is slow”? HPE is essentially shelling out money to help solve the “bad Wi-Fi” problem.
So how does (or did) Cape Networks address this? By making their wireless sensors clients. It’s a somewhat similar approach to what NetBeez does, except instead of using the digital duct tape that is a Raspberry Pi for their client side sensor, Cape Networks developed their own sensor. The sensors connected to the cloud and provided meaninful user-experience metrics in a convenient dashboard. You can check out their presentation from Mobility Field Day for some more background.
In the end, I’m wondering if this is a signal that this kind of monitoring is more of a feature than a product in and of itself. It’s curious that HPE acquired one of the more proprietary players in this space. Netbeez goes with commodity open hardware, SolarWinds offers similar features in the Monitoring Cloud. We’ll see how HPE uses this IP down the road.