controller-based VS controllerless

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There are a lot of competitors still using controller-based solutions. Are there reasons or situations to use a controller-based solution over a controllerless one?
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Hans Matthé

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Posted 4 years ago

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David Coleman, Official Rep

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Obviously I am biased, but my answer is not really.  All of our controller competitors are trying to move the control plane to the edge which is what we have been doing for years without a controller.  The only "advantage" might be that the WLAN design requires a centralized "data plane" in a data center.   Aerohive can also centralize the data plane with GRE tunneling using our VPN gateway appliances. The key is that we still do NOT use a controller and all control plan mechanisms remain distributed and at the edge of the network.
(Edited)
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Eddie Klaczko

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It depends on where you want control of your data.  Centrally or distributed.  it's nice to be able to bundle all that guest traffic in a secure tunnel out past your firewalls for example.  But for the most part I've found we end up needed more of our traffic handled locally, close to it's source.

The trick becomes once you take the controller(s) away, I've got a dozen I'm in the process of migrating away from, how to efficiently manage all those radios.
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Hans Matthé

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I believe that the guest traffic to the DMZ by a GRE tunnel is also possible with the controller-less Aerohive solution.
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Eddie Klaczko

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but I think the main reason some vendors are still mainly controller-based has to do with their expertise more than anything else.  if you've been doing something one way for 10+ years...
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Hans Matthé

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I believe it is also a commercial reason because controllers are a great part of the budget at controller-based solutions.
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Eddie Klaczko

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Yes, especially if a vendor ties new features to them.
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Crowdie, Champ

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One of the interesting arguments the controller vendors come up with it that is is better to have a large amount of CPU and memory in a controller than small amounts distributed out on the edge.