Network Innovation on Display at Aruba Atmosphere

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – eWEEK.

At its biggest event, Atmosphere, Aruba announces several new innovations that make networks easier to consume and manage.

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, recently held its annual user event, Atmosphere, which returned to an in-person format after being virtual for two years.

The event is Aruba’s largest and is the place for customers to learn about the latest and greatest that’s coming. The theme of “ATM22” was “Making Connections, Anywhere,” which I thought was apropos, given the trend to hybrid work where digital technologies – particularly the network – are needed to keep us connected in a world where physical distancing has become the norm.

Tighter Linkage Between HPE and Aruba

This was also the first Atmosphere after the departure of co-founder and former president of HPE, Keerti Melkoti, and I was interested to see what the post-Melkoti Aruba looked like.

What I found was that the company was better aligned with parent company HPE. Aruba makes great products and has been one of the best managed network vendors – it made sense to leave it as its own entity, post acquisition. Now that HPE and Aruba products have come together, it’s clearly time for HPE to have a larger influence.

At the conference, I had the opportunity to sit down with Sylvia Hooks, Aruba’s Chief Marketing Officer, to discuss HPE and all the new innovation from Aruba. Highlights of the ZKast interview, done in conjunction with eWEEK eSPEAKS, are below.

  • HPE GreenLake for Aruba is a new network-as-a-service (NaaS) offering that lets customers buy network infrastructure in an “as a service” model. It’s a joint collaboration between Aruba and HPE and is an excellent example of a tighter linkage between the two. Greenlake has been HPE’s primary go-to market model for a couple of years and Aruba was an outlier in the portfolio.
  • Every part of IT has moved to the cloud or an as-a-service model, except the network. NaaS is where Aruba is differentiating itself from competitors and it’s an approach that more organizations want to adopt. A survey conducted by Aruba found that nearly 69 percent of organizations are interested in consuming networking in this manner.
  • Each subscription includes hardware, software, and support services, as well as access to Aruba Central, a cloud-based management software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. When users log in through the platform, they can view compute and storage apps. It provides a combined inventory in one place of all equipment, services, and contracts.
  • At the conference, the vendor also announced the Aruba Central NetConductor, a new feature in Aruba Central that allows organizations to centralize the management of wired, wireless, and wide area network (WAN) infrastructures by simplifying policy provisioning and automating network configurations. With NetConductor, organizations can manage their networking at a very high scale.
  • Aruba envisions NetConductor as playing a key role in the modernization of networks. NetConductor automates manual tasks currently performed by administrators. This allows organizations to take a step back and see the big picture where the network is driving the business. Organizations cannot become fully digital without modernizing the network. Centralizing policy and configuration control is a step in the right direction.
  • Additionally, Aruba unveiled self-locating indoor access points (APs) with built-in GPS receivers. Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E APs use GPS signals to triangulate and locate each other indoors. Aruba is making it easier for IT administrators to pinpoint APs through this self-mapping capability. The APs also have a highly accurate Wi-Fi system that acts as a location platform.
  • There are systems that provide highly accurate location indoors, but they’re proprietary, complex, and expensive. Aruba is bringing GPS coordinate intelligence into APs to provide accurate location of network infrastructure. That’s shared using Open Locate, a standard anyone can use to develop location-aware apps. In addition to enabling the location information, organizations can use this data for better business outcomes.
  • Since the pandemic, the market has changed significantly, creating a need for these silos to converge. HPE and Aruba have come together to combine compute, storage, and networking in one place with HPE GreenLake for Aruba NaaS. There’s more innovation to come. HPE GreenLake will be a big focus for Aruba going forward.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.