HPE Aruba Networks #ATMDigital conference wrap-up

Throughout the years, I’ve attended Aruba’s Atmosphere conferences.  This year, I missed the in-person connections of the previous years, but Aruba did a great job transitioning over to a virtual event with engaging content…and some green screens.  At Aruba’s user conference, Atmosphere, the company informed attendees of its new single-pane, cloud-native platform called ESP.  We were impressed not only with ESP but how well it delivered the message under tough circumstances, using Zoom webinar.  We want to highlight the ESP launch because it launches the company into a new category, that of single-pane management.  We expect that customers value the capability to manage Wi-Fi, Switching, SD-WAN, 5G and IoT using the same system, without “swivel-chairing” between multiple software interfaces.  And, by combining all these different “edge” systems to a single manager, this allows for a unified policy, security and insights system.

ESP.  What we learned about Edge Services Platform (ESP) at the Atmosphere show.  ESP is an automated, all-in-one platform that operates in the cloud or on-premises, and is designed to deliver a cloud experience at the edge.  Large or small companies can use ESP, and it is also available on its controller-less APs, and can be used across large campuses down to branches and to remote worker locations.  Now, with the launch of ESP, data gathered from APs, switches, IoT devices, user devices and SD-WAN connections are retained in a single location, and thus this data can be analyzed together.  Since all the telemetry data is in one place, the company can now use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve insights into how the network is performing, to improve the throughput (the company claims 15%), and reduce to the time to resolve issues (the company claims a 90% improvement).  Aruba shared with attendees that it has 10M APs at customer sites – we see this large installed base, spinning off a lot of telemetry, as being a key advantage to Aruba, because AI systems get better with more data.

Greenlake.  Aruba ESP can be consumed either as a service in the cloud or on-premise, as a managed service delivered through Aruba partner. Customers can also consume it as a network as a service through GreenLake. Greenlake is a Network as a Service offering recently introduced by Aruba that allows customers to pay for equipment and services monthly, as opposed to as an up-front expenditure.

Other new product announcements.  UXI-6 sensor – the company announced a new sensor for gathering information from IoT and user systems.  This data can be leveraged by software and services to enable asset tracking, contract tracing and other systems.  Additionally, the company announced a new Ethernet Switch, the CX 6200 Switch Series.  The new switch can run on enterprise campuses, branch access and data centers.

Contact Tracing.  The company is also innovating for the future hybrid work environment. They are releasing a new set of contact and location tracing tools, and are working with a partner, Plexus.  It uses a variety of data sets: Wi-Fi, BLE/Bluetooth, location-capabilities inherent in the infrastructure, wrist-bands, keycards, or Aruba asset tags.  Wi-Fi-only is the base case and is the minimum data set that gets customers started immediately.  As additional data sources, primarily those leveraging Bluetooth to improve tracking and capabilities of the contact tracing system. For expanded capabilities, Aruba Technology Partners integrate with Aruba infrastructures to monitor social distancing and group sizes, and generate contract tracing trees of potentially exposed individuals.