Aruba ESP improves network agility for organisations adapting to new business realities

At HPE Discover 2021: The Edge-to-Cloud Conference, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, announced a new set of capabilities and solutions for Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) designed to streamline network operations and maximise IT efficiency for enterprises.

Updates include new AIOps, IoT and security features for Aruba Central the cloud-native, AI-powered network management and analytics platform that sits at the heart of Aruba ESP as well as additions to the Aruba CX Switching portfolio that are purpose-built for the Intelligent Edge.

With these advancements, IT can more easily extend the network from edge-to-cloud all enabled by a seamless, unified infrastructure that delivers new levels of agility and simplicity, which are especially important in today’s highly distributed enterprise environment.

The circumstances of the past year have made an indelible impact on the enterprise and challenged traditional business models. Early on, organisations had to adapt quickly to changing requirements to ensure business continuity. Today, armed with lessons learned from the past year, enterprises are not only adapting to and thriving amidst new business realities, they are also increasing investment in technologies that will yield a more flexible and resilient IT infrastructure to prepare for any major business disruptions that may occur in the future.

Another major consideration that enterprises are grappling with is the distributed nature of business today. Not only are applications and workloads distributed across the data centre and the cloud, but users themselves are dispersed across campus, data centre, branch and remote worker locations. Meanwhile, the network has also become more fragmented, with multiple architectures and disparate management tools that impede IT service delivery across these distributed locations.

The resulting IT complexity can offset the intended benefits of adopting technologies such as IoT and cloud, while negatively impacting employee productivity and the end customer experience. With organisations undergoing digital transformation, IT teams are under more pressure than ever before to automate and implement technologies and solutions that streamline operations and reduce IT complexity.

Cloud-native management capabilities for a unified infrastructure

One way to reduce IT complexity is to deploy a unified infrastructure, one that can be centrally managed via a single point of control. Customers can realise this network simplification through ongoing advancements to Aruba Central and ArubaOS 10 (AOS 10), a unified network operating system that brings together WLAN and SD-Branch capabilities.

In this manner, IT can effectively manage a distributed network environment across microbranch, branch, and campus environments and deliver a high-quality user experience using a single architecture, orchestrated from a single management console.

New cloud-native management capabilities in Aruba Central, which also serves as the foundation for HPE’s Compute Cloud Console announced, include:

  • Self-healing AIOps that deliver on the promise of closed-loop remediation, so problems are automatically surfaced and fixed before end users or business performance are impacted, without requiring any manual effort on the behalf of IT operators
  • A new IoT Operations service that extends network monitoring capabilities to sensors, connectors, and other IoT infrastructure, along with an integrated app store that enables customers to deploy best-of-breed applications from Aruba IoT partners in a few clicks
  • New cloud-based authentication and policy capabilities that provide automated, secure network connectivity for end users across a wide range of devices, including SIM-enabled clients providing a seamless user experience while easing operations for IT admins who manage network access

Working in concert, these advancements further Aruba’s vision of delivering a unified infrastructure and new levels of operational simplicity so that IT teams can redirect precious resources to more business-critical areas.

“With over 17,000 district-issued devices spread across 16 sites serving 14,000 students, our organisation is about as distributed as you can get,” says Jesus Orozco, system administrator at Santa Barbara Unified School District. “In a school district like ours, where device connectivity is a critical element to learning, network downtime is simply not an option.

Aruba technology gives us the ability to proactively manage the entire network from one centralised location, making it easier for us to diagnose and solve problems before student learning is impacted. We’re excited about the new advancements in Aruba Central and ArubaOS 10 in furthering our goal of delivering the fast, secure and always-on connectivity that keeps our students connected and engaged.”

As part of Aruba ESP, Aruba Central has experienced significant growth. Today, Aruba Central manages over 100 million client endpoints and 1.5 million devices across 100,000 organisations around the world.

Extending network reach to adapt to the needs of the distributed enterprise

To better support customers with their network connectivity needs, Aruba is expanding its flagship CX Switching portfolio to include two new series of switches, specifically:

  • The Aruba CX 4100i, a family of ruggedised switches designed to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh environments, well-suited for industrial IoT applications that require always-on PoE and high-performance wired connectivity
  • The Aruba CX 6000, a cost-effective, layer 2 solution purpose-built for remote offices and the SMB market

These new CX switching lines extend the reach of the cloud-native AOS-CX operating system and provide enterprises with the flexibility to embark on new company initiatives and take advantage of new business opportunities at their own pace.

“The developments of the past year have shown us that the distributed enterprise is here to stay, especially as organisations seek ways to maximise flexibility and build resiliency into their businesses in order to adapt quickly to whatever challenges may arise,” says Bob Laliberte, senior analyst and practice director at Enterprise Strategy Group.

“Our research has shown that enterprises are accelerating their digital transformation initiatives and prioritising projects that enhance productivity, security and collaboration, however, these highly distributed environments create more IT complexity. Therefore, there’s a real appetite in the market for technologies and solutions that leverage data and automation to increase agility and streamline operations.”

Availability and pricing

The new software advancements to Aruba Central and new CX switches will be available in Fall 2021. Starting list prices for the Aruba CX 4100i series and the Aruba CX 6000 series switches will be US$4,999 (€4,191.16) and US$1,049 (€879.48) respectively. Both solutions are available as-a-service, either as a managed service or via GreenLake for Aruba.

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