Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

HPE Aruba solves edge problems before they happen

Steve Rogerson
June 17, 2020

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, has introduced the Aruba ESP edge services platform, an AI-powered, cloud-native platform that predicts and resolves problems at the network edge before they happen.
Built on AIOps, zero trust network security, and a unified infrastructure for campus, data centre, branch and remote worker locations, ESP delivers an automated, all-in-one platform that continuously analyses data across domains, ensures SLAs, identifies anomalies and self-optimises, while seeing and securing unknown devices on the network.
It is designed to deliver a cloud experience at the edge and can be consumed either as a service in the cloud or on-premises, as a managed service delivered through Aruba partners, or via network as a service through HPE GreenLake. Tailored for varying economic requirements, users may also procure it with flexible financing options via HPE Financial Services.
The technology market is entering an era of data analytics driven by IoT, AI and automation supported by compute and modern networking to power applications and workloads that work in concert with the cloud but that operate at the edge. As a result, enterprises are generating massive amounts of unstructured data at the edge, which, if analysed and acted upon properly, can be used to improve efficiencies, enhance experiences and enable new business outcomes.
The key to turning these real-time insights into meaningful actions is to analyse and process these data at the point of origin – the edge – where people, devices and things connect to the digital world. This ability to generate actionable insights based on data is especially pertinent during this pandemic where businesses, employees and, subsequently, the corporate network must adapt to rapidly evolving business and workplace needs.
Using unstructured data at the edge requires a network that leverages AI via network telemetry to process that data at a rate and volume beyond what’s possible at human scale. It also requires an infrastructure with an AI-powered sixth sense that proactively identifies impending issues, recommends an accurate resolution and leverages automation to turn that into logical actions, all without manual intervention.
Through continued analysis of network, user and device insights, Aruba ESP turns information into knowledge, helping organisations accelerate transformation and maintain business continuity via a single, cloud-native platform that can reside either on-premises or in the cloud, and secures and unifies the infrastructure across the enterprise.
AIOps is the critical component of Aruba ESP, which uses AI and analytics to identify exact root causes with greater than 95% accuracy, auto-remediate network issues, proactively monitor the user experience, tune the network to prevent problems before they occur, and use peer benchmarking and prescriptive recommendations to optimise and secure the network continuously. In a live deployment, using AIOps resulted in a 15% increase in throughput capacity and reduced issue resolution time by nearly 90%, resulting in a vastly improved end user and IT experience.
A unified infrastructure consolidates all network operations for switching, wifi and SD-WAN across campus, data centre, branch and remote worker environments under Aruba Central, a cloud-native, single-pane-of-glass console that correlates cross-domain events to reduce issue resolution time and manual errors. In addition, Aruba’s unified infrastructure approach provides a choice between controller services on-premises or in the cloud, delivering flexibility at enterprise scale.
Zero trust network security combines built-in role-based access technology, dynamic segmentation and identity-based intrusion detection to authenticate, authorise and control every user and device connecting to the network, while still detecting, preventing, isolating and stopping attacks before they impact the business.
“The intelligent edge is the catalyst that will spark limitless possibilities for organisations and enterprises that want to accelerate transformation and ensure business continuity by leveraging their technology investments as their greatest asset,” said Keerti Melkote, president of Aruba. “Built upon Aruba’s guiding principles of connect, protect, analyse and act, Aruba ESP is the culmination of years of innovation, R&D, Aruba ingenuity and, most importantly, input from our valued customers whose honest feedback and insightful perspective has helped to make this platform a network that knows.”
Aruba ESP is a scalable, full-stack, cloud-native platform for wired, wireless and SD-WAN environments that unifies multiple network elements for centralised management and control. It is based on open standards and enables integration with third-party services.
Aruba Central runs mission critical networks for over 65,000 users and now, with new ArubaOS services, the controllerless cloud-based platform provides full-stack management and operations for wired, wireless and SD-WAN infrastructure of any size across campus, data centre, branch and remote worker locations to be consumed on-premises or in the cloud.
With access to a common data lake via Aruba ESP, the latest version of Aruba Central has been enhanced with simplified navigation, search and contextual views to present multiple dimensions of information through a single point-of-control, virtually eliminating the need for disparate tools to collect and correlate information across numerous domains and locations.
Aruba has a track record of bringing AI-powered innovations to market, including technologies such as Aruba AirMatch. Based on modelling data from over one million network devices generating over 1.5bn data points per day, Aruba’s AI Insights reduces troubleshooting time by identifying hard-to-see network configuration issues and providing root-cause, prescriptive recommendations and automated remediation to optimise network operations continuously.
Aruba Central now offers AI Search, a natural language processing data discovery service that enables IT teams to eliminate swivel chair investigations by using simple, English language queries to extract comprehensive user and device information from Aruba ESP’s common data lake to present relevant information in context to resolve a problem quickly. For more complex issues, AI Assist uses event-driven automation to collect and post all the relevant data for both the internal help desk and Aruba TAC technical assistance centre.
Enhancements to Aruba Central enable user-centric analytics from User Experience Insight to identify client, application and network performance issues faster.
To help organisations accelerate edge transformation, Aruba has expanded its CX Switch portfolio to include the Aruba CX 6200 switch series. This series brings built-in analytics and automation capabilities to every network edge where user and device connectivity occurs, generating insights that can be applied to informing better business outcomes. The CX 6200 switch further expands Aruba’s end-to-end CX switching portfolio, letting users run a single operating model from the enterprise campus and branch access layer to the data centre.
Aruba is introducing the Developer Hub, a resource for developers that includes Aruba APIs and documentation to streamline the development of edge applications leveraging the open Aruba ESP platform.
“Our large-scale network spans multiple campuses and learning centres that run performance-stringent applications to keep our students, academics and researchers connected and productive,” said Ron Gardner, senior infrastructure engineer at James Cook University. “We have chosen to take a cloud-first approach to operating our infrastructure and the enhancements to Aruba Central and ArubaOS give us the visibility and insight to simplify operations while reducing our equipment footprint and securely manage our large campuses and distributed locations from the cloud, ultimately allowing us to proactively identify and address issues before they disrupt operations.”
To address the varying business and technical requirements of organisations looking to harness the power of the intelligent edge, Aruba has expanded its consumption and procurement options. These include network-as-a-service through HPE GreenLake or users can procure Aruba ESP with flexible financing options via HPE Financial Services. For example, customers can acquire the technology they need today and pay only one per cent of the total contract value each month for the first eight months, deferring over 90% of the cost until 2021.
“With the size of our infrastructure and massive volume of data being generated at the edge, we needed a way to identify, fix and fine-tune the network automatically,” said Brandon Stratton, ES network administrator of information technology at the University of Houston. “Aruba’s expertise and approach with AI-based solutions, like NetInsight, represents a pragmatic path for us to analyse and then act on the insights we capture.”