Aruba Atmosphere Digital keynote: Co-founder challenges organizations to "Define your edge"

Aruba's president outlined the steps necessary to harness data in a way that generates actionable insights and introduced the Aruba Edge Services platform.

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Image: Screenshot/Aruba

The Aruba Atmosphere 2020 Digital Event kicked off on Tuesday with an opening keynote from Keerti Melkote, co-founder and president of Aruba. His presentation, titled "Define your Edge," addressed more than 20,000 viewers, outlining the steps necessary to successfully utilize data at the edge introducing the new Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP).

SEE: Special report: From cloud to edge: The next IT transformation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The Hewlett-Packard company Aruba was another organization forced to shift its annual conference online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The physical event typically meets three times—in America, Europe, and Asia—but was instead reconstituted in a digital webinar. 

Melkote acknowledged the chaos happening around the world, emphasizing how the edge will be instrumental in work and life post-coronavirus. 

"We are living now in the decade of mobile and cloud. Technology, it seems, has pervaded pretty much everybody," Melkote said. "It's no longer confined to the data rooms like it used to in the mainframe era or confined to our office computers like it used to be in the client server. It's now in the hands of every individual on the planet.

"The new normal, as we come out of it, is going to be even more pervasive than that, where technology is going to exceed not only the palms of our hands, but really get into all the places that we live in, and that we work in, and that we play in--we call this the edge," Melkote said.

We are now entering an era of data. As we enter this next decade, data will begin being generated, collected, and computed at the edge, opening up new experiences and operational efficiencies, Melkote noted. 

How to harness the power of data at the edge

The new normal is going to focus on actualizing the potential of the edge, according to Melkote. 

"The old saying that 'what got us here, won't get us there,' has never been truer because until now what we have built as technologists has been putting great amounts of computing power in the palm of our hands and connecting it over a network to applications that live deep inside the cloud," Melkote noted.

"We have automated the cloud to a great degree, but the clouds are big centralized data centers that bring together compute storage, networking, and create an infrastructure for applications to be built on top of," he continued. 

"The edge is the exact opposite: It is highly distributed. And now the problem becomes, how do you take technology--the same infrastructure technologies, compute storage, networking--and bring it together to harness the power of data at the edge?" Melkote asked. 

While the edge currently connects to the cloud, it is very expensive and difficult to push the amount of necessary data from that one space to the other. 

"There is a need for processing the data, right there, at the edge itself in order to generate those business outcomes," Melkote said. 

In response, Aruba developed a framework to internalize all of those components together and unlock the power of the edge. This framework consists of four steps: Connect, protect, analyze, and act. 

With those steps in mind, Melkote said there isn't a lot of technology on the market that is built for the sole purpose of unlocking that power. 

"We wanted to build a platform that allowed you to deploy these edges in a highly automated manner, just like you deploy data centers or how you use clouds," Melkote said. "And the only way to do that, frankly, is to leverage software and to leverage the power of the cloud itself. We set out to build a cloud native, software-defined architecture to power the intelligent edge."

Aruba Edge Service Platform

Aruba ESP is an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered, cloud-native platform that can predict and resolve issues at the network edge before they occur. The platform is an all-in-one, automated system that continuously analyzes data across sectors, ensures SLAs, identifies problems, and self-optimizes, while also recognizing and securing unknown devices on the network.

"It's about giving you that sixth sense about what is going on inside your intelligent edges," Melkote said.

Aruba ESP can either be used in the cloud or on-premises, accommodating any data storage situation a company might have, according to Melkote. 

Melkote went on to address how Aruba ESP fits into the framework of "connect, protect, analyze, and act," ultimately unleashing the power of the edge. 

Connectivity is accessed via Aruba ESP's unified infrastructure, which consolidates all network operations, whether it be on Wi-Fi and SD-WAN, in a data center, branch, or remote work environments. 

Protection is offered through ESP's Zero Trust Network Security, which combines dynamic segmentation and a unified threat management into one layer, Melkote said. The tool is able to identify every authentication, authorization, and user attempting to connect to the network, stopping attacks before they start.

The analyze and act layers of the framework are offered through AIOPs within ESP, according to Melkote. 

"Fundamentally, this is about surfacing issues, problems, and challenges that are happening on your network in a proactive way, versus you having to react to a phone call that the user has a problem or a device is unable to connect properly in your environment," Melkote said.

"The goal of AIOps is to reduce the meantime to repair by surfacing the problems proactively, giving you the opportunity to look at the data, diagnose if it's right, and then apply the right fix," Melkote said. 

AIOps uses AI and analytics to identify the root causes of issues, with more than 95% accuracy. It proactively monitors the user experiences, fine-tuning the network to prevent obstacles on the way. 

This technology is meant to help organizations adapt to the new normal after the pandemic, as  well as evolve with the changing technological landscape. 

"There is a new normal that we are going to get into," Melkote said. "That normal is going to be even more exciting than the normal of the past, with all the experiences that we can build around the intelligent edge and also the amazing new business outcomes that we can create for our businesses while practicing social distancing."

For more, check out Aruba unveils cloud-native Edge Services Platform on TechRepublic.

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