Aruba unveils cloud-native Edge Services Platform

The company said the Aruba ESP predicts and resolves problems at the network edge before they happen.

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On Tuesday, the Hewlett-Packard company Aruba announced the release of the cloud-native Edge Services Platform, its latest offering that uses AI to help handle problems at the network edge before they happen.

The platform is designed specifically to address issues enterprises may face with their campus, data center, branch, and remote worker locations, especially now considering the changes organizations have had to make since the coronavirus outbreak.

Patrick LaPorte, senior director of cloud and software solutions marketing for Aruba, explained in an interview that Aruba ESP seeks to give customers "an automated, all-in-one platform that continuously analyzes data across domains," while also identifying anomalies and self-optimizing. 

"The Intelligent Edge is the catalyst that will spark limitless possibilities for organizations 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, analyze, 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."

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LaPorte described Aruba ESP as a platform 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. 

Part of why the company has come out with Aruba ESP now is because of the explosion of data analytics driven by IoT, AI and automation, it says.

"We're well into what we call the data driven era. What we're talking about is that research shows that within the next two years, over half of all data is going to be created outside of the data center or cloud. And it's going to be created by roughly 55 billion IoT devices connected worldwide," LaPorte said. "A lot of businesses are combining all this unstructured data with a new generation of applications and compute and networking that work in concert with the cloud but actually operate at the edge of the business to convert this data in real time into new outcomes, whether it's new experiences or greater efficiencies."

An example of this that LaPorte used was Starbucks, which uses its app to give customers the ability to order drinks as well as offer deals, specials and rewards. To use all of this unstructured data at the edge, enterprises need networks that can take advantage of AI to process these volumes of information.

"They're using data to help drive customer loyalty and attract new customers. That's what we mean when we say using data to convert new experiences into new business outcomes. That helps them drive revenue but at the same time there are tremendous efficiencies that can be gained on the backend," he added. "Aruba ESP turns information into knowledge."

One of the key aspects of Aruba ESP is the AI ops feature, which LaPorte said can react, predict and preempt issues while optimizing environments and giving increased capacity. 

To help explain how it is most useful, he told the story of a customer who had a storefront near a busy intersection. They were having trouble with their network, and when looking closer, the answer became clearer. When people walked by the store, their smartphones would automatically probe the network and having to respond to each probe request was causing an extra load on the network. 

"We were able to determine, by looking at all of our customer data, that 30% of our customers had this issue. The issue first had to deal with figuring out who was a legitimate user and who was an illegitimate user, like a person just walking by," LaPorte explained.

"The system provided the right adjustment to the probe threshold that eliminated 95% of those people who were just passing by, which then increased the capacity of the customer network by 25%. This was an insight the customer didn't know and we were able to identify the anomaly, do analysis, find a prescriptive recommendation and provide it to the customer to implement." 

The platform also comes in handy at a time like this, the company says, when networks may have hundreds of people signing in remotely or in different locations. The unified infrastructure aspect of Aruba brings all aspects of a network onto one single platform, from wired to wireless, SD Wan and more. 

"Everything we're trying to do is to help our customers deal with the current headwinds of today with the global pandemic," LaPorte said. "That's why the ability to support remote workers and eventually, as we start to come back, at whatever level, we have the ability to use our access points and locationing tech to help a business maintain adequate social distancing which will be a challenge as we come back to work."

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