Aruba Networks officials are embracing the idea that having a developer ecosystem around their products will help accelerate the pace of innovation beyond what a single vendor can do.
Aruba, a subsidiary of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), is rolling out its Mobile First Platform, a software layer that uses APIs to enable third-party developers and businesses to quickly improve current applications or create new ones based on the vendor’s wireless networking technologies. With such trends as automation, the proliferation of mobile devices, data analytics and the internet of things (IoT), businesses need to adapt quickly to changes in the IT environment, according to Aruba officials.
The company is enabling that through the introduction of the software-based Mobile First Platform, which echoes what other tech vendors in networking and other segments are doing to make their technologies better suited for today’s environment. For example, IBM three years ago kicked off the OpenPower Foundation to attract third-party vendors and developers to create solutions on top of IBM’s Power chip architecture, believing that having multiple parties involved will drive innovation faster than having IBM alone do all the work.
Over the last 10 years, innovation in the mobile world is occurring every couple of months, but it’s been impossible to change the networking infrastructure to keep up with that pace, according to Ozer Dondurmacioglu, senior director of product and solutions marketing at Aruba. IT infrastructure refreshes tend to come every three to seven years.
“You need infrastructure that can adapt to the innovation every few months,” Dondurmacioglu told eWEEK. The Mobile First Platform is “designed to accelerate innovation with the large ecosystem we have rather than just have the innovation come from us.”
The Mobile First Platform comprises a range of Aruba technologies, including a new wireless operating system, ArubaOS 8, which offers the tools for developers to use to create new and enhanced software. The offering also includes Aruba’s ClearPass, Meridian and cloud-based Aruba Central offerings. It also involves not just Aruba and HPE officials, but also channel partners, technology partners and developers.
With ArubaOS 8, users can run the operating system as a virtual machine (VM) on an industry-standard server rather than having it tied to the network infrastructure itself. This simplifies the process of making changes within the infrastructure and allows for greater agility and easier scalability.
Enhancements to Aruba’s ClearPass software are designed to give customers greater insights into devices connected to the network, make it easier for third parties to integrate their technologies and for IT security personnel and developers to integrate cloud-hosted technology services. Dondurmacioglu said that before, ClearPass could be used with three separate API libraries.
Aruba’s ClearPass Extension make it easier for users and developers to integrate cloud-hosted technology services without having to do major code changes to the ClearPass software, enabling customers to more easily create automated workflows.
Aruba officials cited Intel Security’s use of the ClearPass Extensions to enable its McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator to more easily and quickly assess the security of such endpoint devices as smartphones. In addition, Microsoft is integrating its Intune technology with Aruba’s technology via ClearPass Extensions to give organizations greater control over the secure access they give employees to corporate applications and data. The integration will be available in the fourth quarter.
Aruba Unveils Software-Based Mobile Networking Offering
The company also is unveiling advanced Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) analytics into its Meridian Mobile App Platform. A new tool, Meridian Goals, uses data collected through BLE to give marketing and business development users more concrete information about how well their engagement campaigns are doing beyond just how long a customer spends at a particular location. In addition, through the latest Meridian release, businesses can enable customers and employees to share locations to improve the user experience.
Aruba also is improving Aruba Central, a subscription-based, cloud hosted network services offering that now offers not only a multi-tenant architecture but also a managed service portal for greater visibility into the network and easier management. It includes such capabilities as Aruba Clarity for predictive visibility into the health of the WiFi network and analytics to give users better insights into the presence of mobile users across different paces. A new Aruba Central mobile apps enables IT departments to easily deploy WiFi, wired and WAN routing infrastructure components.
Aruba also is offering a range of new ways to acquire and deploy the company’s new software-based technologies, including network-as-a-service (NaaS), managed service and cloud-based options that are more flexible and affordable. IDC analysts are predicting the NaaS market—which includes software-defined networking (SDN) and cloud-managed WLAN—to grow to more than $11 billion by 2018.
The Mobile First Platform and enhancements to ArubaOS, ClearPass, Meridian and Aruba Central are scheduled for availability in the fourth quarter.
Hewlett-Packard bought Aruba last year for $3 billion to add wireless networking capabilities to its larger networking ambitions. As she was explaining her decision to shed some businesses and narrow the focus of HPE on its core businesses, CEO Meg Whitman last week pointed to Aruba and its edge and branch office networking capabilities as key parts of HPE’s efforts moving forward.