HPE Names Vishal Lall Aruba COO To Step Up Edge Computing Charge


Hewlett Packard Enterprise has moved its chief strategy officer Vishal Lall into a new role as chief operating officer of the Aruba intelligent edge business unit.

Lall, who has played a key role in HPE mergers and acquisitions reporting directly to HPE CEO Antonio Neri, said in a LinkedIn blog post that his primary objective in the new job is to accelerate sales growth.

[Related:HPE CEO Antonio Neri On HPE Versus Cisco’s Edge Computing Strategies]

"Innovation possibilities at the Edge are endless," said Lall. "As the number of connected devices grows exponentially, so does the need to compute vast quantities of data produced by these devices. The proliferation of these devices and the need to analyze the associated data is opening up some new markets – Edge converged infrastructure, specialized networks, IoT (Internet of Things) security, data management and Edge analytics and ML (machine learning) – to name a few."

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Lall's appointment comes with some projecting that the edge computing market will be even bigger than the cloud computing market.

"Some estimates suggest this market could grow to be trillions of dollars," said Lall. "No matter which way we look at it, the market opportunity is expected to be massive – and HPE is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this exciting opportunity."

The move comes with HPE accelerating its investments in the intelligent edge business. Last June, Neri pledged to invest $4 billion in intelligent edge technologies and services.

The management shift comes just a little over a week after HPE moved the financial reporting of the data center networking business from the Hybrid IT product business to the Aruba Product and Services business.

"This will help us even more effectively bring a complete networking portfolio to market," said Neri in a conference call with securities analyst on Thursday. "Investments like this will enable us to continue to be the leader in the edge."

For the first fiscal quarter ended Jan. 31, HPE Aruba product sales were up three percent year over year, while Aruba's services sales were up 20 percent year over year.

Overall, HPE's Intelligent Edge business sales were up five percent to $686 million.

Neri said he expects two recent Aruba product introductions- the new 510 wireless access points – Aruba's first product targeted at the WiFi 6 (802.11ax) market and the Aruba 8325 switches- to drive "accelerated growth in future quarters."

One of Aruba's recent big wins: an Indiana University deal for a complete network refresh to support 109,000 students with indoor and outdoor access points, switches, Aruba ClearPass for security, and Aruba NetInsight for security analytics.

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 115 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500, said he was heartened by HPE's move to double down on operations in the Aruba business by moving Lall to the COO position.

"Operations management is vital," he said. "Without operational efficiencies even the best vision can fail very quickly. Operations are a vital part of any business. It's great to see that HPE is putting operational eyes and talent on this which is going to help the business be successful and hopefully drive more business for the channel."

Venero also praised HPE for moving the data center networking business together with wireless networking in the intelligent edge business unit. "That's a smart move," he said. "The core networking and edge wireless are common product sets that should be aligned together under a single leadership structure with a single vision."

Lall said he is "excited" about the "innovation DNA" and the 'Customer First, Customer Last' culture of Aruba.

"I am thrilled about this new chapter, and I look forward to working closely with (Aruba founder and HPE Intelligent Edge President) Keerti (Melkote) and team to leverage the full potential of our innovation for our employees, customers, and shareholders," he said.