How does Aruba’s as-a-service approach differentiate from rival tech vendors’ approaches to consumption-based IT?
There are three areas that we offer as-a-service. The first is SaaS, so any software like ClearPass, or network management, or anything else, we’ve moved that to a subscription model with Aruba Central. So that’s sort of number one, where the hardware is still procured in the traditional CAPEX way, if you will, and the software becomes as-a-service. The second option is effectively a managed service. This is a traditional managed service that our customers are familiar with, where you package the hardware and the software, along with the operational management of the network into one -- [and] that becomes a managed service offering. Many of our partners are doing that -- they have an MSP option in Aruba Central to become an MSP and then deliver the service on top. The third option, which is relatively new, is the idea of consumption, which is network as-a-service where you can pay for what you use and it’s very similar to what GreenLake does for HPE. Those are the three lanes and options that customers have and underpinning all of this is our financial services capability.
What makes [ours] different is basically automation. What we’re doing is not just repackaging what we have into a financial offer as-a-service, but actually, using AIops in the background really automate the delivery of the service. That ultimately is going to be the way that we can economically make it work. Network as-a-service has been pretty common in the wide area network. People buy from telcos all the time, either for the home or for the enterprise. We’re used to buying and paying on a per-month basis, but we’re not used to doing that in the LAN environment, whether it’s for switching or for Wi-Fi. The nuances of delivering service in a building to a bunch of people requires typically requires typically a helpdesk [and] some skilled IT personnel on site to be able to troubleshoot and manage those large networks. In order to do it as-a-service, you need to have a pretty high degree of automation so you can do remote management [and] remote monitoring. And that’s really what we focused on with Aruba Central and AIops. idea was to really build up that automation capability, allowing either Aruba or our partners, more importantly, to be able to deliver that service without necessarily having that help desk on site for their own personnel on site. And that is, I think, the big breakthrough, which is what makes it ultimately profitable for partners. Because if you’ve got to put people on site, you’re basically billing on billable hours. People know that business model. It’s not that different. The business model is really attractive when we’re able to automate and deliver that remotely, just like cloud providers are doing from the cloud. The idea is to do the same thing for on-premises solutions.