Antonio Neri: HPE Bringing ‘True Private LTE’ With 5G-Aruba Integration

“The opportunity is to integrate 5G and Wi-Fi in this new spectrum to deliver a true private LTE, so that’s where the integration of 5G with Aruba makes complete sense,” said HPE CEO Antonio Neri.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise is poised to push the intelligent edge envelope by integrating 5G connectivity into Aruba Central, said HPE CEO Antonio Neri.

“The opportunity is to integrate 5G and Wi-Fi in this new spectrum to deliver a true private LTE, so that’s where the integration of 5G with Aruba makes complete sense because I can provision that fully integrated experience from the cloud and manage from the cloud as these things scale massively,” said Neri in a question and answer session at the 2019 Best of Breed Conference. “We already have half a billion devices managed from Aruba Central, so you’re talking about massive scale.”

San Jose, Calif.-based HPE plans to launch an integrated 5G Aruba Central solution sometime next year, said Neri.

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The Aruba Central cloud-based network management platform will open the door for partners to seamlessly provide cost-optimized Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for either 5G or traditional Wi-Fi based on the cost per workload, said Neri.

[Related: HPE CEO Antonio Neri: Why VMware Cloud On Dell EMC Is ‘Irrelevant’]

“You need to have a platform that scales to provide the right connectivity for the right use case. 5G is going to open new use cases, but the reality is that 5G will not solve every problem because – whether it’s cost or whether it’s bandwidth or whether it’s power – the reality is [5G] is not the answer to everything,” said Neri.

In fact, Neri said, there will be dramatic cost differences between 5G and Wi-Fi networks that partners will need to take in consideration when deploying IoT solutions. “Wi-Fi is still one-fifth the cost of the projected 5G costs. So it’s 5-cents per gigabit versus 1-cent per gigabit,” said Neri.

With 40 million devices coming online every day, Neri said 5G combined with traditional Wi-Fi and the cloud is going to create brand new Internet of Things applications and use cases. Key to driving those applications is Aruba’s built-in security capabilities, with its ClearPass network security platform already providing IoT, security and location-based services. “You go from billions of people and billions of devices to trillion of things. This scalability matters, and security has to be built in the core,” he said.

In terms of the channel, Aruba Central will make the race to 5G a reality for partners. “It will eventually become a way for [partners] to address the 5G needs of the customer together with the rest of the connectivity needed,” said Neri. “The thing you will need to sell is only one thing, one thing only: Aruba Central.”

Eric Tabor, chief of staff for ISG Technology, an Overland Park, Kan.-based HPE partner, said Aruba’s innovation engine with 5G will be a huge benefit for the channel “particularly in IoT and the edge.”

“The cloud has been a big thing, but the next big 'cloud' is the edge and IoT because all of that data being pushed out,” said Tabor. “So that edge is the next 'cloud,' and being able to supplant some of the carriers from a 5G perspective is very interesting to us. There are billions of devices getting added each year. We’re looking at where Aruba can play and what those opportunities create for our clients.”

The 5G integration with Aruba Central makes the cloud management platform the centerpiece of HPE’s intelligent edge strategy. The platform is armed with cloud-based monitoring and control, advanced analytics, automated mobile and IoT device security, as well as Wi-Fi and SD-WAN support.

“So whatever it is, you will have one single experience to provide the right connectivity to the right use case. And also, soon after, we’re going to include the provisioning of edge computing for the same platform, because with that comes connectivity and then comes the processing of the data these devices and the Internet of Things are generating every single day,” said Neri. “And we know that the cloud is moving to where the data is created because physically it’s easier and, secondly, it’s cheaper.”

The announcement comes on the heels of HPE outfitting Aruba Central with AI-based analytics, which enabled partners to proactively optimize an SD-WAN rollout from the platform.

Telecommunication providers face a big challenge transitioning to and operating in a cloud-native world, said Neri.

“[Telcos] are going straight to the cloud, and therefore, the software-defined wide area network becomes the way to provision at scale way faster, in minutes, any of those branches that need to do business in a cloud-native world,” said Neri. “The opportunity for us is to participate in a very large [total addressable market] where we drive an integrated experience in a true cloud-native world to power this market called intelligent edge. It’s fascinating.”