HPE's Aruba Launches 'Compelling' Mobile Platform, Consumption Models To Drive Recurring Revenue

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has been on a networking tear since acquiring wireless superstar Aruba Networks last year. HPE’s networking business has skyrocketed a whopping 55 percent year over year to $1.74 billion during the first six months of its fiscal year, ended April 30.

HPE is now taking Aruba to the next level with a slew of releases aimed at increasing partner profitability, including the new Aruba Mobile First Platform and flexible procurement and consumption models that shift enterprise spending from Capex to Opex.

’The Mobile First platform is very compelling, especially in the current market environment,’ said Chad Williams, vice president of research and education at Matrix Integration, a Jasper Ind.-based solution provider ranked No. 294 on CRN’s Solution Provider 500. ’Customers are continuously looking at ways to best leverage cloud and Internet of Things technologies to benefit them and their businesses.’

[Related: "Best Of Both Worlds": HPE-Aruba Unveil First-Ever Joint Partner Program]

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The Mobile First Platform, scheduled to become available in the fourth quarter, uses open APIs to provide third-party developers and business leaders network insight to improve applications and services.

Aruba said the offering enables partners to innovate in campus and branch networks while also connecting data from mobile and Internet of Things devices—such as the device type, user identity, application usage and real-time location details to improve existing applications or create new ones.

’There’s quite a lot of ability for them to differentiate themselves relative to other partners on the marketplace through the flexibility of this platform,’ said Chris Kozup, vice president of marketing for Aruba.

Partners said the platform provides a level of flexibility and investment protection that enables customers a high level of comfort in their current investment strategies. The foundation of the platform is built on ArubaOS 8.0, the company’s newest operating system that allows developers to leverage contextual information from the infrastructure via APIs and enables greater programmability with the ability to upload custom application signatures in real-time.

Flexible Procurement And Consumption Models

As enterprise spending shifts from Capex to Opex, HPE-Aruba is giving channel partners the ability to provide customers more flexibility and choice in how they buy and support their network infrastructure. ’This is a complete shift here toward a fully Opex model that is serviced and provided by the partner,’ said Aruba’s Kozup.

The three new consumption and procurement models are Network as a Service, Managed Service and Cloud-Based Networking Options. The models, available in the fourth quarter, give organizations customized options for obtaining and managing their networks with Aruba’s portfolio for Wi-Fi, BLE, wired and WAN connectivity, along with consulting, support and technology services from partners.

Partners are strategizing on ways to increase recurring or managed revenue and Aruba’s tailored as-a-service solutions will be a huge profitability boost for the channel, said Matrix’s Williams. ’This model allows partners to offer solutions that are expandable on an as-needed basis, which is exactly how customers like to consume IT these days,’ Williams said.

NaaS allows organizations to immediately adopt the most modern network infrastructure—designed for new business applications, with secure connectivity for IoT and improved user experiences via actionable, real-time insights. In North America, Aruba’s wired, wireless and branch office VPN services can now be delivered via AT&T Wi-Fi enterprise subscription-based solution with integration to other AT&T broadband and VPN services for enterprise and SMB customers.

’It’s a logical progression that Aruba’s product line would start to develop those customize solutions for partners—for us, we absolutely need it,’ said John Barker, CEO and co-founder of Versatile Communications, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and longtime HPE and top Aruba partner. ’It’s standing by itself as the superior alternative to Cisco now. I’m very bullish on Aruba and HPE prospects.’

Barker said HPE-Aruba are in an ’advantageous’ position right now with these launches.

’Cisco just announced [5,500] layoffs. It still remains to be seen how this Dell-EMC [acquisition] plays out. So we feel as a partner that we now have a strategic advantage over competition in the next couple of years,’ said Versatile’s Barker.

Partners agreed that the innovation rate at Aruba is leaving its networking competitors in the dust.

’The rate at which Aruba continues to innovate, while improving the ease of doing business, continues to separate them from the competition,’ said Bill Tracy, director of solution architecture at Clackamas, Ore.-based Structured Communication Systems, ranked No. 241 on CRN’s SP500 list. ’The Mobile First Platform and new managed service offerings allow us to create recurring revenue streams and drive improvements for our customers.’