Aruba Agile NaaS Offers A ‘Partner-Centric’ Approach, Partners Say
‘It just feels partner-centric, like the partner has a role, which is obviously important for us. … With [Agile NaaS], you’re really truly in a partnership going in to bring the best of both parties to a given customer,’ one Aruba partner tells CRN of the company’s Agile NaaS approach.
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, unveiled Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) capabilities for customers and channel partners to acquire, deploy and manage on the popular HPE GreenLake platform with a monthly subscription.
The company unveiled its Agile NaaS and a new Service Pack enhancement at Aruba Atmosphere 2023. Agile NaaS, according to the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, is a framework to help customers understand their business priorities and implement new consumption choices for networking services via the HPE GreenLake platform.
“What we’ve learned from customers is that one size doesn’t fit all. And that’s the whole point of Agile NaaS,” Larry Lunetta, Aruba’s vice president of WLAN and security solutions marketing, told CRN.
[Related: Aruba Simplifies, Speeds Up IoT Data Migration Into Microsoft Azure]
Agile NaaS is not a product, but rather a “strategic approach” for Aruba and its channel partners to work with customers to understand what their priorities are related to deployment and operating the network, given the business initiatives they have, Lunetta said. The “recipe” of questions that customers can answer to create their own flavor of NaaS include: Does the customer want to use a third party or do a self-managed offering, does the customer want to do a network refresh or an incremental upgrade, does the customer want to manage the network from the cloud or premises-based environment, and does the customer want to “pay by the drink” or have a predictable monthly bill?
Partners can go through these decisions with customers and then Aruba can offer up recommendations on how the customer can acquire a NaaS solution, Lunetta said.
“The whole idea here is to let customers think through what their priorities are across each of these dimensions and when they’re done, they’ll have a set of requirements that we’ll help them fulfill with our NaaS solutions,” he said.
The “beauty” of the GreenLake platform is that it offers a pay-as-you-grow model for customers and a recurring revenue opportunity for partners, said Jason Coclanes, named account manager of networking for PIER Group, a Jasper, Ind.-based solution provider and Aruba partner.
“The [customer] doesn’t have to foot a large expense up front while not using all of that today and growing into it eventually, but they’re still paying for it,” he said. “It offers a lot more flexibility across the entire Aruba portfolio.”
For the PIER Group, which stands for Partners In Education and Research and caters to education and research customers, five- to seven-year refresh cycles are common, Coclanes said.
“That’s a capital expense that could be up into the $10 [million to] $30 million range. It’s hard for [customers] nowadays to be able to have that kind of a budget for a single full refresh. But what the as-a-service model provides is the ability to upgrade and refresh as the product comes out for the same dollar amount,” he said.
Aruba’s new Service Pack on HPE GreenLake for Aruba networking has been designed with the partner in mind, Lunetta said. The latest is a new Network Policy NaaS Service Pack that’s based on Aruba’s ClearPass network access control offering. The Service Pack adds a new standardized NaaS network policy offering to complement eight previously introduced wired, wireless and SD-Branch NaaS Service Packs in 2022.
“Partners are at the forefront for us in terms of scaling our NaaS business. We very much want our channel partners to use this framework as well to engage both the technical team, the networking team and the line of business in terms of what their business objectives are and how the network can help,” he said.
“It just feels partner-centric, like the partner has a role, which is obviously important for us,” said Joel Grace, senior vice president of IT infrastructure and cloud practice for Sayers, a Vernon Hills, Ill.-based solution provider. “With [Agile NaaS], you’re really truly in a partnership going in to bring the best of both parties to a given customer.”
Enterprises are looking for overall efficiency in ordering hardware and software, deployment and management, all while keeping costs down, Grace said.
“The thing that resonated with me was just in terms of how agile the model is and how you define what that mix looks like for a given customer,” he said. “There’s recognition on the part of Aruba to give customers flexibility because they’re all very different. Some want you to fully manage IT, some don’t, some want co-managing where [partners] do all the dirty work, but they still want to have control over it.”
HPE GreenLake for Aruba networking Service Packs are available for order by channel partners across 15 countries including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. The new Network Policy Service Pack will be available for order in the third quarter of HPE’s 2023 fiscal year, which begins in May.