Aruba Networks Unveils AI-Powered Edge Services platform, 'ESP'

‘Why can't [networks] see beyond the horizon to address issues before they impact the business? The network could and should do more,’ says Aruba's Patrick LaPorte.


Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, has a new cloud-based edge networking platform to help businesses identify and solve problems at the edge of the network.

The Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP) can analyze data across domains and identify any issues or abnormalities and self-optimize, all before users notice any impact. The platform can also find and secure unknown devices on the network, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company announced during its Aruba Atmosphere 2020 virtual event.

Aruba is also enhancing its Aruba Central platform to give enterprises the ability to do cloud-managed networking, including wireless, wired, SD-WAN, across all IT environments at scale, for the first time.

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The networking specialist's series of announcements couldn't have come at a better time as customers grapple with remote working and brand-new use cases. At the same time, businesses are recognizing the value of the data that is being generated at the edge and they want help converting that data into outcomes, said Patrick LaPorte, senior director of cloud and software solutions marketing for Aruba.

[Related: Aruba Networks' Keerti Melkote On COVID-19 ‘Accelerating’ Network Transformation Connectivity in Crisis ]

The common piece of the entire IT environment is the network, LaPorte said. "The network could and should do more," he said. "Why can't networks self-heal, self-optimize, even self-secure, and why can't they see beyond the horizon to address issues before they impact the business?"

That's where Aruba ESP comes in, he said.

For partners, Aruba ESP ties the entire networking portfolio together, including the infrastructure layer with switches and access points, the policy layer with Aruba ClearPass and security, and the services layer, like onboarding, provisioning, analytics, and location-based services. Solution providers can then use Aruba Central to deliver these valuable services across data centers, campus environments, and remote user locations.

AEC Group, an Oakdale, Pa.-based solution provider and Aruba Platinum partner, has been using many disparate platforms and tools to manage a customer's IT environment; a disjointed experience and "sizable" challenge for any partner with a managed services business, said Sean Troy, vice president for AEC Group.

The company is using Aruba ESP as a unified dashboard in which to manage IT environments on behalf of some of its customers. AEC is also extending the platform to their end customers that prefer to maintain their own IT environments. The platform is letting AEC bring on new services that may be critical to a customer's environment, such as security and user behavior analytics services, Troy said.

"When you look at what [partners] can do and the speed we can deploy a solutional architecture to customers that have a spread-out geography, it's going to be a huge value add and very profound as we move forward with edge solutions," he said.

Aruba AIOps, in which Aruba ESP is built, gives insight into root cause issues and provides recommendations for fixing the issue with 95 percent accuracy, LaPorte said. "This gives our partners the confidence to react to and fix issues faster than they were before, including before the business even complains about the problem," he said.

The Aruba Central platform now gives give enterprises the ability to do cloud-managed networking, at a "tremendous scale," which has been challenging to do, LaPorte said. The Aruba Central platform, along with the operating system of the networking devices, had to be upgraded to work better together to address scalability challenges, he said.

"Now, we're looking at being able to provide customers that have upwards of 100,000 devices, to be able to manage that infrastructure from the cloud," he said.

Aruba's CX switch line, which it announced in October, have also been integrated into Aruba Central platform, LaPorte said.

Aruba and HPE in March introduced a series of new offerings that will help 5G and Wi-Fi 6 technology play well together at the enterprise edge, including Aruba Air Pass and HPE 5G Core Stack.