Aruba, Siemens Partner To Accelerate IT, OT Network Convergence

Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, has partnered with German engineering giant Siemens to bridge IT and operational technology networks — a move that could help solution providers accelerate Internet of Things and digital transformation projects.

The companies unveiled the strategic partnership Monday, saying that it will combine Siemens' industrial Ethernet network components with Aruba's wired and wireless LAN infrastructure to help enterprises address cybersecurity, reliability and other issues found in converged IT/OT networks.

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Aruba, based in Santa Clara, Calif., and Siemens plan to work with their networks of channel partners to push out integrated solutions. Resources offered through the partnership include pre-sales consulting and engineering, professional services, managed operations and maintenance services and post-sales support.

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“Working together for nearly three years, Siemens and Aruba have addressed the OT/IT divide through technology integration, backed by validated reference designs," Keerti Melkote, co-founder and president of Aruba, said in a statement. "The resulting solutions are ideal for a variety of industrial applications and are backed by both Siemens’ and Aruba’s support teams."

The announcement comes as IT and OT personnel struggle to work closely together on IoT projects, according to a recent survey by 451 Research. The survey said only one-third of OT practitioners "cooperate closely" with IT on IoT projects while a smaller group said they are in "active conflict" with IT over such initiatives.

The two companies said their integrated network solutions have been tested with interoperability and documented in validated reference designs for easier installation, better security and improved efficiency. As one example, they said Aruba's 360 Secure Fabric for IT networks can be combined with Siemens' "Defense in Depth" OT concept to provide integrated network security.

"The cooperation between Siemens and Aruba is an important step to complement our industrial networks offering, which is one of the pillars of the digital enterprise, with the additional IT offering from Aruba," Klaus Helmrich, a member of Siemens' managing board, said in a statement. "Customers will benefit from future-proof, integrated communication networks ensuring availability and security."

In an interview at The Channel Company's Best of Breed conference in Philadelphia last month, Melkote said the next big wave in IT will be around IoT, which is about "data first and experiences second."

"No matter who you are or what business you're in, IoT is going to be a core part of what that business is going to do," he said. "And so sensing the world with data and making sense of the data are massive opportunities.”