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Aruba Vs. Cisco Intelligent Edge Face-Off, Why Aruba ESP Is Smarter: Keerti Melkote

Keerti Melkote, founder and president of Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, says Cisco simply does not have an answer for Aruba’s AI-based Edge Services Platform.

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What is the Aruba vision for the intelligent edge?

At the highest level, there is a big shift in enterprise architecture from what used to be a data center-centric world with all the intelligent property and intellectual property inside the data center. The enterprise IT landscape was around bringing all the users and devices to the data center. That is how all companies historically were built.

Today it is very clear that applications are no longer just in the data center. They are in the cloud—be it private cloud or public cloud or SaaS. But it is a totally distributed landscape in terms of applications.

The edge likewise is also fully distributed. It is no longer just offices. It is very clear that we’re taking calls from homes. So the home is like the branch office now. We’re all working from home. And so work has been reimagined. And it’s not just users. It’s any place where people are engaging machines or are engaging in doing productive work like factory floors, warehouses, kitchens and restaurants.

Everyplace has a front office, which is where you serve your customers and the back office, which is where you make your stuff. So we saw the edge as the place where there is going to be significant growth, driven by the need for the highest-level digital transformation, acceleration to the cloud and driving more operational efficiencies and better customer experiences.

So we just felt at that point that there was going to be vast amounts of technology and infrastructure spend to improve businesses. Technology is going to be at the heart of every business. There is no longer a business that is not a technology business. If you are not a technology business, you are likely not going to be in business. That’s my fundamental belief.

As a result, we reimagined what does it take for an enterprise to be this edge to cloud natively. And we just realized that is a departure from any anything we have done in the past. What got us here will not get us there in the future. That was a fundamental realization.

So we started to say, ‘How do we do things differently?’ We basically started with Aruba and said, ‘Why not take everything wireless? Why does everything have to be plugged in and wireless is an overlay? Wireless should be the primary [network].’

The same thing applies to the wide-area network. Wide-area networking should be all over the internet. Then we need to build out MPLS so we can actually create this SD-WAN that is a flexible overlay that connects all the edges to all your applications in the cloud. That is a disruptive approach. Every time, we have taken a disruptive approach and basically said there is a much better way. Even with switching we did that. We basically said that switching is the backbone but it hasn’t been reimagined. With Aruba CX Switching we reimagined the switching layer.

Our edge to cloud platform is really is the infrastructure for the next decade. That is how we think about it. And, and as you deliver infrastructure for the next decade today, it needs to be totally flexible.

It needs to be as a service consumed from the cloud. If customers want it on-premises—and there are many customers who still want it on-premises because there might be regulatory issues or loss of the land, which means the data cannot leave the country, which requires you to be on-premises or you might have other constraints that require you to have an air gap between the internet and your operations. The federal government and DOD [Department of Defense] is an example of that.

So we want it to be flexible. Of course cloud, but also on-premises. And finally, consumption-based. So you meter it and you buy it based on the drink as opposed to having to put down a lot of Capex infrastructure up front.

How do you solve for that in an imaginative future-oriented world? And I just fundamentally believe edge is where the pivot point is for making these intelligent decisions. That’s the reason we made the bet on the intelligent edge.

Silver Peak is a great addition to the portfolio to allow us to continue to make very smart, intelligent decisions from the edge to the cloud.

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