Just over a week ago HPE Aruba hosted EMEA Atmosphere 2018 at Amadria Park Resort near Šibenik, Croatia. We were lucky enough to attend, along with some of our valued customers, to understand Aruba's predictions for the market and its direction, as well as introducing their latest product announcements.
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What was very clear is that Aruba see their focus continuing in workplace-enablement, helping customers deliver the best service possible to their end-users. They are also stepping up even more on the security front as the "Intelligent Edge" becomes more and more of a reality.
A summary of the key points from the conference are below, if you'd like any more information on any of the topics discussed please feel free to get in touch via your account manager or using the button below.
The End User Computing & Mobility
Aruba has always focused on enabling mobility in the workplace whilst keeping security at the forefront of their minds. With multiple WLAN deployment and management options available they allow for flexibility and scalability to adapt as your business needs develop. This, coupled with the previously HPE branded ProVision range of switches, gives reliable, performant options suitable for almost any wired and wireless network.
The mobile-first mentality of Aruba is built for always on, wired and wireless infrastructure, this allows users and devices to move without being fixed and limited to a physical space. A rich array of APIs allows integration with various solutions so you can roam between APs without having to re-authenticate! This improves collaboration and freedom in a digital environment that's constantly growing, and doesn't have to be vendor specific.
Meridian is a key part of driving end user engagement via enabling indoor wayfinding and push notification capability on any Bluetooth enabled device, but also with the more recently added asset tag functionality, allowing organisations to track and locate key assets at a marginal cost.
One of the biggest unfortunate pains of working in an office is the ever-grinding problem of finding available meeting rooms, and when they are available, ensuring you've got the equipment you need. With Meridian API integration into both corporate and bespoke apps means you can track assets on a "step-by-step" map of the location, so considerable time can be saved for your users and cost efficiencies driven as a result.
Recently it seems focus has been on providing the tools to deliver a high-quality user experience and the portfolio is continuing to grow. NetInsight is a new product introduced that analyses network performance and through machine learning this will detect anomalies that generate configuration recommendations to finetune your environment. Impact validation then provides the overview needed to ensure that any changes made have had the desired effect. With HPE’s broader investment and focus on AI infrastructure management through InfoSight, this seems a great addition to the portfolio and should allow infrastructure managers more time to focus on innovation & modernisation, and less time troubleshooting.
In late March, Aruba announced the acquisition of Cape Networks, a solution that involves deploying sensors into an environment to test your Wi-Fi services and applications 24x7. A simple to use dashboard generates alerts and helps troubleshoot any potential issues. This enables network administrators to get a proactive view of network performance from an end user’s perspective and take the necessary steps to proactively help reduce the number of service desk calls.
With the addition of these two products to the portfolio, Aruba are arming you not only with the tools to provide end-to-end visibility of how your network is performing, but the tools to proactively resolve issues before/as they occur.
Aruba 360 Secure Fabric
This is a phrase Aruba are using more and more each day, but to you and me the key components are ClearPass and IntroSpect:
- ClearPass is a well-established Network Access Control (NAC) solution that supports multi-vendor networks, with the launch of ClearPass 6.7 released in the last 12 months. Some minor new features were added/improved but it was primarily the licencing model that was given an overhaul to make the solution more available. A key part of this was achieved by including the advanced guest features such as sponsored-registration in the base ClearPass policy manager appliance and Access licences.
- IntroSpect, however is the newer, arguably more exciting part of this offering. In February 2017 Niara Inc. was another acquisition made, with the product being rebranded around a year ago and recently coming to the European market place. IntroSpect is a User and Entity Behaviour Analytics (UEBA) solution that uses machine learning to pick up on small changes in user or device behaviour indicative of an attack that would often go undetected by traditional security solutions. This offers extra reassurances in the ever-growing world of IoT, but also alerts you when unusual behaviour occurs by individuals leaving less to chance than with previous technologies.
HPE Looking Forward
With the introduction of 802.11ax moving ever closer (official date TBC), serious considerations need to be made to the wired part of the network to unlock its full potential. As AP throughput speeds continue to increase, the bottleneck is now moving towards the wired part of the network. Aruba's Smart Rate switches allow for 2.5 and 5 Gbps speeds to be delivered on a PoE+ copper connection, alleviating bottleneck issues on the wire whilst maintaining cost-effectiveness.
The new 387 AP was also announced, which is a point-to-point Access Point designed to deliver "wireless fibre". For those deployments where cabling is too disruptive or costly, a pair of these access points can form a wireless link to extend your network, delivering speeds of 1 Gbps over a 500m link distance.
Another key USP of Aruba is the Airheads community surrounding the brand. A wealth of real-world experience, support and sharing of designs/ideas. One that really stood out was the use of an API to integrate with ClearPass to create an automated chat bot that manages your network! The AruBot.
Finally, a new Aruba Support Portal (ASP) has been launched to make managing cases, accessing new firmware and even making community suggestions much easier than on the existing My HPE Networking Portal, staying in line with their moto of "Customer First, Customer Last".
If you'd like to discuss any of the above topics, or any of Aruba's products please get in touch with your Softcat account manager, or contact us using the button below and we'll be more than happy to help.