Network be nimble, network be quick
“Networks must be adaptable and be able to innovate” is the key message coming out of WLAN provider Aruba’s APAC Atmosphere 2016 event in Singapore. With the push from mobile and cloud computing, network managers have to be agile and keep adapting to the changing needs of their users.
“The future is changing each element of the stack. Mobility, cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) are driving the changes in a new security framework,” said Dominic Orr, president of Aruba.
The next generation of users’- also known as GenMobile – experience over the WiFi network is a new challenge for network managers, who will have to rapidly adapt to changes. Long gone are the days when IT or network managers could determine what technology was used within the organisation. Nowadays it’s the end user who has the power.
“They can’t say they won’t change their technology for five years. They need to build an architecture that can adapt to take advantage of new technology,” added Keerti Melkote, founder and chief technology officer of Aruba.
Aruba’s Mobile First Platform was developed to do just that. It is a software layer that uses application programming interfaces (APIs) to provide third-party developers and business leaders network insights to improve applications and services.Network controls, network management, policy management, cloud networking, network analytics and location services sit in the software layer that can be installed on legacy or HP and Aruba network hardware.
The software based approach enables IT organisations to quickly respond to new requirements as they emerge. If you need a new protocol for network management, you just program that in, said Ozer Dondurmacioglu, senior director, product and solutions marketing at Aruba.
Organisations will be able to minimise capital expenditures, and maintain a competitive edge, using this platform.
Dondurmacioglu said that the Aruba Mobile First Platform will work on a legacy Cisco networking infrastructure, for example. It is a quick way for the customer to move to this model. But their experience might not be the same as if they used HP hardware.
A host of apps are already available on the Mobile First Platform which were developed by their third party ecosystem partners. Some of Aruba’s ecosystem partners include privileged access provider Kasada, automated guest WiFi onboarding specialist Envoy, end point security policy enforcement specialist Intel Security and guest engagement over WiFi specialist, Skifii.
Recognising the need for customers to stay nimble and adaptive, Aruba has also introduced a network procurement and consumption model to give enterprise customers more flexibility and choice in how they obtain and support their network infrastructure.
There is no longer a need for an upfront investment in networking infrastructure which has traditionally been a large capital expense. “Organisations will be able to go to Accenture and Deloitte and buy Aruba technology at a monthly fee with consulting and deployment service options,” said Dondurmacioglu.
There is also a cloud-based managed service offering for channel partners using Aruba Central – a subscription-based network services solution hosted in the public cloud. Aruba Central allows resellers of Aruba products to manage networks for multiple customers using a cloud-hosted dashboard.
One application for Aruba’s Mobile First platform technology is to build intelligent spaces in enterprises, that will revolutionalise how meeting rooms are booked and used. It will know which rooms are empty and which person is in the room. As Orr said, during his keynote presentation, a person’s identity is tied to their mobile device. So it’s not a stretch to develop technology to identify the occupier of a room as he or she crosses a threshold point.
Numerous other applications across the education, hospitality, healthcare and retail industry was also showcased during the event.