Aruba took the wraps off a platform the vendor says will use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help customers manage and protect edge network resources.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s network subsidiary introduced Edge Services Platform (ESP), which can analyse telemetry data generated from WiFi or network switching gear and use it to automatically optimise connectivity, discover network problems and secure the overall edge environment.
ESP, which the company said has been under development for over four years, not only builds a data lake of a customer’s data centre, campus, and SD-WAN information but also combines it with statistics from some 1.5 billion data points generated daily by Aruba devices worldwide.
ESP then applies its AI and machine learning algorithms to troubleshoot issues before they become problems, said Miles Davis, senior director of global solutions for Aruba.
“ESP also accesses data that today too often resides in siloes and brings that out where it can be accessed, analysed and used in automation to improve provisioning and security,” Davis said.
On the security side, ESP supports Zero Trust security principles such as segmentation and policy-based firewall and access control to ensure the identity of a wired or wireless endpoint.
It enforces policies applied to those endpoints with an application-aware firewall and adapts to new threats by sharing information with other security platforms and automatically adjusts policies to networked devices, Davis said.
ESP can be delivered on-premises, in the cloud or as a managed service from Aruba partners or via network-as-a-service through HPE GreenLake. ESP information can be gleaned with Aruba’s cloud-based network-monitoring console, Aruba Central, which was upgraded to support ESP.
For example, Aruba Central has been enhanced with simplified navigation, advanced search, and contextual views to present multiple pictures of information through a single point-of-control.
One new feature, AI Search, uses a natural-language-processing data-discovery service that lets IT teams query it in plain English to grab user and device data from the data lake and if applicable, the root cause of an issue.
Aruba's ESP announcement focuses on a number of areas that IDC has identified as trends driving the enterprise networking market in 2020 and beyond, said Brandon Butler, senior research analyst of network infrastructure with IDC.
The first is the use of machine learning and artificial-intelligence algorithms to improve network operations management. "Given the scale and complexity of modern networks, enterprises are increasingly looking to replace manual, ad-hoc management with automated systems that can improve agility and security,” Butler said.
“ML/AI algorithms that are integrated with the management platform provide a number of advantages: more quickly identify performance or security issues; use natural-language search to find problems; and rely on automated management platforms for guided remediation of issues that do arise.
"A key to enabling this is Aruba's data lake within Aruba Central that powers these capabilities, and does so across the wired and wireless infrastructures.”
Aruba's ESP announcement also represents a significant step forward in the company's multi-domain management strategy, Butler said.
"Building off the launch of the CX Series of switches last year, Aruba has developed a strong cloud-based, controller-less platform in Aruba Central that manages not just the wired and wireless LANs, but increasingly extends management into the data centre and out to the WAN. Aruba Central has increased capabilities to provide network engineers with detailed visibility, analytics and problem resolution across these disparate networks,” Butler said.
A new branch-office switch
Aruba has also extended its CX Series switches.The company added the Aruba CX 6200 aimed at enterprise branch offices and campuses. The stackable boxes feature built-in analytics and automation support, Aruba stated.
Aruba also rolled out a developer hub where customers and developers can go to access APIs and other information about developing ESP applications.
They will be of interest to WLAN customers looking for more cohesive management of their switches as well or looking to extend their Aruba Central management to the WAN via Aruba's SD-Branch platform,” Butler said.