Aruba Central Gets AI Infusion to Connect Network, Security Insights – CRN | Region & Cash

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Gina Narcisi

HPE’s flagship Aruba Central platform has been infused with four new AI capabilities that leverage the vendor’s vast data lake to provide partners and IT admins with more actionable network and security insights.





Aruba Central, Aruba Networks’ flagship network management platform, will now include a handful of new AI capabilities aimed at bringing network and security information together in one place for partners and IT admins.

HPE’s in-house networking specialist on Tuesday unveiled four new AI capabilities that have been integrated into Aruba Central, including Client Insights, Firmware Recommender, AI Search in Spanish, and Automated Infrastructure Predictions.

The idea is to give IT admins visibility and control from a single tool, Aruba executives told CRN.

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Businesses need all the AI ​​and automation they can get, and a lack of visibility into issues and diverse IT environments is a challenge, especially as many businesses struggle with remote users and a shortage of skilled IT candidates, said Trent Fierro, Senior Marketing Manager, Cloud and AIOps solutions marketing for Aruba.

More than 120,000 different customers send information into Aruba’s data lake, which consists of data from switches, access points, gateways and over 200 million different types of devices such as laptops, cameras or sensors. It also consists of data specific to more than 30 different industries. Fierro said Aruba believes it has the largest consolidated data lake, giving the company a unique advantage in providing network, security and application insights at a scale no other network vendor can.

“Because of all the data we’ve collected and the fact that it’s so broad, we believe it gives us unlimited opportunities to provide trusted automation,” said Fierro. “[And] We can basically tweak our models and look at new use cases, not just use cases that people are familiar with today.”

“What’s really interesting is that Aruba brings everything together,” said Ben Sterley, director of data services at Aruba partner Laketec Communications, Inc.

The “big” value that Aruba offers with its Edge Services Platform (ESP) and Aruba Central, ESP’s delivery platform, is the combination of switching, wireless, SD-WAN and user experience monitoring on a single platform, Sterley said. “That’s valuable because now when they start running all these algorithms, they have a lot more information to work with and a lot more transparency. In order to gain insights, you need information.”

AI injection

Client Insights, an access management feature in Aruba ClearPass, has been added to Aruba Central. The feature can identify and profile endpoints connecting to the network with up to 99 percent accuracy, even those without IT approval. The feature can help IT restrict unknown devices, Aruba said.

“This allows us to extend our story of network insights to where we can start talking about zero-trust security built right into AIOps,” said Aruba’s Fierro.

The new AI-powered Firmware Recommender feature gives IT the answer as to which firmware version to run for the wireless access points in their environments. The feature can reduce support calls and guesswork, and help implement new features and bug fixes faster.

AI Search, which has been part of Aruba Central for a number of years, is now available in native Spanish, Aruba’s second largest geographic user community. “It helps partners and our customers spot problems faster, and it also helps with this training process because I don’t have to translate from English to Spanish. It’s all done automatically for me,” Fierro said.

Automated Infrastructure Predictions uses Aruba’s AI Assist capability and Aruba Support to identify potential hardware and software infrastructure issues to take preventive action, which may consist of firmware upgrades or recommended hardware replacements. It sends logs to Aruba engineers, who can also use the information to identify patterns and make recommendations to resolve the issues.

Based in North Olmsted, Ohio, Laketec works with large corporate, college and state and local government customers, as well as some very small customers. The MSP needs these new capabilities to better serve all of their customers. It’s also beneficial for Laketec’s customer base to be able to access these new capabilities through their existing license and without additional investment, Sterley said.

Baking Client Insights into Aruba Central is a “fantastic” addition, he said. “I think it’s really powerful what they’ve done by also crowdsourcing some of the information and then sharing it among the organizations.”

Firmware recommenders and infrastructure predictions are reminiscent of HPE’s InfoSight tool for storage, Sterley said. “We’ve actually seen the value of these features through these applications in the past,” he said.

From the partners’ perspective, the new capabilities will better equip their customers for long-term hybrid work and new IoT use cases like pop-up retail, said Larry Lunetta, Aruba’s vice president of marketing for WiFi and security solutions.

“[There are] Big management and security challenges with IoT – these things get into the network outside of the purview of the security team on the IT team. So by automatically finding and identifying them, this is the ramp for the zero trust and SASE frameworks, where you can assign access rights and that traffic only goes where you want it to go,” he said. “That’s why AI applications are so important to security and that’s really unique. It is an opportunity for visibility, but above all it is a security check.”

Aruba Client Insights is now available. AI Search in Spanish, Firmware Recommender, and Infrastructure Predictions are available for early access and will be generally available in October 2022. Each of the newest features is included in the Aruba Central Foundation’s licensing, the company said.


    Find out more about Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is Senior Editor for the Network and Telecom Markets at CRN.com. Before joining CRN, she worked for TechTarget in the areas of networking, unified communications and cloud space. She can be reached at gnarcisi@thechannelcompany.com.


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