Aruba Infuses More AI into Network Management

    Aruba, a unit of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), has launched a series of updates that, among other things, bring additional artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to the management of network operations.

    Announced during an online HPE Discover conference, the shifting of network management to the cloud is making it feasible to apply AI to increasingly automate network management at scale, says Steve Brar, senior director for product marketing at Aruba.

    The AI capabilities surfaced via the Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP) make it possible to proactively address issues before they impact end users, notes Brar. IT teams can now extend the AI capabilities provided by ESP to create self-healing workflows that automatically remediate issues surfaced by  machine learning algorithms.

    With many of those end users now working from home, the quality of the networking experience is more crucial than ever. In fact, Aruba is anticipating a wave of upgrades being made to wireless access points in the home that, in many cases, will be funded by organizations, noted Brar. The more distributed those switches become, in terms of physical location, the more critical it will become to automate network management, added Brar.

    Also read: How AI Will Be Pushed to the Very Edge

    Moving to the Cloud

    To rise to that challenge, IT teams have been shifting the management of networking to the cloud. In the case of Aruba that has meant employing an Aruba Central platform that is accessed as a cloud service. As more customers employ that service it then becomes possible for Aruba to collect enough data to train AI models to identify potential performance and security issues. Aruba Central is being employed to manage over 100 million client endpoints and 1.5 million devices across 100,000 organizations around the world.

    As part of an effort to expand that base, Aruba has also added two switches to its portfolio. The Aruba CX 6000, a cost-effective, layer 2 switch is a more robust offering for branch offices or small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), while the Aruba CX 4100i is a family of ruggedized switches designed to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh environments.

    Aruba’s CX 4100i series is a family of ruggedized switches designed to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh environments.

    While Cisco and Juniper Networks remain the largest providers of networking equipment, it’s clear that since HPE acquired Aruba the number of organizations that have deployed its wireless access points and switches has increased considerably. “There’s a definite shift happening in the networking industry,” said Brar.

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    Automating Network Management

    Part of Aruba’s appeal is that the company, unlike Cisco, is not trying to tie its networking gear to subscription, noted Brar. Only the software needs to be licensed after a switch or access point is acquired.

    One way or another, however, the management of networks is about to become a lot more automated as machine learning algorithms start to eliminate more rote tasks. An IT professional will always be needed to manage the network, but the days when every switch needed to be provisioned and managed via a command line interface is finally coming to an end. It may just take a little longer for network managers to get comfortable with the idea AI is here to augment rather than replace them.   

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    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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