The technology market undergoes a major transition about once every decade and the last two decades were centred on delivering ubiquitous mobility followed by the move to cloud-based applications.
The world is now entering an era of data analytics-driven by IoT, AI and automation supported by compute and modern networking to power a new breed of applications and workloads that work in concert with the cloud but that operate at the edge.
As a result, enterprises are generating massive amounts of unstructured data at the edge which, if analysed and acted upon properly, can be used to improve efficiencies, enhance experiences and enable new business outcomes.
In March, Microsoft introduced Azure Edge Zones and Azure Private Edge Zones; Google Cloud partnered with AT&T to release several 5G edge-computing solutions; and IBM announced edge services, run on Red Hat OpenShift, in May.
Now, it is the turn of Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.
Morten Illum, Vice-President for EMEA at Aruba, said in a webinar that an intelligent edge platform - where people, devices and things connect to the digital world - is even more relevant in the wake of Covid-19 as organisations have to fundamentally change how they serve both their customers and employees, in different ways and places than before.
“So, the right tools for automated, agile and secure network management have become more important than ever. Customers need full visibility and control of their networks and Aruba ESP (edge services platform) launches at a time when the need for digital transformation is accelerating,” he said.
The ability to generate actionable insights based on data, he said is especially pertinent today during this unprecedented time in history where businesses, employees and, subsequently, the corporate network must adapt to rapidly evolving business and workplace needs.
According to research firm Gartner, 75% of the data will be generated and processed at the edge by 2025 from just 10% in 2018.
Network visibility is key
By providing a single-pane-of-glass view and automating many of the basic functions of network management, Illum said that Aruba ESP equips organisations to innovate more effectively, informed by growing volumes of data analysed at the edge of networks.
“The platform is a combination of many years of R&D, investment and customer research. We have done a tonne of work to make sure that it is right. It is going to transform how customers are going to manage their work.
“It will equip customers the tools they need to accelerate the next chapter of their digital transformation. Much of that change depends on having agile, scalable, cloud-native and secure network management tools,” he said.
However, he said that the complexity of the networks is really increasing and this trend has been accelerated by the rise in remote working due to Covid-19, as network managers seek better visibility and control over networks that are becoming more disparate and complex.
“The platform can support more adaptable workplaces that enable remote working, social distancing requirements and track and trace solutions. We call it an intelligent networking platform because it is powered by AI (artificial intelligence), and designed to identify and resolve network problems automatically– often making adjustments before an issue arises, all without manual intervention,” Illum said.
Many network engineers today spend hours manually connecting the dots to identify problems while ESP does the same work automatically – with 95% accuracy, he said.
Built on open standards
In the next two years, Illum said that 50% of the data will be generated outside of the cloud or data centre, at the edge of the networks which means that organisations need to be able to process data securely, analyse and derive insights from it.
Lars Kolendorf, EMEA Senior Director for Solutions and Enablement at Aruba, said that Gartner estimates that about 60% to 70% of all network operations are done manually and 2% of them creates errors and takes the network down.
“Most network architectures today are all built from the 80s and 90s and they all require a lot of manual work and configuration changes. Optimised for use with Aruba WiFi, switching, SD-WAN and security solutions, Aruba ESP is based on open standards to enable integration with a variety of third-party solutions and services,” he said.
A recent Aruba survey found that more IT managers are planning to increase their investment in
AI-based networking technology (31%) post-pandemic than scaling it back (17%).
By harnessing the data created at the edge, Illum said that organisations can improve efficiency, learn more about their customers and employees and create the best possible experience for them – developing new revenue streams in the process.
Aruba’s ESP can be purchased through Capex or Opex and deployed through on-premise, cloud or as-a-service depending on the budget, regulatory compliance or vertical use case.