Aruba collaborates with Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation from edge-to-cloud

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company in collaboration with Microsoft, announced two new solutions that enable organizations to accelerate their digital transformation from edge-to-cloud by delivering deeper integration between Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) and Microsoft Azure.

Announced at Microsoft Ignite 2021, the first solution is Aruba IoT Transport for Azure, a service that enables IoT devices connected to Aruba access points (APs) and controllers to bi-directionally communicate with the Azure IoT Hub.

In addition, Aruba announced the introduction of the Aruba Central cloud management platform hosted on Azure, bringing Aruba’s enterprise-grade cloud networking solution, with more than 1 million devices already under management, to Azure.

Expressway for IoT data

IoT devices are the eyes and ears of any smart facility. When powered by a secure, cloud-native infrastructure, the value of the data they collect increases exponentially, especially when the infrastructure has the ability to provide data that interacts seamlessly with business and facility applications.

The better instrumented a facility is with IoT devices, the more hyper-aware it becomes, thus yielding better, richer insights, which can then be utilized across the infrastructure in support of business objectives.

Yet, securely and economically implementing IoT monitoring and control of devices across a site can be challenging. The breadth of data and its sources, the interface with legacy IoT devices that use non-interoperable protocols, securing the data path, and the prohibitive cost of implementation are just a few of the hurdles that organizations may encounter when embarking on a facility modernization project.

Working closely with Microsoft, Aruba developed the Aruba IoT Transport for Azure service – the first of its kind for general purpose applications – to address these challenges.

The Aruba IoT Transport for Azure multiplies the power of Aruba ESP by seamlessly enabling the secure, bi-directional movement of data from IoT devices connected to Aruba APs and controllers, enabling customers to take advantage of the vast array of services and applications available in Azure.

Aruba IoT Transport for Azure eliminates the need for an intermediate gateway, server, or application, thus reducing processing latency. Additionally, the solution allows customers to run IoT systems and services over their existing Aruba infrastructure, thus reducing the time, cost and risk of developing homegrown or customized solutions.

This frees customers to focus on instrumenting facilities, achieving hyperawareness, and deriving deeper insights from their business processes.

Security is always front-and-center when it comes to IoT because many IoT devices are fundamentally untrustworthy. The Aruba IoT Transport for Azure was designed from the grounds up with security as a cornerstone.

Flexible, built-in credential management and authentication policies protect against security threats on both the northbound data plane and southbound control planes.

Enterprise-grade cloud networking for Azure

Technology research firm IDC states that by 2022, 50 percent of infrastructure deployed will be in critical edge locations, and by 2024, over 75 percent of infrastructure in edge locations will be consumed or operated via an as a service model.

Yet, managing distributed infrastructure as a service requires an extensible, secure, and massively scalable platform. Aruba ESP combines unified infrastructure for IT, IoT, and operational technology (OT) devices, a Zero Trust security framework, and AIOps to deliver an automated, cloud-native platform that continuously analyzes data across domains to predict and resolve issues at the network edge.

A critical element of Aruba ESP, Aruba Central is a cloud-native service designed to unify management of campus, branch, remote and data center networks. Aruba Central on Azure will allow IT administrators to manage and optimize the network from a single point of control.

“Edge networking and IoT have had a profoundly positive impact on businesses, however, their recent convergence has surfaced interoperability challenges across platforms, applications, and systems,” said Michael Tennefoss, vice president of IoT and Strategic Partnerships at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

“Simplifying the integration of edge IoT and cloud services using the advanced cloud capabilities of Aruba ESP with the extensibility and power of Microsoft Azure overcomes these challenges. And it does so without sacrificing security, manageability, or reliability.

“The ubiquity of Azure, and its 99.99 percent regional availability, makes the solution attractive to customers worldwide that want better informed decisions and continuous process improvements.”

“IoT helps organizations make more intelligent decisions—so they can be more efficient, more resilient, and provide better experiences to customers and employees,” said Sam George, corporate vice president of Azure IoT at Microsoft.

“Our collaboration with Aruba simplifies the process for IT Administrators who are adding IoT devices to their traditional enterprise environments, allowing them to use their existing Aruba network to connect devices to Microsoft Azure IoT Hub in a bi-directionally secured way. It’s a cost-effective, seamless path to powerful transformation.”

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