ARUBA ATMOSPHERE — The "Innovation Edge" for the 2,500 attendees at this year’s Aruba Atmosphere conference is the power of mobile, cloud and IoT. Day one of the event focused on applications, real-life use cases as per company customers, and a look at the strategic road map ahead.
Keerti Melkote, Aruba founder, senior vice president and general manager, kicked off his keynote session, reiterating the company’s continued commitment to partners and business customers. Dominic Orr, Aruba's president, retired at the end of January.
The four tenets of Aruba’s commitment since being acquired by HPE two years ago: continued focus on the Airheads Community — a place where Aruba Airheads connect, innovate and share their networking knowledge and enthusiasm; going to market with partners; an open and multivendor architecture; and a customer-first, customer-last culture.
The sold-out event boasts a record number of partners in attendance — 550; 1,600 Airheads; and almost 100 CIOs and IT executives, among other attendees.
Melkote focused on how the company has innovated over the past year — in particular, on Wi-Fi, which is where the focus will be for years to come. He talked about the delivery of a complete 802.11ac portfolio, and Zero-Touch Provisioning for local controllers; innovation on ClearPass Policy Manager for improved security, and more recently, ClearPass Universal Profiler. The vendor also added Aruba Central for delivering the Aruba stack (Aruba Central for Managed Services — cloud-based delivery platform); Virtualization of ArubaOS 8; (being rolled out now); created the idea of a Mobile First platform to be consumable by partners and consumers via APIs; and, introduced increased automation via consumption of these services via APIs.
With that, Aruba customers and senior IT executives from Time Warner, Tractor Supply Co., and United Airlines individually addressed the audience on how they’re leveraging a mobile architecture, aka the digital workplace experience, which goes beyond Wi-Fi, or infrastructure alone, to the broader picture of how these companies relate to the workplace. They also pointed out that their digital workplace journey is an extension of their brand.
Melkote also noted that Aruba is "eating its own dog food," or is building its own living lab — a mobile-first digital workplace at its Santa Clara, California, headquarters. With pervasive, always-on Wi-Fi, the company promotes open collaboration and open workspaces, a streamlined visitor experience; seamless collaboration tools; and location aware apps and spaces with rich, analytics-driven insights.
Finally, Melkote told the audience that the company is taking its software assets and rebuilding in the new paradigm.
“Over the next 18 months, we will deliver the entire mobile-first stack as a mobile-first platform cloud service; that will be from either a private cloud or from us to our partners," he said. It will be scalable, open and API-driven.
What this means for partners is the opportunity to build unique value for their customers, particularly around software and creating customer value via software skills.
Just this past November, Aruba launched its new Partner Ready for Networking Program, a new Mobile First Platform — a joint HPE and Aruba partner program.