IT organisations face increasing pressure to boost the agility of their parent organisations by being agile themselves. Within IT departments, network teams must meet SLAs (Service Level Agreements) that deliver modern, high levels of service, with increasingly limited resources. The breadth of challenge that this creates is illustrated by the responses to recent Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) research surveys of networking professionals. When asked about their top networking challenges today, organisations reported some common challenges. More specifically, the respondents identified the increase in complexity and the need for automation as top challenges across the campus, data centre, and WAN environments. As the environments become more distributed, security also becomes a top challenge, as does performance across the WAN or at Edge locations.[1]

According to Warren Gordon, ARUBA/HPE Business Unit Manager at Duxbury Networking (local distributors of ARUBA/HPE technology): “Legacy networks often pose significant challenges for Duxbury customers. One key challenge is the lack of AI/ML technology and network operations understanding, which hinders their ability to determine the impact of problems on productivity or customer satisfaction. Additionally, the complexity of legacy management systems necessitates a manual process that involves guesswork when identifying and resolving issues. This often results in less agile network operations and increased costs, as on-site visits to remote or branch locations are required for rollouts or upgrades. By not leveraging modern cloud-native solutions, customers face limitations in their network functionality, hindering their agility and resource optimisation.”

“As networks are required to connect highly distributed environments and continue to become more complex, so, too, do the difficulties created by these legacy management systems. A lack of AI/ML technology and understanding of network operations makes determining the impact of problems on productivity or customer satisfaction a highly manual process that involves much guesswork. Legacy management tools can make network operations less agile and more costly by requiring IT staff to make on-site visits to remote or branch locations for rollouts or upgrades,” says Aviv Kaufman, Principal IT Validation Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

He adds that, to address these issues, many IT organisations are turning to cloud-based network management. By providing centralised, single-pane management and global visibility into networks, cloud-based solutions can improve business agility and operational efficiency, while also reducing risk.

The Aruba Central solution

Aruba Central is an AI-powered, cloud-native network management solution. Cloud-native solutions are modern applications designed to run on scalable and secure microservices in the public cloud. Aruba Central provides a single point of visibility and control for wireless, wired, WAN, and remote network infrastructure. The operations of campus, branch, remote, data centre, and IoT networks combine in a single dashboard and benefit from workflow automation, end-to-end orchestration, and advanced security features.

Key benefits of Aruba Central include:

·       Centralised workflows — Provision, configure, deploy, maintain, and optimise network infrastructure and services from a single cloud-based dashboard.

·       Full-stack AIOps — AI-powered insights and automation for faster identification and resolution of network- or user-impacting issues, plus the prioritisation of areas that will benefit from optimisation improvements.

·       Built-in security — Role- or policy-based access control for users and clients; AI-driven profiling and classification for all connected endpoints in real time, including IoT and BYOD; integrated IDS/IPS for advanced threat intelligence; and protection.*

·       Simplified management of remote work/WFH — Deep visibility and insights into VPN-connected clients, and those connected to Aruba remote access points, thereby extending secure, in-office-like experiences to employees anywhere they go, all via a minimal footprint. EdgeConnect Microbranch architecture provides WAN-like functionality in an access point — no need for a separate gateway — making it ideal for smaller offices, ad hoc locations, and users at home.

·       Open APIs and webhooks — Promote network programmability and automation by making it easy to integrate with other IT tools such as Slack, ServiceNow, Ansible, and more.

·       Flexible consumption and deployment models — SaaS, on-premises, network-as-a-service, or managed services help organisations address a range of technical, staffing, and financial needs without compromising on IT business objectives.

*IDS/IP applies to SD-Branch only.

Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) completed a quantitative economic analysis of Aruba Central, applying a proven method for understanding, validating, quantifying, and modelling the economic value propositions of a product or solution.

Kaufman says that ESG’s economic analysis revealed that Aruba Central provides its customers with significant savings and benefits in the following categories:

·       Business agility and faster time to value.

·       Improved operational efficiency.

·       Reduced risk.

Alongside its assessment of the functionality of Aruba Central, discussions between ESG and existing users found that the platform has significantly increased the agility of IT teams across multiple sites, and has also improved the agility of their wider organisations in terms of: 

·       Business agility.

·       Networking agility.

·       Rapid, no-touch onboarding of new locations and staff.

·       Flexibility of deployment.

“Aruba Central increases the efficiency of IT departments in multiple ways, including a single management system that covers wired, wireless, and WAN connections; high levels of automation; and AI-driven insights and alerts,” says Kaufman. As well as reducing network management costs, the resulting improvement to IT service levels boosts the operational efficiency of wider organisations through:

·       Single point of visibility and control.

·       AI-driven automated monitoring and optimisation.

·       Improved end user experience and productivity.

·       Simplified IoT management.


“Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and existing Aruba Central users have identified multiple ways in which the platform reduces risk. These include significant reductions in the frequency of network outages, faster resolution of problems, and increased protection against cyber-attacks for both traditional and IoT endpoints,” says Kaufman. Benefits include:

·       Reduced network outages.

·       Faster remediation of issues.

·       Integrated support.

·       Automated, AI-based security.

·       Security policy management.

“Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) has validated that as an AI-powered, cloud-native management platform, Aruba Central handles all aspects of network implementation and administration, providing automation, orchestration, intelligence, and security across all types of network technology, location, employee roles, and devices. Our models predict that Aruba Central can lower the expected cost of network-related administration and labour by up to 67% and provide a total cost of network management that is 40% lower than traditional networks relying on hardware controllers and siloed network management tools,” says Kaufman.

“Providing the simple, continuous, and stress-free experience that end users demand, together with the performance and agility expected out of today’s modern applications, is a near-impossible task when relying on legacy management tools designed and optimised for use in decades-old enterprise architectures.

“To keep pace with the demand of modern users, applications, and businesses, network admins need to reduce complexity, and accelerate operations with cloud-native network management, automation, and AI-driven intelligence. If you are looking to simplify management of your wired, wireless, and WAN devices while modernising your network to provide seamless, scalable, and secure operations, ESG recommends that you consider Aruba Central,” says Kaufman.

“By leveraging Duxbury Networking's exceptional technical expertise, led by industry-leading professionals like Andre Kannemeyer, Chief Technology Officer at Duxbury Networking, we highly recommend working closely with our dedicated technical team to seamlessly adopt a cloud-native network solution. Our end-to-end services offer a comprehensive range of support, including expert technical advice, guidance on use cases, and smooth implementation of Aruba Central. By partnering with us, customers unlock the full potential of centralised management, streamlined operations, enhanced security, simplified remote work management, and AI-driven insights,” says Gordon.

[1] Source: Enterprise Strategy Group Research Report, Network Modernization in Highly Distributed Environments, November 2021.

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