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Aruba Central basics key for Atmosphere attendees

IT pros like to check out cutting-edge technology, but they say Aruba Central basics like device onboarding and data privacy are most important for doing their jobs today.

LAS VEGAS -- Some IT professionals attending HPE Aruba's Atmosphere user conference are less interested in the show's flashiest technology than in learning more about improvements in the basics of managing the wireless LAN.

On Monday, attendees serving clients with limited budgets, such as school districts, prioritized getting nuts-and-bolts training on Aruba's flagship Central management console. Device onboarding and data privacy were among the more critical topics drawing IT experts.

Eric Manthei, managing director of Sabyr Consulting, said leading his wish list is the need to find ways to smooth out the device onboarding process in Central and make better use of its mobile application. All the southeast Texas school districts the IT consulting firm serves use Central.

"We're interested in the esoteric and pie-in-the-sky stuff as well, but ultimately, if it's not useful to the customers yet, then I'm only incidentally interested in it," Manthei said.

On Tuesday, Aruba introduced its latest set of Central services, NetConductor. The tool collection creates and manages virtual extensible LANs to help companies scale out distributed cloud computing environments. NetConductor uses AI to manage and optimize VXLANs.

Ralph Bogoczek, a senior network architect for BMW Group in Germany, said he would like to use Central's cloud version, but it doesn't meet the European Commission's data privacy standards.

"We definitely would like to see a cloud solution that fits us," Bogoczek said. "At the moment, I don't see that it fits that, so that's the reason why we are going to Central on-prem first."

Jeffrey Lawrence, a network engineer at Houston-based Insperity, simply wants more support transitioning to Aruba Central. His company, which provides outsourced human resource services, started using controller-based Aruba hardware, mainly switches and wireless equipment, just two months ago.

"We are at the conference trying to learn more about Central, but training sessions are geared more towards Central only," Lawrence said. "Whereas if you're talking about switches or wireless, it's controller-based, so the tools don't really match up."

A new trend attractive to Michael St. Amour, a technical architect at Saturn Business Systems, is Aruba's as-a-service offerings. Clients of the New York-based computer support and services company are adopting more SaaS and cloud-based services. Therefore, they would benefit from a subscription to Aruba ClearPass to manage network access control.

"The announcements [Aruba] made last week that expanded how much Greenlake has under its umbrella have been a huge step in the right direction," St. Amour said.

HPE introduced the option of subscribing to Central under HPE Greenlake's as-a-service consumption model.

Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, as well as covering community news for Boston Globe Media.

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