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Business as usual, says Aruba veep after Meg exits daddy HPE

Networking subsidiary insists everything is Just Fine

"No change to Aruba" was veep Morten Illum's public verdict on the news that Meg Whitman was stepping down from the top spot at Aruba's parent company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Aruba Networks was bought out for $3bn back in 2015, HP(E)'s biggest acquisition since the multibillion disaster that was Autonomy.

As we revealed not long ago, HPE has ditched the cloud server market and Aruba is lined up to attempt to recapture some of that ground.

Illum, Aruba's EMEA vice-president, was keen to tell The Register all about the firm's networking gadgetry.

On the Internet of Things front, Illum emphasised that, Bluetooth beacons aside, Aruba is most interested in the edge networking side, something that all of the major technology companies are betting big on. Illum said Aruba is all about "empowering the intelligent edge".

Although HPE also competes in the IoT and edge computing markets, Illum said the difference between the two is "very clear... even though there may be an overlap in portfolio, our common solutions are very well defined."

He added: "For Aruba, we're very much looking at industrial IoT and the ecosystem around that. Maybe that's where you get a perfect fit for hardware vendors."

When pressed on what Aruba sees as covered by the notoriously elastic term IoT, Illum said: "What we're trying to do is provide connectivity for those devices, whatever those devices are," emphasising Aruba's focus on security, particularly "controlling those devices and how they get into that network".

Ilum also talked about Aruba's machine learning and artificial intelligence products, good-humouredly heading off our suggestion that these are just the marketing buzzwords du jour.

"That's coming from our Neira acquisition," he said, explaining how it uses "machine learning to define security rules on a user's device: Its AI capability is to go in and look at those users who are on the network. If they don't behave like the planned behaviour is, through the learning cycles [the AI] has done, it'll give a warning."

EMEA countries where Illum sees good takeup of Aruba products include "the Nordics", which are "very tech-savvy", and "larger automotive countries such as Germany".

Future challenges include the ever-present EU GDPR regulations, which the UK is adopting in full despite Brexit – a topic that Illum steadfastly refused to be drawn on, though he does concede: "Until now I've not seen any impact." In terms of the UK, Aruba has chipped in on a few notable projects, including one by the University of Cambridge to deploy a city-wide wireless area network.

Looking to the future, Illum reckons that companies will be "extremely challenged with legislation", returning once again to the impact of the EU data protection regulations. Perhaps Aruba's positioning vis-à-vis Cisco, in the cloud space, will turn up some surprises in the New Year. ®

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