Thursday, December 1, 2016

HPE IoT Solutions ease management, reduce risk and cut operating costs

By Bill Moran and Rich Ptak

HPE has invested heavily to deliver IoT solutions. They are well aware of the challenges faced by customers attempting large-scale IoT deployments. Thus, our interest in commenting on the November 30th London Discover announcements of new enhancements to their IoT portfolio. First, a quick overview of the IoT world.

IoT is driven by the belief that enhancing the intelligence gathering (and frequently processing) capabilities of new and existing devices coupled with centralized control will yield personal and/or business benefits. The amount of intelligence (for decision-making, etc.) necessary at the edge of the network (in the device) versus the amount retained centrally (server, controller, etc.) varies widely based the use case. For example, a device monitoring what's in front of an automobile that detects a potential crash situation should make a decision to slam on the brakes locally (in the car). The delay inherent in communicating with a remote controller (in the cloud) would be intolerable.

The complexity inherent in IoT becomes even more complicated when multiple and different devices are involved. Each device type communicates in its own way. Use cases vary by task and industry. The automotive situation discussed is very different from that of a power utility monitoring thousands of meters for billing or consumption-tracking purposes.

Many more scenarios exist, and depending on scale and distribution, some will be very difficult and expensive to deploy. HPE set out to provide solutions that reduce the cost and effort required to deploy, connect and manage this wide variety of distributed devices. Here’s the result.

HPE’s IoT portfolio enhancements are in three categories. First is the new HPE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) intended for mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). It simplifies device management complexity of SIM card[1] deployment and management. HPE MVNE allows the MVNO themselves to setup the SIM delivery and billing service instead of buying the service from a carrier. The resulting reduction in complexity and long term billing management reduces operator costs.

The second enhancement is the HPE Universal IOT (UIoT) Platform. The number of IoT use cases implemented over Low Power WAN (Wide Area Networks) is rapidly increasing. Each with their own infrastructure and management solutions and standards. No single vendor has a management solution that works across all the differing solutions. This meant that businesses, e.g. delivering smart city IoT deployments, had to use multiple management systems. The HPE UIOT software platform will support multiple networks (Cellular, WiFi, LoRA, etc.). Using lightweight M2M protocol, it provides a consistent way to manage the variety of networks, as well as data models and formats.

Third are IoT-related enhancements to HPE Aruba[2] (LAN) networks. HPE introduced the Aruba Clearness Universal Profiler. A standalone software package, it permits customers to quickly see and monitor all devices connecting to wired and wireless networks. Helping to satisfy network audits, security and visibility requirements. It is the ONLY such application purpose-built to identify, classify and view all devices.

Finally, the latest ArubaOS-Switch software release enhances the security features of most of the Aruba access switch family. Features include automatic tunnel creation to isolate network traffic for security devices, smart lighting and HVAC control units, and the ability to set network access control policies for IoT devices.

With these IoT offerings enhancements, HPE has made significant strides toward reducing the complexity and costs facing customers developing and deploying IoT solutions. These are unique tools to help customers economically create and operate an IoT enabled world. HPE also demonstrates its clear understanding of the difficulties that customers are encountering.

It appears to us, that HPE is succeeding in its efforts to provide solutions that reduce the cost and effort required to deploy, connect and manage the wide variety of distributed devices available today. We suspect that there are many who will agree. 

[1] SIM cards provide the interface between a device and a cellular connection.
[2] Acquired for its wireless, campus switching and network access control solutions.