HPE's Aruba is Collaborating with reelyActive and Microsoft Azure to Enhance IoT Workload Migrations


Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) company, is a global provider of wired, wireless, and SD-WAN offerings; specifically, its secure and intelligent edge-to-cloud networking solutions use AI to automate the network while harnessing data to drive empowering outcomes for businesses. With Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) and its many as-a-service (aaS) options (as part of the HPE GreenLake family), Aruba’s cloud-native approach helps customers reliably meet their connectivity, security, and financial requirements across environments. (i.e. campuses, branches, data centers, and remote work environments; this covers all aspects of wired, wireless LAN, and WAN)

Today, Aruba and reelyActive (a Quebec-based company that helps guide forward-looking organizations to the edge via context-aware physical spaces open source tech) together announced a new open-source data converter for Microsoft Azure. Why? To enable IoT device data that is securely streamed from Aruba Wi-Fi access points (APs) to then be used by Microsoft Power BI and other Azure applications.

Used in conjunction with Aruba’s IoT Transport for Microsoft Azure (i.e. a simple and secure bi-directional connectivity between APs and Azure IoT Hub) , this open-source converter (called the reelyActive Pareto Anywhere for Azure) reformats data and units of measurement (e.g. power, temperature) to be compatible with Azure applications without the need for custom engineering. This significantly lowers the cost and time required when using conventional integration methods.

The question of “Why?” was posited before; let’s dive even deeper. When integrating data from legacy IoT devices with IoT cloud services, the custom engineering necessary can take months. Dozens of IoT protocols and non-interoperable physical layers exist (and must be contended with). It’s also a cost-prohibitive measure to retrofit or replace legacy devices with new cloud-native software because data from non-IP-based IoT devices needs to be securely streamed and terminated in a form optimized for use with existing Azure IoT applications; this is a task that may end up calling for an expensive gateway. And then, once received at the Azure IoT Hub, all of the IoT payloads need to be separately formatted for use. (And if, at a later date, another IoT protocol needs to be supported, guess what? The process starts a new.)

This can take months of challenge-trouncing to accomplish, which is especially why today’s announcement from Aruba, reelyActive and Microsoft addresses the crux of these aforementioned issues. (Aruba has also added IoT radios to its APs in order to simultaneously serve IT mobility needs and act as IoT gateways in tandem, as well as worked with Microsoft to jointly develop the Aruba IoT Transport for Azure. This, when activated by Aruba Central cloud management, will encode IoT device data from APs into an Azure IoT Hub-compatible format; specifically, a base64 string encapsulated in a JavaScript Object Notation, or JSON.)

Michael Tennefoss, Aruba’s Vice President of IoT and Strategic Partnerships, described more about the impacts this solutions delivers.

“This transforms any Aruba IT network into a secure Azure gateway that lands at the Azure IoT Hub,” Tennefoss explained. “And the beauty of this design is that customers can send BLE, EnOcean Alliance, and similar data from legacy or new IoT devices directly to Azure, without adding any gateway hardware or parallel network infrastructure. If business needs change tomorrow, or next year, then new IoT devices can be incorporated, additively, without ripping or replacing any IT infrastructure.”

To complete this story, reelyActive’s mentioned Pareto Anywhere for Azure open-source converter quickly and efficiently decodes the base64 strings, including units of measurement. It abstracts the original data format so that data seen by applications are immediately consumable in intelligent, consistent streams. Per Jeffery Dungen, reelyActive’s CEO, the converter’s abstraction function allows customers to deploy hybrid IoT systems (consisting of different types and protocols) because all of the data appears in a homogeneous format. The goal is to make things easier for customers; to accelerate adoption and application for specific objectives.

“The expertise we’ve embedded into this solution allows organizations to achieve in an hour what often required months of custom engineering,” Dungen said. “Pareto Anywhere for Microsoft Azure can be deployed from GitHub in a few simple steps to process the data stream from IoT Transport for Azure, which itself can be on-the-fly enabled. Customers can leverage the reelyActive team on demand as an extension of their own, through a convenient subscription model.”

Overall, this announcement hails an opportunity to reduce IoT integration time down to less than 60 minutes, rather than over weeks or months. IoT workloads can be moved (and their data exchanged) securely between cloud IoT services and both legacy and new IoT devices.

IoT Transport for Microsoft Azure and Pareto Anywhere for Azure are intended for use by resellers, system integrators, customer engineers and end customers. And as Tony Shakib, Microsoft’s General Manager, Azure Light Edge and IoT said, “Used in tandem, these will significantly cut the time required to migrate IoT workloads to Azure. They are equally important, and they provide the foundation for a new class of pre-built Azure Marketplace visualization, control, monitoring, predictive maintenance, and alerting applications that customers will subscribe to on-demand as easily as they buy Microsoft 365 today.”

More available information can be found here for Aruba IoT/Aruba ESP, as well as here for reelyActive’s Pareto.

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