Before I was a tech analyst, I spent many years in product marketing at Dell , Compaq, and HP , on both the consumer and enterprise sides of the business. As such, I tend to geek out on technology. Naturally, I jumped at the invitation to tour Hewlett Packard Enterprise 's Aruba test lab facility in beautiful Roseville, California back in late June. Tom Black, VP & GM of the Aruba Campus and Branch business unit, and several of his senior managers guided me through the massive 65,000 square foot facility. Today I would like to share my experience and insights gleaned from the visit.Fast quality The concept of “fast quality” seems like an oxymoron on the surface. Oftentimes, in the rush to bring technology to market certain issues are overlooked and products are released in beta. It then falls to customers to help with the debugging process. That’s not the case with HPE and the Aruba product development team, who utilize testing to not only bring products to market faster but also to deliver higher quality solutions. Aruba employs a rigorous testing framework and sophisticated tools, including a dynamic, drag-and-drop, software-based test bed that allows engineers across five locations in Roseville, Santa Clara, Bangalore, Singapore and Costa Rica to continuously test regardless of time zone. The overall goal is to discover bugs before they are released into the “wild.” The company also utilizes defect prediction analysis and vulnerability tracking notification (VTN) to further fine-tune product quality. VTN enables the various Aruba support channels to provide customer data quickly and proactively around possible vulnerabilities, addressing them before they become a problem. That’s very different from traditional product support models that are reactive in troubleshooting—only addressing problems after they occur. Ultimately, these efforts result in both faster customer adoption, time to revenue, and profitability for Aruba. Case in point: the Aruba team told me that most of its largest customers deploy “rev 0” products, based on their confidence in Aruba. From my exposure to large enterprise technology deployments and conversations with IT and network administrators, I can say that this is an impressive statistic. All too often, these staffers are conservative and take a very cautious approach with the introduction of new products—often waiting for future revisions before wide-scale deployment.
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