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20/10 Vision: Aruba’s 20th Presentation at Tech Field Day’s 10th Anniversary

By Jamie Easley, Airheads Community Manager
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November 15, 2019 is a special day. It’s Tech Field Day’s 10th anniversary and Aruba’s 20th presentation at TFD.

The first Tech Field Day event was held in Silicon Valley in November 2009. Just a few weeks before, Stephen Foskett, a storage consultant, got the idea to create events for tech nerds like himself, but focus on the broader IT picture of servers, storage and networking.

In short order, Stephen got a crash course in event management, and 15 delegates raced around Silicon Valley for two days getting deep-dive technical information from vendors. The delegates would then share through their blogs and podcasts.

Tech Field Day's event format struck a nerve: Independent IT architects and engineers in a room with enterprise IT vendors for a technical and lively back-and-forth discussion. Vendors took off their marketing hats, and delegates asked hard questions. Vendors got expert feedback on their product development plans and delegates got firsthand insight into evolving technology and upcoming products.

The first Tech Field Day event was held in November 2009. Delegates (L-R): Greg Knieriemen, John Obeto, Carlo Costanzo, Rod Haywood, Rick Vanover, Stephen Foskett, Nigel Poulton, Bas Raayman, Ed Saipetch, Simon Seagrave, Chris Evans, Devang Panchigar, Greg Ferro, John Hickson, Robin Harris and Rich Brambley.

The first Tech Field Day event was held in November 2009. Delegates (L-R): Greg Knieriemen, John Obeto, Carlo Costanzo, Rod Haywood, Rick Vanover, Stephen Foskett, Nigel Poulton, Bas Raayman, Ed Saipetch, Simon Seagrave, Chris Evans, Devang Panchigar, Greg Ferro, John Hickson, Robin Harris and Rich Brambley.

It didn’t take long for the event to transform, and soon there were Field Day events on mobility, networks, security and cloud.

As Field Day events progressed, Stephen Foskett, Tom Hollingsworth and the team at Gestalt IT who produce the events realized that the audience point of view was shifting. Field Day events were envisioned as an event for the engineers and architects in the room, and as streaming video became an everyday activity, Field Day events picked up a huge online audience. People watched the livestream and past presentations. Field Day events gave anyone with an interest in enterprise IT and an Internet connection a chance to learn from expert practitioners and expert product developers.

Aruba Joins In

Aruba joined for Wireless Field Day 2 in January 2012. Keerti Melkote, founder and then-chief strategy officer of Aruba Networks, made a radical case for wireless as a primary network strategy. Pradeep Iyer, Aruba’s founding engineer, also joined in the discussion with TFD delegates. Delegates also took a deep dive into Aruba’s security and policy controls and virtual controller technology.

Scaling Wireless

Tech Field Day event delegates convened at the Aruba Airheads event (now Atmosphere) in March 2012. It was the first Tech Field Day Roundtable Discussion, and the topic was high density wireless, particularly on university campuses and stadiums. What we consider high density now is much different!

Tech Field Day Roundtable at Atmosphere 2012: L-R: Don Barry, David Morton, Jennifer Huber, Sean Rynearson, Chris Lyttle, Partha Narasimhan, Carlos Gomez, Daniel Cybulskie, Sam Clements, Randy Monroe and Ryan Holland.

Tech Field Day Roundtable at Atmosphere 2012: L-R: Don Barry, David Morton, Jennifer Huber, Sean Rynearson, Chris Lyttle, Partha Narasimhan, Carlos Gomez, Daniel Cybulskie, Sam Clements, Randy Monroe and Ryan Holland.

At Wireless Field Day 3 in September 2012, the hot topics were getting video to scale over Wi-Fi, delving into 802.11ac gigabit Wi-Fi and hotspots. Here’s the deep dive into 802.11ac, where we said 11ac has “crazy amounts of throughput in it.”

Remember the Controller-Based vs. No Controller Argument?

That was a hot topic at Wireless Field Day 4 in February 2013. Ozer Dondurmacioglu, who then ran product marketing for Aruba explained how using a controller-less architecture is often the right choice for the customer. The delegates did a deep dive into Aruba InstantOS with the Aruba product leadership.

Keerti Introduces Blazing-Fast Gigabit Wi-Fi

Aruba announced our 802.11ac APs at the Tech Field Day Roundtable event in May 2013. Keerti showed off the new AP, discussing design considerations and showing performance.

People Move and the Network Must Follow

At Network Field Day 6 in September 2013, Ozer and Partha Narasimhan, an Aruba founder, talked about the explosion of iPads on the Wi-Fi and how mobile devices are changing access networking, and we introduced the AP270.

Is the HP Acquisition of Aruba Good or Bad?

We can all remember some pretty disastrous acquisitions—and some huge successes. But in March 2015, the future was cloudy. The delegates went all-out on the opportunities and concerns about HP’s acquisition of Aruba.

Touchdown for Wi-Fi!

At Wireless Field Day 8 in October 2015, Chuck Lukaszewski, then Aruba’s director of outdoor solution engineering, led a discussion about how to design large public venue Wi-Fi, based on his experience designing the Wi-Fi for the brand-new Levi’s Stadium. Mounting APs under seats was a new idea, and Chuck “shared everything we learned” about building networks for high-density environments like auditoriums and stadiums.

It’s a Mobile and IoT World, and the Network Must Adapt

As the industry evolved, Wireless Field Day morphed into Mobility Field Day. Ozer led a discussion into Aruba’s Mobile First Platform, which we introduced the day before Field Day. The goal was to improve the experience for users, IT and business leaders, especially in a mobile and IoT world.

AI and Machine Learning: Something Special or Marketing Fluff?

When AI and machine learning began to take hold, it was the focus of a special roundtable at Atmosphere in March 2017. Delegates weighed in on the impact of machine learning on Wi-Fi.

Mobility is Life. Designing Networks to Meet the Demands of Campus Users

Tom Black, general manager of Aruba’s campus switching business unit, and Michael Dickman, VP of product line management, dove the new Aruba 8400 switch. The switch was totally reimagined for the changing needs of a campus core network. Frank Reichstein, a senior software engineer and distinguished technologist, dove into the new AOS-CX operating system and network programmability at a special Network Field Day Exclusive in August 2017.

What’s Happening with 6 GHz?

In Mobility Field Day 6 in August 2018, Chuck was back to share his expertise on 6GHz. The FCC had just initiated a rulemaking to potentially open new spectrum in the 6 GHz band for unlicensed devices. Chuck walked the delegates through the complex world of FCC proceedings, its technical rules and new technologies would protect incumbent users of 6GHz spectrum.

 Can AI Help Us Catch the Bad Guys?

Machine learning is back on the agenda, but this time cybersecurity was the topic. At Mobility Field Day 3 in September 2018, Larry Lunetta, the founder of Niara (now IntroSpect) and Aruba’s VP of marketing security solutions, and Viswesh Ananthakrishnan, Aruba’s director of security product line management, discuss taking an analytics-driven approach to insider attack detection and remediation.

Get a View of Attackers from the Edge

Cybersecurity stayed on the agenda in December 2018 at the first Security Field Day. A few months later, Keerti explained why the view from the network edge gives IT managers a unique perspective into cybersecurity. Dan Harkins, a principal contributor to the new authentication and encryption standard and an Aruba Distinguished Technologist, walked the delegates through the new WPA3.

Simplifying Branch Networking

Partha opened the discussion at the Network Field Day event in October 2019, and Keshore Seshadri, VP of SD-WAN led the discussion in why Aruba’s SD-Branch is different than traditional SD-WAN solutions. Scott Koster, product line manager for switch software explored how AOS-CX has evolved for the data center, laying the foundation for Aruba’s announcement of the CX switch portfolio later that month.

And that brings us to the 20th Tech Field Day event. Register now to view the TFD#20 live stream on Friday, November 15 and learn how automation can simplify networking tasks.

Check out all of Aruba’s presentations at Field Day here.