Aruba expands CX operating system to the campus with new switching portfolio

The three-pronged announcement includes a new version of the AOS-CX operating system, extends it from the data centre to the campus with two new models, and provides an update of Aruba’s NetEdit switch configuration software.

Aruba’s Network Analytics Engine

Today, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is making three interrelated announcements that revolve around the introduction of a consistent architecture for the enterprise campus, branch and data centre. The Aruba CX Switching Portfolio, based on the AOS-CX operating system, has been expanded into the campus with two new models, the Aruba CX 6300 Series and CX 6400. The AOS-CX has also been upgraded with a 10.4 version. Likewise, the NetEdit switch configuration software has also been updated, with a 2.0 version.

“What we are doing here is taking the AOS-CX operating system from our data centre products into the campus with the CX 6300 and CX6400,” said William Choe, VP, Product, GTM, and Operations for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “It is an extension of our most modern operating system out to the enterprise edge.”

Consolidating all of the switching portfolio around a single operating system provides a simple, end-to-end switching platform that improves management. It also significantly improves the campus switching capabilities because the AOS-CX is so much more modern than the technology that it upgrades.

“The current generation campus OS, AOS -S [Switch] has been with us for many years, back from the HP ProCurve days,” Choe said. “Given that, we rethought what we wanted to accomplish. These next-generation OS switches are based on our 2017 enterprise OS, and bring it altogether with visibility and analytics with NetEdit 2.0.”

Choe said that Aruba started this journey a couple of years ago

“The key feedback that we got on network challenges in the edge cloud era was that customers now have highly fragmented operations, and that campus networks now are challenged with the increasing demands placed on them by things like IoT cameras, HVACs and lighting systems,” Choe indicated. “Our challenge was to deliver a new OS that could deliver on addressing the changes created by digital transformation. We achieved this by porting the AOS-CX across the portfolio.”

The AOS-CX operating system was built on cloud-native principles.

“Having full API capability is part and parcel of this operating system,” Choe said, ‘The 10.4 version that is in this release enhances our Aruba Dynamic Segmentation. It provides secure, unified access across wired and wireless for every user and IoT device. While we have had Dynamic Segmentation for some time, this release adds additional micro-segmentation with Ethernet VPN over VxLAN for simplified and secure connectivity and Virtual Switching Extension [VSX] to enable live upgrades without downtime.” It also has Always-On PoE, to enable IoT devices to be powered on all of the time.

Choe also emphasized the significance of the single operating system.

“Our goal was a consistent architecture from the edge to the data centre,” he stressed. “Previously, everything would have to be done across the two platforms. This is common in the industry. With some competitors, it is because of acquisitions, but with some, it is deliberate, where they have chosen to use a different OS for the edge, campus and data centre.”

The Aruba CX 6300 and CX 6400 Series

The new Aruba CX 6300 and CX 6400 Series switches utilize Aruba’s own 7th Generation ASIC architecture that is already in use in the data centre CX 8400 product. The Aruba CX 6300 Series is a stackable family of modular switches with a 10-member virtual switching framework and built-in 10/25/50 gigabit uplinks. The Aruba CX 6400 Series modular switches have both a 5-slot chassis and a 10-slot chassis with fabric that scales from Gigabit POE access to 100G core.

“The use cases are similar, although the CX 6400’s chassis and higher density of ports provides HA and scalability that is geared to the higher end of the enterprise,” Choe said. “The CX 6300 is more of an access layer platform.”

The third component of the announcement is an improved version of Aruba’s NetEdit switch configuration software.

“It now integrates with Aruba’s Network Analytics Engine to provide better insights with telemetry at every hop of the network,” Choe indicated. “Traditionally, network visibility tends to stream through a third party tool, and then operators drill down into the switch. It’s manual in nature. NetEdit 2.0 provides automation and visibility distributed to every switch through a very intuitive provisioning model. Intelligence will bring it all together. It also adds some key workflow integrations which include ServiceNow, TOPdesk and Slack.”

For partners, Aruba is emphasizing that the portfolio enhancements provide them with a complete networking portfolio based on the CX operating system, that has a compelling TCO model.

The CX Switching Portfolio, including the Aruba CX 6300 and CX 6400 Series switches, the new version of AOS-CX and Aruba NetEdit 2.0 will begin shipping in November. List pricing for the Aruba CX 6300 and CX 6400 Series starts at $USD 5,899 USD and $USD 13,499 respectively.