Aruba makes multiple enhancements to ESP platform, unveils first rugged wired switches

The component of the news likely to turn the most head is the new AOS 10, which brings together WLAN and SD-Branch within a single operating system.

The Aruba CX 6000 switch family

Today as HPE Discover 2021 kicks off in what is likely to be its last purely virtual incarnation, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is announcing a new set of capabilities for the Aruba ESP [Edge Services Platform], as well as some new product. The new capabilities include ArubaOS 10 [AOS 10], a unified network operating system that brings together WLAN and SD-Branch capabilities. They also include major enhancements to Aruba Central, including new cloud-native management capabilities, and the expansion of the flagship CX Switching portfolio to include two new series of switches, including the Aruba CX 4100i, the first ruggedized wired switches the company has offered.

The AOS 10 changes bring WLAN and SD-Branch capabilities together into a united infrastructure, that lets a distributed network environment be managed across microbranch, branch, and campus environments through a single management console.

“The enhancements to AOS 10, our core branch OS, are very significant,” said Steve Brar, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Aruba. “This brings together our different WLAN and SD-Branch environments into a single operating model. Historically, we offered an innovative controllerless solution, Aruba Instant, for branch office and midmarket customers. We still have that today. For larger customers, we have controller-based wireless LANS, and we have SD-Branch for SD-WAN. With AOS 10, we now bring all three together into a single OS, with the controller being optional. The controller is only if they want advanced capabilities like seamless roaming.”

Aruba AIOps

The new management capabilities in Aruba Central begin with improvements to its AIOps. AI Insights in Aruba Central have now been expanded to 35 issues, and  root cause identification has been automated.

“We have made advancements to our AIOps capability which we call self healing, so that the admin has the option to remediate as well as identify issues,” Brar said. “This is closed loop remediation, so issues are resolved before users were even aware that there was a problem. This takes AIOps to the next level in providing that self-healing closed loop capability.”

New cloud-based authentication and policy capabilities have also been introduced to Aruba Central.

“We have taken ClearPass authentication policies and extended them into Central from a cloud perspective,” Brar said. It provides automated, secure network connectivity across a wide range of devices, including SIM-enabled clients.

The other addition to Central is a new IoT Operations service that extends network monitoring capabilities to sensors, connectors, and other IoT infrastructure.

“It provides visibility to IoT devices connected by Bluetooth or Zigbee,” Brar stated. “We built this capability into Central to provide this visibility for non-Windows devices. We also developed point and click integrations with IoT partners, and these are available in an integrated app store.”

The final part of the Aruba announcements around Discover involves Aruba’s explanation of its flagship cloud-native CX Switching portfolio with two new series of switches. The Aruba CX 4100i is a family of ruggedized switches designed to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh environments, well-suited for industrial IoT applications. The Aruba CX 6000, a cost-effective, layer 2 solution purpose-built for remote offices and the SMB market.

“We are taking our modern platform and extending it into new markets,” Brar said. The CX 6000 is enterprise grade, but aimed at SMBs and the enterprise edge. It replaces the Aruba 2530, which evolved from the old HP networking days. This is a modern microservices based switch, and a direct replacement for the 2530  product line. It’s a high volume product for the channel.”

The CX4100i is a first of sorts for Aruba and HPE networking.

“We actually have never had a ruggedized switch in the HPE portfolio,” Brar indicated. “We have had outdoor access points but from a wired perspective this is a new capability in the portfolio.” They have two form factors, a 12 Port fanless DIN Rail Mount, and a 24 port fanless rack mount.

“Some industrial control systems use DIN and others use standard rack systems, so we have product for both,” Brar said.

Both the new software advancements to Aruba Central and the new CX switches will be available in Fall 2021. Starting list prices for the Aruba CX 4100i series and the Aruba CX 6000 series switches will be $USD 4,999 and $USD 1,049 respectively. Both solutions are available as-a-service, either as a managed service or via GreenLake for Aruba.

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