Aruba Networks this week introduced a new architecture designed to help businesses handle the influx of mobile devices and mobile users entering the workplace.
The new Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks architecture is specifically aimed at helping organizations prepare for what Aruba calls #GenMobile, a new generation of workers who use their smartphones and tablets as their primary business devices.
The Aruba architecture also is meant to create an all-wireless workplace, where wireless access is pervasive, office appliances are mobile-device-friendly, and enterprise applications are accessible via smartphones and tablets. Driving greater automation is another end goal, so that networks can adjust on-the-fly to accommodate new mobile devices and additional bandwidth demands.
"The thrust behind this is to really develop an architecture that is defined by mobility, meaning it's not just an extension of a static, port-based network but can adapt and respond to mobility in real-time," said Robert Fenstermacher, director of product and solutions marketing at Aruba. "The intention is to be able to build all-wireless workplaces that are optimized for this next generation of mobile user."
Underpinning the architecture is a number of new, or updated, Aruba technologies. The first is a next-generation version of Aruba's mobility firewall that uses deep packet inspection (DPI) to allow IT managers to create granular, role-based policies for mobile applications. Fenstermacher said the firewall can detect more than 1,500 applications running on a network, even if those apps are encrypted, are sent as web traffic, or reside within another app.
Once those apps are identified, IT teams can set policies, such as prioritizing, blocking or setting bandwidth restrictions for specific apps.
Aruba also unveiled new features to the ClearPass access management system, including ClearPass Exchange, which integrates and shares data between Aruba ClearPass and other third-party systems. For example, ClearPass now can integrate with the mobile device management (MDM) solution from AirWatch to gather real-time device inventory and use that information to execute network policies.
In addition, Aruba said ClearPass can integrate with helpdesk systems from ServiceNow to automatically create a help desk ticket on behalf of a user.
Aruba also has updated its ClearPass and ArubaOS software with new Auto Sign-On functionality that eliminates the need for employees to repeatedly enter user names and passwords when accessing enterprise applications throughout the day. It does so by automatically authenticating employees to access any single sign-on application when a device is detected by the network.
The company has also updated its AirWave network management system to include a new dashboard for viewing and controlling the flow of unified communications (UC) applications over a wireless network. The dashboard gives IT managers a real-time look at which UC applications employees use, how those applications are performing and the cause of failure should any of those applications go down.
Aruba said all the new features within its Mobility-Defined Networks architecture are available as free software upgrades for existing customers.
Craig Tarnoski, vice president of sales for Comm Solutions Company, a Malvern, Pa.-based solution provider, said that even though Aruba's new Mobility-Defined Networks architecture isn't comprised of brand-new products, it brings a new sense of unity to Aruba's portfolio.
"I think what this is going to do is really help unify Aruba's messaging," Tarnoski said. "It ties all the parts and pieces together a little stronger, and it's going to give our pre-sales engineers and our salespeople a chance to revisit our existing customers, and I think people will want to listen."
Tarnoski said that Aruba's new mobile architecture comes as more and more of his clients are investing in wireless.
"We have had customers who have sworn that they would never need wireless, rolling out wireless and wireless security," he told CRN. "Nobody wants to plug in anymore and stay stationary. There's a giant demand for wireless, and it really seems to be the direction this market is going."
PUBLISHED MARCH 13, 2014