Aruba ClearPass Appliance Targets Mobile Device Management

Aruba Networks Tuesday went live with a new set of products and a technical certification targeted at the bring your own device (BYOD) trend and mobility-focused solution providers. ClearPass, its new system, is what Aruba calls the first offering to offer a full range of secure provisioning and management capabilities for mobile devices that use a range of mobile platforms -- Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS X, among them -- on a single appliance.

The launch effectively makes Aruba a new competitor in mobile device management (MDM) though, according to the company, its products cover more ground than most MDM solutions on the market already.

"Networks really weren't designed for the scale, surety and complexity of bringing all these devices onto the network," said Robert Fenstermacher, director of product marketing at Aruba. "BYOD is changing the requirements of network infrastructure and doing it faster than any other use case we've seen in the past. That's a huge opportunity for VARs and integrators to help enterprises navigate these changes."

ClearPass is an appliance that offers automated device provisioning, self-service mobile device network configuration -- that is, cloud-based configuration of a device's 802.1x settings -- device profiling, device risk management and guest access as an all-in-one.

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A ClearPass package for 5,000 devices starts at $14,995 list price, but the system can be sold a la carte, with the customer choosing features. ClearPass also can be deployed as a virtual appliance and, according to Fenstermacher, supports clustering so customers can scale it to their infrastructure needs.

Aruba is also arguing that ClearPass offers more features than Cisco's Identity Services Engine (ISE) TrustSec products at at least 22 percent less cap-ex investment, and that it also doesn't require the network upgrades Cisco's products do.

In addition, ClearPass can be deployed across any competing vendor's network; Aruba can overlay Cisco, Juniper, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Brocade or another vendor's infrastructure products, Fenstermacher said.

"For Aruba, it makes a lot of sense to push into this space and take on the major functions of MDM," he said. "Customers don't want another system for managing devices. They want to have the access network do the majority of what MDM does."

Many customers find they don't need to add functions such as remote wipe anyway, Fenstermacher said, because they use the remote wipe capabilities in software such as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync that they already have.

Along with ClearPass comes a new technical certification from Aruba, the Aruba Certified Solutions Professional (ACSP), intended for engineers designing networks with BYOD and mobile device challenges in mind. Aruba has several mobility-flavored certifications already, but most are specific to areas such as outdoor wireless mesh, single- or multicontroller wireless LAN and mobile access.

Training is set to begin in April, and Aruba will offer both on-site and virtual classroom options. Classes list at $1,500 a pop, though engineers who complete coursework by July 31 receive 50 percent off.