Juniper, Aruba Join Forces To Integrate Aruba WiFi Services With Juniper Switches, Routers

Juniper and Aruba Networks said Wednesday that they are teaming up on a reference architecture for integrating Aruba's wireless and mobility solutions with Juniper's enterprise switches and routers.

The partnership is a significant one for Juniper and Aruba's shared partner base, which will play a critical role in driving the integration between the two companies' products, said David Helfer, vice president of worldwide channels and commercial at Juniper.

"The feedback we have gotten from partners is that this is a great integration opportunity," Helfer said. "Many of them were partnering with us and with Aruba from a wireless LAN perspective, and this just enhances our joint partners' ability for integration at the customer site."

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Juniper and Aruba said they have developed a "tested and validated" reference architecture for leveraging Aruba's wireless LAN access points, along with its AirWave network management and ClearPass policy management systems, alongside Juniper's EX series switches and MX series routers.

"A customer, prior to this announcement, could deploy Juniper fixed switching and Juniper wireless LAN," said Mike Marcellin, senior vice president, strategy and marketing at Juniper. "This allows them to also deploy Juniper fixed switching and Aruba wireless LAN."

The integration of Aruba and Juniper network management applications will allow customers to use a common set of tools to manage Juniper wired switches and Aruba WLAN equipment. It also will allow Juniper customers to leverage Aruba's context- and location-aware service, to be able to track things like how many users, which users, and what types of devices are accessing their networks. Aruba said that's what makes the joint architecture ideal for companies grappling with BYOD.

"This partnership is mobility-centric," said Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer at Aruba. "From the co-development standpoint, what we can bring to the table here is a lot of visibility and context around who a user is, what devices are they using and what applications they are using."

Gibson noted that Aruba and Juniper have significant overlap between their two partner bases, with around half of Aruba's top 100 partners also being a Juniper partner.

Mark Robinson, president of CentraComm, a Findlay, Ohio-based Juniper and Aruba partner, said the agreement between the two companies will help CentraComm compete more head-on with other integration wireless solutions from competitors like Cisco, especially given the strength of Aruba's portfolio.

"I still think there is a place for Juniper's wireless solution," Robinson said. "But Aruba is a better option in the enterprise market."

Juniper will continue to sell and support its own wireless LAN products.

Jason Gress, founder and president of InterVision Systems Technologies, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based Juniper and Aruba partner, said the new partnership will help Juniper customers deploy more "application-aware" networks.

"Customers will benefit from the tighter integration of Aruba and Juniper technologies with smarter and more application-aware networks across the entire infrastructure," Gress wrote in an email to CRN.

Juniper's new partnership with Aruba is part of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based networking company's bigger strategy of delivering "open, converged" networks with third-party vendors. As part of that strategy, Juniper said it is making available key software elements and APIs to different vendors, with the aim of giving customers more flexibility and helping them avoid being locked into a single infrastructure vendor.