Networking News

Aruba ESP Gets AI, IoT Boost, New Switches To Battle Cisco’s ‘Disjointed’ Architecture

Gina Narcisi

Aruba is injecting its one-year-old Edge Services Platform with more AI and security to power IoT operations. The HPE-owned company is also introducing two new CX switch lines for SMB and edge use cases.


Aruba is powering up its one-year-old Edge Services Platform (ESP) with more AI and security to power IoT operations. At the same time, the HPE-owned company is introducing two new CX switches for SMB and edge use cases.

Aruba ESP is an intelligent architecture that is helping partners and end customers manage their increasingly complex wired, wireless, SD-WAN and security infrastructures. Aruba Central, the company‘s flagship network management and analytics platform which sits inside Aruba ESP, has been injected with AIops, cloud-based authentication and policy capabilities, and an IoT operations service.

“All of these things coming together in Central... is really a key differentiator relative to some of our competitors,” said Steve Brar, senior director of product marketing for Aruba Networks. “It will help our partners also better compete and position Aruba solutions [against] the likes of like Cisco, which has a disjointed architecture with Meraki that’s focused on ranch environments, and Catalyst, which has more of a focus on campus.”

[Related: Aruba Partners: Founder Keerti Melkote Is Leaving HPE With ‘Big Shoes To Fill’]

Aruba Central is being enhanced with Aruba’s AI Insights solution for IT operators, which offers closed-loop remediation, meaning problems are surfaced and can be set to adjust or fix itself before end users are impacted and without any manual effort from channel partners or IT.

“We’re leveraging our large AI intelligence that we have gathered from our 100,000 customers and we’re able to use that data and compare it to similar environments and adjust the threshold automatically,” Brar said.

Aruba Central also will have an IoT operations service that provides granular visibility to IoT devices connected on the network, including sensors, connectors, and other IoT infrastructure. The service will also support BLE and ZigBee devices.

Lastly, Aruba Central will have new ClearPass-like cloud-based onboarding, authentication and policy capabilities that offers automated network connectivity for end users across a range of devices.

Joel Grace, vice president of engineering and emerging technologies at Sayers, an Aruba Platinum partner, called the updates to Aruba Central and ESP a win for both partners and end customers.

“If I’m in the client side, having one consistent software platform across the architecture allows you to automate and secure easier -- a key to automation is simplifying things,” he said.

For partners, the platform is beneficial because engineering teams can be trained on one proven solutions, regardless of whether it’s for an SMB or enterprise customer, Grace said.

Aruba Central, part of ESP, manages over 100 million client endpoints and 1.5 million devices across 100,000 organizations around the world, according to the company.

In addition to the ESP updates, Aruba is also introducing a ruggedized CX 4100i switch family of two products -- a 12-port and a 24-port model -- that extends the company’s reach into outdoor and IoT use cases that the vendor wasn’t able to fully reach before, Brar said.

Aruba is also introducing a CX 6000 for SMBs and edge use cases. The Aruba CX 4100i is a set of ruggedized switches that can withstand extreme temperatures and can support industrial IoT applications. The new Aruba CX 6000 is a layer 2 offering that’s a good fit for remote offices and SMBs, said Brar. “It’s bringing the CX line into the SMB space and edge environments,” he said, adding that the new CX 6000 will be offered as a replacement to Aruba’s CX 2530 series switches.

The new software advancements to Aruba Central and new CX switches will be available in fall 2021, according to Aruba. Both offerings are available as-a-service, either as a managed service or via GreenLake for Aruba.