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Aruba Switching Portfolio Grows As Vendor Extends Platform From Data Center To Edge

Aruba Networks unveils two new CX switches and updated its AOS-CX operating system and network analytics engine to create a simplified, consistent switching experience from the enterprise edge, to the core, to the data center.

Aruba Networks is revealing new hardware, software, and an updated network analytics engine aimed at simplifying switching across the entire enterprise campus.

The Aruba CX Switching Portfolio now includes the Aruba CX 6300 Series fixed configuration and CX 6400 Series modular access, aggregation and core switches. The networking specialist is also introducing NetEdit 2.0, the second version of its switch configuration software platform that has now been integrated with Aruba's Network Analytics Engine (NAE).

Aruba has differentiated itself from its networking competitors by offering a single, consistent switching platform that runs on AOS-CX, its operating system that can be used across the entire network, from the enterprise edge, to the core, and in the data center, said Michael Dickman, vice president of product line management for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. AOS-CX 10.4, the fifth version of Aruba's cloud-based operating system, has been extended to reach into the campus.

"What's under the hood matters," Dickman said. "We can now give partners and end customers end-to-end simplicity, visibility, and analytics that are actually deployable."

[Related: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Wired, Wireless LAN 2019: Aruba, Cisco, Extreme Networks Lead The Way]

The 10.4 release of AOS-CX extends features such as Aruba Dynamic Segmentation to every user and IoT device, which will open the door for channel partners to provide high-level services to their clients and earn more recurring revenue, said Bill Tracy, vice president of technology services for Clackamas, Oregon-based Structured Communication Systems, an Aruba Partner.

"AOS CX is a really forward-looking operating system. It will help move features like NetEdit further move through the enterprise campus, which is really powerful and unique in terms of feature set and scalability, from core to edge." Tracy said.

Requirements at the edge are changing and businesses need to support new wireless technologies and more intensive networking requirements at the edge. The 800 switch family was very disruptive on the market, and Tracy expects the latest CX 6300 and 6400 switches to be a benefit for carpeted enterprises and for healthcare and education clients with heavy wired and wireless needs that would appreciate a single, unified platform that can also provide advanced monitoring capabilities.

"I see these new products competing at the edge access layer and for that last mile connectivity," he said. "Being able to do advanced monitoring and analytics all from the switch -- that's the secret sauce."

The Aruba CX 6300 Series and CX 6400 Series builds on the momentum of the company's CX 8400 Series core switches running the AOS-CX operating system that were introduced in 2017, Dickman said. The CX 6300 Series are stackable switches that can help businesses meet future networking demands through its built-in 10/25/50 gigabit uplink capability. The modular Aruba CX 6400 Series offer both a 5-slot chassis and a 10-slot chassis with a non-blocking fabric that scales from Gigabit POE access to 100G core, which lets businesses standardize on one platform across their entire environment, including hybrid use cases, according to the company.

The second version of Aruba NetEdit 2.0 has been bolstered with the company's NAE which gives businesses -- and partners supporting customers -- an easy way to visualize their switches, and control, configure, and makes changes, all in one place, Aruba's Dickman said.

Having the NAE embedded into every switch, he said, can surface new insights and drive new workflows. "It's a powerful system that can simplify operations for partners and customers," Dickman said.

For partners, the opportunities around the new hardware, software, and analytics, lies in being able to help customers that are struggling with multiple operating models in their core, data center, and at the branch, Dickman said.

"The new offerings give partners a complete, consistent networking solution for their customers," he said. It also greatly simplifies network management for MSP partners or Aruba partners interested in making the pivot to managed services, Dickman added.

Shannon Champion, senior solutions architect for Pier Group, a Jasper, Indiana-based solution provider and Aruba partner, said that the biggest challenge for customers is just understanding the state of their networks.

"Having this analytics engine to validate things before they get done to the environment is pretty powerful," Champion said. 'There's benefits for [customers] in an OS that allows for features that were traditionally done in the core to be done at the edge in terms of visibility."

The updated portfolio will let partners like Structured and Pier Group reach a more advanced partner-level with their end customers. "The big opportunity for me is we have to be able to have a focus higher within the customer account to add value," Champion said.

Aruba's new CX Switching Portfolio, the latest version of AOS-CX and Aruba NetEdit 2.0 will begin shipping in November 2019 and will be available through the channel.

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