Legacy networks have become complex beasts. The jigsaw puzzle of architectures and applications that enterprises have assembled over the years have long been complicating efforts to deliver an agile, dependable, single-pane network. It is often the case that new technologies cause us to re-think and re-orchestrate how we’ve always handled the foundations – as we’ve seen with cloud, mobile and IoT. The traditional perimeter of the network has shifted, the demands on the network have evolved, and this has resulted in a layering of technologies which have left many with fragmented operations, closed architectures and poor visibility and control.

Aruba’s very new, and much anticipated announcement of their CX Switching Portfolio represents a massive leap forward for the delivery of networks robust enough to address the needs of the modern enterprise – across campus, branch and data centre.

Here’s Aruba’s latest incarnation of their switch software in a nutshell

The Aruba CX Switching Portfolio boasts a modern, cloud-native design built on a flexible switching architecture. There’s plenty of native intelligence, programmability and automation – which we’ll get to shortly – but for now here’s the main pillars:

  • CX 6300 Series – stackable switches, available in fixed or modular power supply options with many different configurations available to meet the dynamic edge / access needs
  • CX 6400 Series – a flexible and intelligent family of high availability, chassis-based switches ideal for use from aggregation to core and into the data centre
  • AOS-CX operating system – this new OS introduces rich access features while extending CX differentiators to the access layer of the network. It notably includes Aruba Dynamic Segmentation (more on this below!).

The competitive advantage is that together, these solutions give network operators one simple, end-to-end next-gen switching platform. That’s right, the full range of systems all fall under one common operating system. Aruba has claimed they are the first company to offer this, and it’s certainly breaking new ground when it comes to simplicity of network management.

“AI-powered automation must be at the heart of a modern, edge-to-cloud architecture and, in order to be truly useful, it requires an intelligent infrastructure as the foundation. We believe that AI is the key to analysing data, providing actionable insights, and delivering automation at scale to optimise network operators’ ability to quickly troubleshoot, remediate and proactively resolve some of IT’s most pressing challenges. Our vision for the future is a cloud-native architecture that delivers true business agility and new digital experiences, and today’s introduction is an important step in that direction.”

  • Keerti Melkote, President and Founder at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

You can also check out this brief, yet informative, video to get up to speed on all things CX

Here’s how Aruba CX has changed the switching game

From manual to automated

Until now, network operators have used different switches and operating systems across the edge, core and data centre. This meant that management and automation across the entire network – that whilst it seemed possible – was layers of solutions forced to talk to each other, or multiple dashboards resulting in ‘swivel chair management’. With Aruba CX, it’s the same switch in each part of the network; they natively work together, on the same OS, delivering automation-in-spades but an enormous increase in operational efficiency and visibility.  

From vulnerable to secure

With the latest version of AOS-CX comes simple, secure segmentation with Aruba’s Dynamic Segmentation extended to the campus. This feature further simplifies an operator’s tasks by automatically enforcing unified policy and keeping traffic segmented across wired and wireless networks all the way down to every last user and internet device. The inclusion of automated device profiling, role-based access control, and Layer 7 firewall capabilities will be a powerful selling point as the deluge of IoT devices and demand for BYOD continues to overwhelm network operators

From reactive to proactive

Another key addition to the CX portfolio is the integration of:

  • Aruba NetEdit – a configuration tool that automates the tasks associated with deploying and managing CX switches, with
  • Aruba Network Analytics Engine (NAE) - an application that captures rich analytics on every CX switch to automate many aspects of network monitoring and troubleshooting.

Together, they reduce the burden on IT when it comes to investigating user- and network-impacting issues. Because CX extends right to the access layer of campus networks, operators have access to distributed analytics, real-time network visibility and detailed diagnostics around health and performance issues.

From locked in to open

Coinciding with the release of the CX platform, Aruba has offered generous limited lifetime warranties for the new and advanced 6300 and 6400 product lines – including NBD shipment and free software updates. For existing customers this a major drawcard and will likely keep Aruba at the forefront of the total cost of ownership conversation in the networking industry.

Of course, their current Provision product line has served customers very well and will continue to be available with no plans for end of sale.

Switch forward with Matrix

Having been awarded Aruba’s top Partner award in ANZ for 7 years running (2013-2019) we bring unparalleled experience in designing and building scalable network architectures that support enterprise and multi-campus networks. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like more information or to discuss migrating to Aruba CX.