Aruba Networks has announced two new switch lines for campus and data center networks, plus a new release of its network OS.
The company has also updated its network OS and integrated its switch configuration software, NetEdit, with Network Analytics Engine.
Stack ‘Em Up
Aruba is launching two new switch series: The CX 6300 and CX 6400.
Both switch families run Aruba’s own ASIC, which traces its roots back to the ProCurve days.
The new switches support always-on PoE, which means APs connected to a switch will still draw power even if the switch itself has to be rebooted.
Aruba’s 6300 CX is a family of stackable switches for access and aggregation, with 24 and 48 port models at 1Gb, as well as a model for 1/2/5/5Gb. Aruba says you can stack up to ten of the CX6300s using the Virtual Switching Framework (VSF) if stacking is something you want or need.
The CX 6400 family are modular switches that come in chassis models of 5 and 10 modules respectively. Aruba positions the CX 6400 for use cases including edge, access, and the data center.
Modules run the gamut from 1GbE to 10/25GbE and 40/100GbE.
Many Switches, One NOS
Aruba’s switches run the AOS-CX network OS, currently in its 10.4 release. The latest version supports MP-BPG EVPN over VXLAN for organizations that want to build a campus fabric.
Running a single NOS in your campus, your data center, and at the edge is a key element in the pitch Aruba is making to potential customers. The idea is that a single NOS a streamlines management and operations.
There’s definitely something to be said for that approach; Cisco has bedeviled customers by forcing them to manage one network OS in the data center and a second in the campus.
Of course, Aruba isn’t the only vendor making this “one NOS is easier” pitch. Just last week, Cumulus Networks announced its own play for campus switching with exactly the same messaging.
Meanwhile Arista Networks has also brought its EOS from the DC to the campus, and touts ease of operation and management thanks to its CloudVision software.
So, while Aruba gets credit for wanting to streamline network operations, this approach hardly counts as a competitive differentiator any more. Frankly, for companies not named Cisco, it’s kind of a must-have.
Aruba rolled out this redesigned NOS back in 2017, alongside the release of its 8400 core switch. The redesign includes a Linux core (Yocto) and a modular architecture built around an in-memory database that leverages OVSDB.
Switching and routing functions run as individual daemons within the OS, and can be stopped, upgraded, and restarted without having to take down the entire switch.
AOS-CX is also replete with APIs, so you can access and manage every switch using Aruba’s own solution, or third-party software such as Ansible.
For more details, Ethan Banks reviewed the OS in this post from 2017.
Last but not least, Aruba has integrated NetEdit, its switch configuration software, with Network Analytics Engine (NAE). NAE is a feature of AOS-CX that lets you run scripts on the switches to collect data and trigger rules if certain parameters are met. NAE can be used for monitoring and troubleshooting. More details on NAE are available here.