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Aruba expands CX switching portfolio, enhances software

Aruba's updates give network operators a full range of systems that all fall under one common operating system.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Aruba on Tuesday announced an expanded CX switching portfolio, updates to its AOS-CX operating system and an enhanced version of the NetEdit switch configuration software, which now integrates with Aruba's Network Analytics Engine. All told, the updates give network operators a full range of systems that all fall under one common operating system, offering security and operational benefits as well as visibility and management tools.

"IT organizations continue to get pressure to do more with less," William Choe, VP for Product, GTM, and Operations for Aruba, said to ZDNet.

Networks are built with different systems, disparate OSs, closed architectures and complex licensing terms that make them difficult to consume, he said. Meanwhile, the pace of networking requirements has skyrocketed with IoT devices driving demand. 

Aruba, an HPE company, began a few years ago to zero in on these challenges and in 2017 launched the CX portfolio of switches and the AOS-CX operating system. The portfolio now includes the Aruba CX 6300 Series fixed configuration and CX 6400 Series modular access, aggregation and core switches.

The new switches feature Aruba's 7th Generation ASIC architecture. The CX 6300 Series is a stackable family of switches that offers growth via a 10-member virtual switching framework (VSF) and provides built-in 10/25/50 gigabit uplinks.

The CX 6400 Series modular switches offer both a five-slot chassis and a 10-slot chassis with a
non-blocking fabric that scales from gigabit POE access to 100G core. The 6400 comes into play for high-scale requirements, enabling customers to get to nearly 500 ports of one gigabit Ethernet in a single chassis while maintaining a high performance capability. It's also a powerful platform for mission-critical applications that need redunancy.

With the expanded CX portfolio, "enterprises can really pick and choose based on their use cases -- whether it's a campus or branch environment, all the way through the datacenter -- the right form factor... all operating under a single construct," Choe said. 

Meanwhile, the 10.4 version of AOS-CX introduces rich access features to the OS and extends CX differentiators to the access layer of the network. It includes, for instance, Aruba's Dynamic Segmentation feature, which provides a secure and unified access policy across wired and wireless down to every user and IoT device. It also includes Ethernet VPN (EVPN) over VxLAN for simplified, secure connectivity, as well as Virtual Switching Extension (VSX) live upgrades. 

Because AOS-CX is completely micro-services based, it's modular and delivers resiliency by design, Choe said. It also offers full programmability.

Meanwhile, now that NetEdit 2.0 integrates with Aruba's Network Analytics Engine, customers can get automation and visibility distributed to every switch while the network operator maintains centralized control. This should simplify common tasks such as implementing configuration changes and monitoring for issues, while reducing troubleshooting cycles from days to minutes. The software can help automate complex network configurations that are somtimes hundreds or even thousands of lines deep, Choe said. 

The software also now offers additional integrations with standard tools like Slack and ServiceNow. 

The Aruba CX 6300 and CX 6400 Series start at $5,899 and $13,499 respectively, and they'll begin shipping in November. The updated version of AOS-CX and Aruba NetEdit 2.0 will also be available in November 

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