LAS VEGAS—Aruba Networks, a year after being acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, is rolling out an array of integrated wired and wireless networking software and hardware that leverages the technology of both companies to address the growing trends of an increasingly mobile workforce, the Internet of things and cloud-based apps.
On the first day of the company’s Atmosphere 2016 user conference here March 8, Aruba officials introduced new and enhanced network management software, wireless access points and switches that they said will help enterprises meet the growing demands of so-called GenMobile workers and the proliferation of connected devices that are making up the Internet of things (IoT).
The new offerings also illustrate the complementary capabilities that officials with both Aruba and Hewlett-Packard—which became Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in November 2015 when the company split in two—highlighted during the user conference last year. Then, Aruba officials spent much of the time easing the concerns of customers who had just learned of the $3 billion acquisition.
HPE came to the deal with strengths in wired networking and hopes of creating a more converged portfolio by adding Aruba’s wireless expertise. Much of the past year has been spent bringing the companies’ product lineups together, according to Christian Gilby, director of product marketing at Aruba.
“The thing we focused on was integration,” Gilby told eWEEK. “You’ve got to integrate and integrate fast.”
In a conference call March 4, HPE CEO Meg Whitman noted that in the most recent financial quarter, revenue for the company’s networking business unit grew 62 percent over the same period the year before, and that Aruba also saw double-digit growth at an operational level.
“We saw strong pull-through of HPE’s switching portfolio to complement Aruba’s wireless offerings,” Whitman said, according to a transcript on Seeking Alpha.
The drivers behind what Aruba officials are rolling out this year are the growth of both workforce mobility and the IoT, she said. Both not only are putting pressure on network infrastructures, but also on enterprises to adopt new infrastructures that are less static and more employee-centric.
A priority for Aruba officials was ensuring uptime and connectivity in WiFi networks. The company unveiled a new software module within its AirWave network management offering called Aruba Clarity, which gives IT employees greater visibility into the access layer of the network—the user, device and app level—that enable them to be more proactive in dealing with possible problems before they impact the end user rather than having to troubleshoot the issues afterward.
Through Clarity, the AirWave software can monitor a wide array of metrics, such as the time it takes for a mobile device to find and hook up with a WiFi radio, authenticate to an Aruba Radius server and resolve names for DNS services. Network operations teams gather the data not only as WiFi clients connect to the network and roam, but also in an on-demand way or through scheduled simulation tests run between Aruba wireless access points (APs).
Aruba Shows Off HPE Integration With New Networking Offerings
In another move, Aruba officials introduced AirWave 8.2, which enables enterprises to improve the performance of the network by more proactively prioritizing which workloads get airtime. Enhancements to AirWave’s VisualRF feature time-lapse visualization of WiFi coverage up to 24 hours to let network engineers more quickly find problems in coverage.
The latest release of Aruba’s ClearPass Policy Manager, 6.6, drives greater network security at a time when more mobile devices—particularly through trends like bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and IoT—are coming on to the networks. Through enhancements to ClearPass, network security operators can more easily create policies that can adapt more quickly to changing demands, including enabling custom profiling for un-categorized connected devices, multi-factor authentication on mobile devices for network use, and improved forensics into security events. It also can integrate with next-generation firewalls from Arista Networks and multi-factor authentication technologies from Duo Security and ImageWare.
Aruba also introduced new multi-gigabit 330 Series Wave 2 APs that use HPE’s Smart Rate technology that ensure maximum network performance to bandwidth-intensive applications and latency-sensitive applications, such as Microsoft Skype for Business and WiFi calling, officials said. The APs include ClientMatch technology, which ensures that the Wave 2-capable mobile device can use the multi-user multiple-input multiple-output (MU-MIMO) standard. In addition, the APs come with integrated Bluetooth Low Energy to manage battery-powered Aruba Beacons, which enables users to offer improved location-based services.
Aruba’s 3810 Switch Series uses HPE’s Smart Rate technology to enable enterprise to offer data rates of 1, 2.5, 5 and 10 Gb/s.
The new 3810 switches and existing Aruba 2539, 2920 and 5400R campus switches also use the new ArubaOS-Switch, a unified operating system that combines the best features of the ArubaOS and HPE ProvisionOS operating systems.