Aruba Unveils Cloud Services Controllers for Campus Networks

The roll out of the Aruba 7000 controllers comes a day after HP said it will buy Aruba for $2.7 billion, as a way to expand its wireless networking portfolio.

wireless networking

LAS VEGAS—Aruba Networks is taking the various devices needed for branch networks and collapsing them into a single system, which officials said will make it easier for businesses to deploy the technology and cut the cost of branch networks almost in half.

On the first day of its Atmosphere 2015 user conference here March 3, Aruba introduced a new family of Aruba 7000 all-in-one cloud services controllers, one of which will do the job that five appliances currently do in branch locations. The new controllers ensure that performance remains high but that complexity, costs and deployment times are reduced, according to Christian Gilby, director of product marketing for Aruba.

The new controllers come at a time of change in branch infrastructure, Gilby told eWEEK. Legacy WAN connectivity is giving way to Ethernet and WiFi, while organizations are moving from local application services to cloud apps, he said. In addition, dedicated networking appliances are being replaced by cloud security architectures. These changes can be illustrated in numbers, he said, noting that the public infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market will grow to more than $34 billion by 2018, and that by 2016, 30 percent of advanced security attacks will come into the organization through the branch office.

This is all giving way to new requirements in the branch office network, from WAN optimization and health monitoring to greater security, high cloud performance and a unified wired and wireless infrastructure.

"There are a lot of [organizations] going wireless, but there's still a lot of wired stuff out there," Gilby said.

The Aruba 7000 Cloud Services Controllers take the multiple appliances in the branch network—including the WAN router, VPN firewall, WAN optimization system, switch and WAN controller—and put all of those functions into a single platform. The hardware is available now starting at $1,495, while the various services will be delivered in the second quarter. Zero-touch provisioning significantly reduces the time, cost (by about 48 percent) and complexity involved in deploying a branch office network, while the controllers' support of two Ethernet broadband WAN connections as well as a 3G/4G LTE cellular backup link provides high resiliency, according to Aruba.

The platform for unified wired and wireless includes up to 24 Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) ports and support for up to 64 access points and 4K mobile devices.

Security is supported through a programmable policy enforcement firewall, which includes Web content filtering and integration with Palo Alto Networks' firewall technologies. There also is a firewall with up to 8 Gb/s performance and a VPN with up to 4 Gb/s performance.

The controllers also integrate with Microsoft's Lync Server 2013 mobile unified communications (UC) solution, via certification for Lync software-defined networking (SDN) API. The integration with Palo Alto's security technology and Microsoft's Lync essentially lets businesses that already have invested in the products to extend them from the data center to the branch, according to Aruba.

The announcement of the Aruba 7000 series comes a day after Hewlett-Packard announced it was buying Aruba for $2.7 billion, to bolster the wireless capabilities of its networking group. The deal will help HP to accelerate its efforts to offer a broad wired and wireless networking portfolio at a time when more people are jumping onto mobile networks through their various devices, including smartphones and tablets.

As an indication of the importance HP is putting on the deal, Aruba CEO Dominic Orr and Keerti Melkote, Aruba's co-founder and chief strategy and technology officer, will run the new HP Networking unit after the deal closes later this year.