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Aruba unveils new data-center orchestration software, switches

News Analysis
Dec 07, 20203 mins
Data CenterNetworking

New Aruba CX 8360 switches plus Fabric Composer software is intended for distributed data centers.

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Aruba has taken the wraps off new orchestration software and switches that target users looking to build and support distributed data-centers.

Aruba Fabric Composer software simplifies leaf-and-spine network provisioning across the company’s CX switches and automates operations across a wide variety of virtualized, hyper-converged, and HPE compute and storage environments.

The Fabric Composer runs as runs as a virtual machine and eliminates the need for networking teams to manually configure CX switches. It offers workflow automation and a view of workflows supported by networking fabrics, switches, hosts and other resources, said Steve Brar, senior director of product marketing for Aruba.

Designed to work with Aruba AOS-CX switches, Fabric Composer can support non-HPE environments such as VMware vSphere, VMware NSX, Nutanix Prism and others, to enable automated fabric provisioning, event-based workflow automation, end-to-end network and host visibility, and automatic storage-traffic optimization, Brar said.

For example, via integration with VMware vSphere, Aruba Fabric Composer can discover and visualize virtual-network infrastructure within hosts along with the physical network infrastructure the hosts are connected to. In addition, it can respond to VM lifecycle events and configuration changes, making appropriate fabric changes automatically. VM administrators can manage fabric operations from a single VMware console, Aruba stated.

Fabric Composer is also optimized to integrate with parent company HPE’s data-center products such as HPE SimpliVity, HPE iLO as well as its own Aruba NetEdit.

“There is a trend toward workloads being processed at the edge of the traditional data-center network as well as the need for certain types of applications to be processed outside of the data center to the cloud,” Brar said. “The idea with Aruba Fabric Composer is to remove the complexity from these types of environments by automating configuration and control and bringing greater consistency.”

Such automation is growing as Gartner predicts that by 2023, 60% of data-center networking-configuration activities will be automated, up from 30% in early 2020.

While Aruba extended its software family, it also added new devices to its CX hardware portfolio.  

The new five-member CX 8360 family expands the company’s Edge Services Platform (ESP) offering to include 1/10/25/40/100GbE campus and data-center-switching models designed for businesses requiring high-performance spine-and-leaf architectures or lower port density/cost switching for edge data centers.  Earlier this year the company added the Aruba CX 6200 aimed at enterprise branch offices and campuses. The stackable boxes feature built-in analytics and automation support, Aruba stated.

The boxes run the company’s AOS-CX operating system which Aruba describes as a cloud-native, programmable software package that can automate and simplify many critical and complex network functions such as end-to-end network monitoring, and troubleshooting network-performance and security issues. 

The idea with the 8360 family is to give customer the flexibility to support distributed edge resources with the flexible features needed for small to large use cases, Brar said.

The company reached back to its parent company for its final piece of data-center ukpgrades by announcing the Fabric Composer and CX switches would be the network underpinning for new HPE Greenlake services. These include VM-as-a-Service, Container-as-a-Service, and SAP HANA-as-a-Service. HPE GreenLake the vendor’s core managed hybrid-cloud services edge, colocation and data-center customers based on a pay-per-use model.

The Aruba CX 8360 switch series, Aruba Fabric Composer, and partner ecosystem integrations are available today.  The Aruba Fabric Composer has a starting list price of $3,875 per CX switch. The CX 8360 Switches have a starting list price of $18,995  for the 24x10GbE model. HPE GreenLake and select integrations will be available starting Q1 2021, the company said.