Aruba Networks has always been a mobile networking company, with a product portfolio of wireless access points and related software. But when Aruba Networks was first founded back in 2002, wireless connectivity wasn't as pervasive as it is today in modern enterprises.
In a bid to double down on its mobile heritage and capabilities, Aruba today announced its Mobile First Platform. While wireless hardware in the form of access points and controllers has long been the mainstay of Aruba's portfolio, the Mobile First Platform is starting off with a software strategy.
Aruba last updated its hardware portfolio in March, with the new 330 Series access point and the added benefits of technology from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). HPE acquired Aruba for $2.7 billion in 2015.
At the core of the new Mobile First Platform is a new version of ArubaOS, which is the flagship firmware operating system that enables Aruba's hardware portfolio. With ArubaOS 8.0, a key feature highlight is an API that opens up Aruba's hardware for the software defined networking (SDN) era. The API enables third-party developers and software vendors to integrate contextual networking information from Aruba's technology. ArubaOS 8 can also be be deployed as a virtual machine (VM), providing organizations with new flexibility for deployment.
ArubaOS 8 is a new operating system that allows developers to leverage contextual information from the infrastructure via its northbound API. Deployed as a virtual machine (VM) on a server appliance, ArubaOS 8 significantly simplifies changes within the infrastructure and enables customers to instantly scale their networks.
Aruba is also extending its ClearPass technology, bringing it to the Mobile First Platform. ClearPass was first announced by Aruba in 2012 as a way to help organizations deal with the BYOD (bring your own device) challenge. The new ClearPass Extensions platform enables IT professionals to integrate cloud services together with ClearPass for access and policy control.
Looking also to the cloud, Aruba is improving its Aruba Central management service. Aruba Central was first announced in October 2013 as a cloud controller for Aruba's hardware. Now Aruba is expanding Central to enable partners to create custom branded managed services.
In a bid to further its partnership and channel business, Aruba also announced a new "Network-as-a-Service" (NaaS) offering enabling an operational cost model for consuming Aruba's products and servers. The Aruba NaaS is being offered in collaboration with HPE Financial Services, HPE Technology Services and consulting firms Accenture and Deloitte.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist