Aruba Networks is having one busy week. Yesterday the company announced that it was being acquired by HP for $2.7 billion, and today Aruba announced a direct competitive shot against Cisco's Meraki Wi-Fi gear.
The new Aruba 7000 Series cloud services controllers consolidate multiple networking management capabilities, including centralized wireless access point management and security features for disparate branch office locations.
The idea of leveraging a cloud model for managing on-premises equipment is also one that Cisco's Meraki division has been promoting this year. Ozer Dondurmacioglu, senior director of product marketing for Aruba, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that Aruba’s solution is differentiated because it extends existing Aruba access network solutions to branch locations, thanks to the new feature set around WAN intelligence.
"The same ArubaOS software that powers the campus, powers the branch and the same network management platform – AirWave – integrates with the cloud services controllers," Dondurmacioglu said. "Perhaps more importantly, the cloud services controllers rely on the same AP hardware used in the campus to enable Wi-Fi access at the branch."
In Dondurmacioglu's view, the fact that Aruba's cloud services controller uses the same operating system and management platform as its existing portfolio is different than how the comparable Cisco Meraki solution is deployed.
One thing that is similar, though, is that just as the Cisco Meraki platform can only control Cisco devices, the Aruba 7000 series can only work with Aruba access points. That said, Dondurmacioglu noted that Aruba’s AirWave and ClearPass platforms offer multi-vendor management for existing wired or wireless networking gear.
The new Aruba 7000 controller will replace Aruba's traditional 600 and 3000 series controllers. Dondurmacioglu noted that the 7005 and 7010 models are ideal to upgrade from the 600 series, and the 7030 and 7024 models are ideal to upgrade from the 3000 series.
In total, there are four new 7000 models that Aruba is announcing, the 7005, 7010, 7024 and 7030. At the entry level, the 7005 has 4 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and can support up to 1,024 concurrent users and devices. The 7010 has 16 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet port and can support up to 2,048 concurrent users and devices. The 7024 has 24 x 10/100/1000 ports and also supports 2,048 concurrent users. Finally, the 7030 can support up to 4,096 concurrent users and devices.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.