April 01, 2022
Three key features of Aruba Central v.2.5.4
Organizations can continually adopt and integrate product updates in real time.
Adopting cloud-based orchestration tools maintained and improved by vendors gives organizations agility and flexibility to adopt new features and capabilities, improves infrastructure with product updates and requires less administrative overhead. The newest iteration of Aruba Central is a cloud-based orchestration platform providing insight and management for various products within the Aruba Networks portfolio.
Here are some of the key new features and enhancements.
Aruba’s AOS-CX switch line was originally positioned as a data center-ready switch platform. It quickly expanded out of the data center by including design considerations such as a single operating system model, an underlying microservices architecture, unified enforcement policies and an API-first approach to simplify management and automation.
The beauty of a single operating system model with a versatile hardware family has provided customers with a switching platform that can find a home in any segment of the traditional corporate wired network. CX switches can provide core, aggregation and access functionality.
In Central 2.5.4, Aruba has included configuration of AOS-CX VSF stacks using both UI and template groups. Previously, a CX switch stack needed manual provisioning, either by the CX mobile app or the command line. Now, customers can treat switches requiring VSF stacking like any other Central device by cabling the device and performing configuration from the dashboard. Supported for both UI and template groups, this is a big win for zero-touch and remote deployments.
The 2.5.4 release brought a total of 10 new features to the CX UI configuration. While all these features are useful, some may be overlooked.
First is the addition of Client Roles in the UI. The ability to leverage roles is a major strength across all of Aruba’s product lines, and user roles allowing adjustment of capabilities such as VLAN mode, trust mode and VLAN for the CX switch are no exception. Also, the option of User-Based Tunneling is available in the Client Roles UI.
Another more workflow-oriented feature is multiple browser tab support. While this isn’t a new feature on the switch itself, there’s lots of value for an administrator to be able to open tabs simultaneously to compare groups or individual switches side by side. When other methods fail, the simple “stare and compare” approach can be effective.
Expanding API endpoints provides the administrator access to data that might be relevant for their needs but not necessarily at the forefront of the Central interface. Additionally, other groups inside an organization (marketing, help desk, etc.) can glean value from network data that might be useful when corelated with their own, often in the form of a custom dashboard. Here are some of the new API endpoints.
The addition of “running-config-backup” is a great endpoint automating regular backups outside of Central’s built-in scheduling. The “GET” endpoints return device configuration, which allows more traditional methods of troubleshooting analysis or even storage of those configs in a system outside of Central.
Previously, client monitoring required different endpoints to get client information. Now that option is a parameter for a single endpoint, and several new parameters have been included such as “timerange” and “client_status.”
Multiple new AI Ops endpoints allow for both the collection of a list of insights and the ability to pull details based on specific insight ID. Each list and detail concept contain endpoints for networks, sites, APs, clients, gateways and switches, which allows the end user to gather insight data as widely or narrowly as desired.
Unity EdgeConnect Monitoring in Central
Aruba Central v2.5.4 introduces integration with EdgeConnect SD-WAN (Formerly Silver Peak). A new column is available within the Network Health Dashboard labeled “EdgeConnect Status” as well as a new entry in the Network Health Card labeled the same. Once integration is configured utilizing Aruba Central and Unity Orchestrator API Keys, sites within the EdgeConnect SD-WAN Fabric are automatically mapped to existing sites within Aruba Central, utilizing their geographic proximity.
A device or site’s physical address configured during onboarding is converted to its corresponding latitude/longitude and matched to correlate the data within the systems. It is important to this process that sites are precreated within Aruba Central since EdgeConnect devices that do not have a corresponding site will not be present in the Network Health site list.
Within the Network Health Card and the Network Health Dashboard, the “EdgeConnect Status” field provides a simple red/green icon to indicate alarms. When “red,” administrators are automatically redirected to the Unity Orchestrator’s “Alarms” monitoring menu for further information.
Unity EdgeConnect Monitoring in Central If you are looking to transform your Aruba environment by implementing Aruba Central, CDW is ready to assist along that journey. Reach out to your CDW account manager for more information.
Story by Colin Vallance, a principal technical architect for CDW with a focus on wireless technologies and automation/programmability. In his role, Colin is responsible for the development of Wi-Fi solutions and services to meet the ever-changing needs of customers. Colin has been at CDW for more than a decade, first as a delivery engineer and then as a technical lead, before becoming a technical architect. During his time in delivery, Colin surveyed millions of square feet, implemented dozens of networks and had the pleasure of working on several CDW stadium projects. He holds a CCIE Wireless, various certifications from Cisco, Aruba and Meraki as well as U.S. patent 10,789,846.
Story by Ryan Ulrick, a technical architect for CDW with a focus on enterprise networking technologies. Ryan’s experience in several roles within CDW’s service delivery organization helped shape his customer-first perspective before his move to research and development. He now leverages that customer-first perspective to create relevant and valuable professional and managed services for CDW customers. He currently holds professional-level certifications from Cisco, Aruba and Meraki as well as expert-level certifications from Silver Peak Systems (an Aruba company).