Aruba Switches Review

Provides plenty of options for automation and programming, a way forward for networking as a whole

What is our primary use case?

We had a need to implement a distributed data center, split over two different sites, which were still more or less in each other's vicinity, less than a kilometer apart. The Aruba CX line products was one of the candidates in review and it was deemed the most logical choice We are customers of Aruba and I'm the team leader of technical support.

What is most valuable?

What I like about the product is its open architecture, the API based line of thought, so to speak. There are plenty of options and possibilities for automation and programming. We see that as a way forward for networking as a whole. These are data center switches and it provides a good use case for programming and the like.

What needs improvement?

The solution is a little less convenient for more simplified management needs. It doesn't use a traditional, classical user interface for small changes. For monitoring, it's fine, but for small changes, less so. It means that our staff who have a less technical background are not able to help out with minor changes - the environment is less suitable for them.

I do think the graphical user interface for small changes could use some more love, so to speak. But let me reiterate that it's only required for staff that is less knowledgeable. For larger rollouts, larger deployment, everything ought to be API and program based. And in that department, the environment is quite sufficient.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for a couple of months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is great. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is great. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We're very happy with the technical support, they're doing a great job. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We switched to this product because the previous solution had reached its end of support and end of life.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup had some complexity to it. Implementation took about two or three months, but that was right at the top of the COVID-19 breakout here in the Netherlands. So we had quite a bit of a setback due to that. If it wasn't like that, it might've taken less time. Our network partner carried out the deployment - they did a great job. In normal times, we'd have between 500-600 users, but for now there are about 300 using the solution. Maintenance is not an issue. We don't have plans to increase usage for now. Our on-premise deployment has suffered a lot due to the COVID-19 outbreak so we have less customers on premises which means that for now there's no further deployment necessary.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at the Cisco option, but since we already had Aruba wireless and we had virtually no Cisco products in our environments, we went for Aruba. 

What other advice do I have?

If you start using these products, then it's a good idea to check whether the product that you're going to use is in the same management fabric. We use a slightly different hardware architecture for the access switches, the 2930f environment, and that uses a different management layer. So if I was to think about it again, I would try to see if it's possible to get the whole environment within the same management fabric. By doing that you ease up on a lot of the manageability issues.

I would rate this solution a nine out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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