Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), has unveiled their Distributed Services Switch. The new switch allows businesses to deploy software-defined stateful services where data is created and processed, removing the need for legacy appliances and host software to build the hybrid clouds that modern applications and IT organizations demand.

The Aruba CX 10000 Series Switch is a new category of data center switches that combines best-of-breed Aruba data center L2/3 switching with a fully programmable DPU (Pensando Elba) to deliver stateful software-defined services inline, at scale, with wire-rate performance and orders of magnitude scale and performance improvements over traditional data center L2/3 switches. These switches would become available at a fraction of the TCO of traditional data center L2/3 switches.

“Markets in transition create new opportunities for disruption. As the Cloud moves to the Edge, distributed services are disrupting everything from AI/ML, to 5G and virtualization,” said John Chambers, chairman of Pensando, CEO of JC2 Ventures, and former CEO of Cisco Systems. “This new category – the Distributed Services Switch, enabled by Pensando software-in-silicon, makes the process of deploying distributed services, previously only available to hyperscalers like AWS, in the enterprise both simple and more cost-effective. By eliminating legacy appliances and host software, enterprises can deliver 100x the scale and 10x the performance at 1/3 the TCO of traditional approaches.”

Rethinking Today’s Network Services Model

While data center networking has evolved over the last decade, with faster 25/100/400G leaf-spine topologies to handle the volume and velocity of developing application designs, security and services architectures have not.

Centralized security equipment are becoming inefficient, costly, and difficult to operate as east-west traffic in the data center explodes, stated Aruba. Simply put, hair-pinning traffic to a data center edge appliance results in significant performance, cost, and operational consequences.

Microservices-based applications would compound the problem because traffic may not even need to leave a physical host to go from one service to another. This means that certain application traffic may never be reviewed by a hardware firewall, intrusion prevention system, or other security devices, leaving businesses open to attacks from within.

Aruba CX 10000 Series Switch with Pensando

Photo Prem Jain, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Pensando Systems
“This announcement further extends the partnership between HPE and Pensando – by incorporating Distributed Services from Pensando into the industry-leading Aruba switching platform, the elimination of legacy technologies needed to build a zero-trust private cloud has never been easier or more cost-effective,” said Prem Jain, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Pensando Systems.

The Aruba CX 10000 Series Switch with Pensando is a whole new type of switching solution that addresses the restrictions of traditional systems. The Aruba CX 10000 will enable operators to extend industry-standard leaf-spine networking with distributed stateful segmentation, east-west firewalling, NAT, encryption, and telemetry services – all delivered inline, all the time, on every access port, bringing critical enterprise applications closer to their users.

”Aruba and Pensando have enabled the industry’s first distributed services architecture that allows enterprises to create and operate network infrastructures that perform and scale just like the hyperscale infrastructure giants,” said Alan Weckel, founder and technology analyst at 650 Group. “We believe this is an emerging industry category, distinguished from all others, that will grow over time. New and emerging workloads like AI/ML will drive the ecosystem towards comparable solutions based on innovative, distributed services principles.”

Where it can be impracticable and costly to drive traffic back and forth across the network to a centralized policy enforcement point, the new solution launched by Aruba provides a unique mix of performance, size, and automation for spreading sophisticated networking and security services. Instead, these services may now be applied at the network access layer edge, where the apps are operating. The following are some of the most common first use cases:

  • On-premises Enterprise Data Centers and Private Cloud – Traditional data center designs with centralized, hardware-based security appliances are nearing their breaking point, imposing unsustainable performance, agility, and cost constraints. With unified network and security automation and policy management, the Aruba CX 10000 provides a compelling architecture for distributing advanced services to the data center edge. By avoiding the need to hairpin local traffic to a centralized chokepoint, this novel method improves network bandwidth and performance while reducing appliance sprawl, complexity, and expense.
  • Colocation Edge – Securely Interconnecting Cloud Providers – Using standard hardware to encrypt access to the public cloud is prohibitively expensive. Many clients are required to encrypt all access to public cloud services due to regulatory requirements. For public cloud dedicated connections from on-premises or co-location data centers, the Aruba CX 10000 delivers edge routing, line-rate encryption, firewall, and NAT, as well as end-to-end telemetry. This solution dramatically decreases the total cost of ownership, improves security architecture, and minimizes the IT blast radius and risk of a business.
  • Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) was designed to unify, automate and secure all network edge services across domains including remote, branch, campus and data center. The Aruba CX 10000 enables clients to extend a Zero Trust Network Architecture to the network-server edge of the data center, offering 800G E-W Stateful Services over every switch port, drastically increasing and improving the security of essential applications and workloads.

“We are excited that Aruba has brought the Distributed Services approach to the next level by elevating it from the server to the Top-of-Rack networking layer,” said John Galatea, vice president of Sales at Dasher Technologies, an Aruba Platinum Partner. “We believe our clients will benefit from the enhanced granular security and visibility provided by the Aruba CX 10000 while optimizing network and infrastructure resources. This architecture allows our clients to overcome the limitations of legacy solutions by moving security closer to where applications and workloads are being processed.”

Extending the HPE/Pensando Relationship

This new solution complements the previously announced Pensando Distributed Services Platform (DSP) for HPE Servers, delivered as a factory option in HPE ProLiant servers, HPE Apollo systems, and HPE Edgeline Converged Edge systems.

The Aruba CX 10000 extends the implementation of these intelligent services into the data center network fabric, addressing a wider range of use cases including brownfield deployments or infrastructure agnostic/heterogeneous environments to complement or augment SmartNIC deployments.

“This announcement further extends the partnership between HPE and Pensando – by incorporating Distributed Services from Pensando into the industry-leading Aruba switching platform, the elimination of legacy technologies needed to build a zero-trust private cloud has never been easier or more cost-effective,” said Prem Jain, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Pensando Systems. “I look forward to continuing our relationship and to bringing additional solutions to market.”

As part of the joint relationship, Pensando also gains access to HPE’s comprehensive patent portfolio through its Defensive Patent Purchase Program.

Availability and Pricing

The Aruba CX 10000 will be generally available in January 2022 with pricing starting at $45,000. This will include accelerated Stateful Firewall, Zero Trust Segmentation, ERSPAN, Telemetry, and DDoS protection.

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