Aruba CX

Aruba AOS-CX: operating system for a future-oriented data center

15 October 2021

Technology review
Hybrid Cloud

If you're investing in updating or upgrading your data center, when you choose Aruba AOS-CX you are choosing a future-oriented solution. The benefits of the operating system are located right at two junctions: between network and security, and between data center and multicloud. What's more, the software also facilitates substantial cost savings. This is the conclusion of our experts.

Read the report of the interview with Renier De Witte, Technical Consultant, en Tim De Wever, Solution Specialist at Inetum-Realdolmen below.

Aruba AOS-CX is a network operating system. It aims to simplify and automate critical and complex network tasks. AOS-CX is built on microservices. The solution is fully addressable through Rest APIs, lowering the threshold for automating tasks.

Aruba AOS-CX is typically put on the agenda when updating or upgrading a data center. After all, switching is still the foundation of the network. Using AOS-CX – the operating system runs on the data center switches – paves the way for a wealth of benefits that take data center availability and management to the next level.

Always available

In today's business landscape, networks have to be available around the clock. This burdens the network administrator with a further challenge, as the need for continuous availability does not allow for scheduling downtime for upgrades or configuration changes. Aruba's CX Switching portfolio – which also includes AOS-CX – provides a solution to this problem through Virtual Switching Extension (VSX). This application makes it possible to stack switches without being dependent on the hardware itself. 

VSX provides a solution that is much more resilient than an ordinary switching stack. The switches are no longer subject to hardware breakdowns, firmware updates, and so on. Situations such as these normally require a reboot of the switch stack. That is no longer necessar with VSX, since it is a completely software-driven solution.

AOS-CX separates the management layer (configuration) and the data layer (switching). This creates an attractive advantage. If a process gets stuck somewhere in the management layer, it has no impact on the data plane. If something needs to be restarted in this situation, such as a routing service, you can restart it while the routing traffic continues to run as usual at the same time. 

VSX takes this further with the ability to combine two or more switches. This lets you stretch the data layer while the underlying control plane remains split. Simply put: if one switch fails, another takes over immediately, with no impact on data traffic. 

Virtual network stretching

A second key element in the CX Switching portfolio is VX-LAN. This is a virtualization technology within switching that allows layer 2 networks to be virtually stretched on top of a layer 3 network. This means that you can extend the same network over physically separate locations without having to do anything in the configuration area.

In concrete terms, VX-LAN stretches the layer 2 domain over different switches, which may or may not be within the same data center. This enables traffic over layer 2 between two data centers, while VX-LAN ensures that this takes place as if the two switches were side by side in the same data center. That has a significant advantage for iSCSI traffic because that traffic is not routable, making it very difficult to have iSCSI traffic run over different locations. This is nevertheless possible via VX-LAN, because the application does not know that the traffic runs between different data centers.

Using VX-LAN makes it possible to take blocks of applications from one data center and put them in another. VX-LAN provides the connection between the two, without this making any difference to the application. In the same vein, you can extend VX-LAN to the cloud, where the application also thinks it is still just in the data center. 

It is a functionality that creates a particularly dynamic data center environment: not only functional, but also practical. Companies wishing to deploy a second data center as their network needs evolve, or to split or relocate their data center, will find VX-LAN to be a solution that makes a lot possible.

Cost reduction

In the non-functional domain – in the data center itself – using AOS-CX also provides a significant benefit, particularly because both storage traffic and network traffic can run over the same switching stack. Historically, hardware vendors always recommended running storage traffic and network traffic over separately allocated switches. There were two reasons for this: performance and resilience

Aruba AOS-CX, however, improves the resilience of the switching stack so much that the need for separate hardware is eliminated, while still maintaining the desired level of performance. This naturally results in significant savings in the data center, because suddenly you only need half as many switches. At this point, the TCO drops significantly because not only does half of the procurement cost disappear, but also half of the maintenance and management costs.

Inetum-Realdolmen: HPE & Aruba Platinum Partner

Companies that opt for the combination of HPE and Aruba solutions in the data center have an additional advantage. As a Platinum Partner, we act as a single point of contact for our customers for the entire data center and network environment.

Could this be a good solution for you, too?

Do you have any questions about this technology review? Would you like a non-binding consultation or advice with our experts? Feel free to contact us via



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