Aruba Operating System (AOS) 8.0
Aruba Operating System (AOS) 8.0 code recently went “GA” to all of Aruba’s customers. AOS 8.0 is a complete ground-up rewrite of the Aruba Operating System, giving it a better scalability and increased network performance. Here are some of the more visible enhancements to the platform.
Adaptive Radio Management (ARM) Changes
ARM is Aruba’s proprietary feature that allows AP’s to automatically negotiate power levels and broadcasting channels to avoid co-channel interference and ensure optimal performance for all clients and applications. The biggest limitation of ARM in the past was that it would not negotiate channel width (20, 40, 80MHz), leaving a lot of unused channels in the higher-width frequencies unused. Another past quirk of ARM was that it would calculate about every 5 minutes. With calculations happening that frequently, it was possible for a microwave running in the break room (which creates interference on the 2.4GHz band) to completely change the channel assignment of a building.
To address these issues, Aruba has overhauled the ARM protocol in 8.0 – and it even comes with a new name: AirMatch. AirMatch was designed with the modern RF environment in mind. It is tuned for noisy and high density environments, as well as areas where free air space is scarce. (Remember, we only have so many channels available over Radio Frequency; and the FCC has reserved their fair share for the government and emergency services, leaving businesses even fewer available channels).
AirMatch gathers RF statistics for the past 24 hours and proactively optimizes the network for the next day. With the automated channel, channel widths and transmit power optimization, AirMatch ensures even channel use, assists in interface mitigation and maximizes system capacity.
Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP):
ZTP automates the deployment of APs and managed devices. Plug-n-play allows for fast and easy deployment and simplified operations, reduces costs and limits provisioning errors. ZTP was introduced in 70xx Mobility Controllers; and now in AurbaOS 8, we are extending the capability to include 72xx Mobility Controllers. The Mobility Controller receives its local configuration, global configuration and license limits from the master controller or the Mobility Master and provisions itself automatically.
In contrast to ArubaOS 6, which operates on a flat configuration model containing global and local configuration, ArubaOS 8 uses a centralized, multi-tier architecture under a new UI that provides a clear separation between management, control and forwarding functions. The entire configuration for both the Mobility Master and managed devices is configured from a centralized location- providing better visibility and monitoring as well as simplifying and streamlining the configuration process and minimizing repetition.
Centralized Licensing with Pools
IT teams can manage all their licenses from a centralized location with centralized licensing, either from the Mobility Master or the master controller. In the new AOS 8, we have extended ability to include centralized licensing with Pools. For some customers who have separate funding for different groups inside their corporation, they have the option of simply assigning licenses for each group to manage and consume themselves. This will drastically simplify licensing, especially troubleshooting licensing issues!
To summarize, AOS 8.0 is the future platform for all Aruba development. Great amounts of time have been spent re-writing everything to ensure performance and scalability going forward – this project was started before the HPE acquisition took place! Instead of bolting-on updates to the aging 6.0 platform like most vendors tend to do, Aruba has made a huge investment in the future by re-writing the underlying Operating System. This shows their commitment to being the #1 vendor in the wireless space for years to come.
For a better understanding of what upgrades were made in 8.0, download this tech brief.
There were far too many features and platform advancements for me to cover in a single blog (especially changes made to the deployment models), but you would like to have a discussion about these changes, feel free to Contact Zunesis.