Aruba Airheads EMEA 2013 – Day 1 – kick off

This is the largest airheads event since it began in 2010, 128 people in Barcelona, now grown to 410 registrations and 75 Aruba employees attendees from 35+ countries. This is split 55% customers and 45% partners.

The event started with a big surprise with Amazing Samba drummers.

Welcome and opening by Dietmar Holderle (VP EMEA)

Dietmar Holderle, VP EMEA

Dietmar Holderle, VP EMEA

This is your time – This is the community event for Aruba, network, use the time and enjoy it!

By preperation for the event, Aruba surveyed their customer, 47% said BYOD was the most important external focus and cloud virtulisation 37% (Picture). So hardly surpring if they surveyed the attendees at the conference, who are a mixture of system/network engineers, partners. The event has grown over the last 4 years and it truly an international conference.

CTO Address and Technical Demos: Keerti Melkote, CTO and Founder, Aruba Networks


For the last 10 years, the way Networks have been designed is with VLAN‘s as the construct. Voice, PC’s, Contractors all put on separate  VLANS. Wireless exteneded this at the start and wireless traffic would be on a seperate VLAN. Then Network access control came around and you had quarentine VLANS as well, add BYOD and you can see where the problems start. Too many user cases to segregate your network with VLANS. Unified comms also changes the model with multi-presence apps (such as Microsoft Lync)  which VLAN do you put this application on.  Protocols such as Bonjour (a layer 2 protocol) also make finding and controlling access to resources difficult. This static assignment of resources on the network to which applications and people can use them is outdated.

The personal LAN concept.

Flow based networking configuration – rather than static assignment of SSID‘s to VLAN’s to ACLs and QoS policy. The move to Software defined networks is where Aruba believes the future lies.  Application servers (e.g. Lync) , Core network switches (e.g. Arista) and the wireless controllers and APs (e.g. Aruba wireless) all play a part in dymanically assigning priorities on a session/application basis.  Aruba call this their MOVE architecture  and contains 3 layers (Air, Access and Apps).

Is the world ready for a wireless world to replace fixed LAN ports.? Aruba think so;

  • 802.11ac – multiple streams (3)  from the AP to the wireless client allow a theoretical maximum of 1.2Gbps. 2 x 1Gbps interfaces for backhaul.  Dsitance to the AP is a killer to performance and Aruba offer beam forming technology to improve performance when > 50ft away from the Access point. Client Match is Aruba’s solution to this and based on various algorithms will match a client to the best performing AP for that client. Some clients are worse than others and “stick” to an AP rather than roam –  Androids are worst sticky clients, Samsung Galaxy Tab “never roams” to better wifi access point.
  • AppRF helps these algorithms by doing deep packet inspection of the payload.  In some cases applications allow (via an API) AppRF to understand what is happening within the application. Microsoft Lync is a good example of this as the traffic is enctpyed and therefore traditionally would not allow to this deep packet inspection.
  • Scale – bigger controllers supporting more AP’s and bigger uplinks into the core network. More flexible access switches smaller end and larger end.
  • Zero touch provision and Monitoring – Aruba activate is a free cloud based service (Airwatch)  by Aruba to provision APs with zero touch and automates firmware upgrades and inventory management.  Aruba central (currently in BETA) builds on this by adding monitoring and management functionality to the portfolio.

Clearpass access management & Workspace


Clearpass 6.2 announced that will allow the enterprise to control the device after onboarding it  (? how does a user control this !) – basically an MDM lite

Aruba seem to be treading a fine line in building MDM and Mobile Application Management (ArubaNetworks workspace) into their products. I’m not reallly clear where this leaves the MDM partnerships that ARuba have .  Products like Airwatch, MAAS 360 from fibrelink and their other partners must be wondering this also?

  • User self service – Aruba have published a MyAccess applicaiotn deisgn for end users to register new devices to the network and also register their guests.


  • Extends device provisioning/on-boarding and allows corporate allowed applications to be downlaoded into a secure container.
  • Workshapce gives you the environment to do Application level (micro IPSEC VPN) and policy based control over the application.
  • Application provisioning and wrapping
  • Integration into clearpass management.

The policies in workspace are very powerful and include geo-fencing and time based policy as well as application level securiy policies that increase/decrease the security levels of each application.

Aruba have introduced an integration to iOS Passport (well at least someone is using it!) – I might even use the application myself now.

Aruba Meridian Apps

Location based application using the Wi-Fi network.  Cisco have a similar product (checking the name!) but this is very compelling to consumer markets.



Blog Site for Jason Boud and Beyond Mobile Ltd.
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