Aruba Targets Wired World
The firm contends that parts of wired enterprise infrastructure -- particularly conference rooms and other areas frequented by multiple users -- could benefit from the advances in 802.11 security over the last couple of years, which assume that mobile users could connect to many different parts of a network over the course of a workday.
"[LAN] Perimeter security is really where the action is," opines Keerti Melkote, VP of product marketing at Aruba. "We want to be able to leverage the policy engine we built for wireless for wired security as well."
To do this, the firm has developed something akin to a wired access point, the $150 Aruba 2E, which is intended for installation in the wall just like wireless APs in the Aruba "grid" system. The 2E allows network managers to apply user authentication, rogue lockdown, and virus quarantine policies in the policy engine to wired users.
To ease the leap into overall LAN security, Aruba is also adding a high-capacity 6000 series switch -- a.k.a. "grid controller" -- to handle extra wired connections. In fact, the firm says that the new controller can support up to 512 "grid points" and 4,000 users.
So, Unstrung wonders, with this new emphasis on the wired world, is Aruba now a security play rather than a wireless LAN startup?
"Security, mobility, and wireless continue to be the three major areas of focus for us," insists Melkote.
Aruba is certainly not the first player in the wireless world to look at extending its capabilities to the wired world. Vernier Networks Inc. made a similar move earlier this year, as it brought yet another new CEO onboard (see Vernier's New New CEO).
But, however Aruba choses to define itself, it has one major rival in either market. And its name is Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). [Ed note: You may have heard of them.]
As Cisco has done with its Network Access Control (NAC) program, Aruba is hoping to beef up its home-grown security products with specific third-party offerings that can plug into its grid platform (see Aruba Grids Up and Cisco Leans on AirDefense). For a kickoff, the firm has teamed up with Fortinet Inc. and Sygate Technologies Inc. for additional anti-virus protection.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung