Aruba Switches Reviews, Competitors and Pricing (2022)

What is our primary use case?

The Arubaswitch is supporting a doctor's office, so it's an on-premise switch.These particular switches provide the fundamental network for the entire office, including power over ethernet for the security cameras andwireless access points. The solution also providesnetwork switching between databases and clients. I manage the switchesusingthe Aruba Central public cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

Aruba gives me greater networkvisibility compared to an unmanaged solution. I mostly use unmanaged switches atother locations and offices.

What is most valuable?

I like the Aruba Central platform. It makes a lot of sense.The switches have a lot of great capabilities. Central can lockdown VLANs and controlthe apps and protocols.

There are several built-in securityfeatures that I'm not utilizing. However, those capabilities are part of the reasonI'm usingenterprise switches in a small office. I like knowing that I cando these things when necessary.

What needs improvement?

There are some growing pains with Aruba Central. When you first launch the wirelessaccess points or switches, a lot of updates are needed to get Aruba Central ready, especially on the access points, sothe initial deployment time could improve.

I would hope that I could just turn it onand leave the updates until later on. The switches themselves probably did okay. I'm primarily referring to the wireless access points. There wasa lot of back and forth before everything was in sync. It took hours.

I can't think of any missing features, but it would be nice if there were a free version of Aruba Central for my small business clients thatdoesn't have as many features.

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For how long have I used the solution?

I got one switch a while back andwas using it in a lab situation to play around with it a little bit. I wasn't utilizing it a whole lot. It was more like, "Hey, how do you configure this? How does it work?" In the last couple of weeks,I added asecond 6200 S switch and threw it into an actual production environment where it's being utilized.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is fine. I've got two 6200 24-port switches, so48 ports total. I Aruba switches are capable of putting trunk groups in between.It's a chiropractic office, so we've got32 network tables all plugged in between servers and all of the devices, and then there areall the computers hanging on the walls and stuff like that.

However, in reality, it'stypically only four people working at the officeat any given time, but they run around from room to room usingx-rays, computers, and all that other stuff, so there area lot of different devices. In total, there are32 ethernet cables plugged into these two switches.

Some people define a user as a person typing on the keyboard, but In a chiropractic office, you have customers who walk into the adjusting room and scan their little cards. Meanwhile,the doctor kind of walks from room to room. It's really only one doctor.

We'll be bringingadditional computers online over the next couple of years as they ramp up that office, so there will beincreased utilization of the switches even inside that office. I will also be adding switches for each of my clients. I mean as I'm going in and taking over managed service provider relationships with these clients, I'll be looking at putting those same switches, so I have complete visibility.

How are customer service and support?

I rate Aruba support six out of 10. Like many vendors,Aruba is dealing withstaffing shortages or other things. Once you get somebody on the line, they'reusually pretty good. It's just a matter of getting to the correctperson and the time it takes to respond.

I'm not trying to bash Aruba because they're not the only ones having this problem with tiered support.It's crucial to learn the equipment, soyou can hopefully do most of the maintenance and troubleshooting yourself.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Neutral

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

My other clients haveunmanagedNetgear switches, but it'sapples to oranges. They may be switches, but they're not in the same class. It's ahome network switch versus an enterprise network switch.

How was the initial setup?

Deploying the switches itselfwasn't that complex. You can make it complex depending on what you want to do. You can implement VLANs anddo all sorts of wonderful things, but for this particular implementation, I didn't really need that level of complexity.

It took aboutan hour totake the switches out of the boxand onboard the devices onAruba Central. They work out of the box even without Aruba Central. You can take them out, turn them on, plug them in, and they will function as a basic unmanaged switch. There's not a whole lot that you have to do for it.

What about the implementation team?

I do all of my own stuff.I'm a solo managed service provider.

What was our ROI?

The return on investment for me in these switches will come when we start facing network challenges. Some of the applications at this doctor's office rely onold file-based databases.When they start having problems with the application, and the vendor starts saying that's a network problem, that's when I'll get my real return on investment.

I canpull up the Aruba Central platform and say, "Nope, it's not a network problem, and here's why. You're getting no gig speed. There are no errors on any of the ports orfailed packets." Having all thatvisibility is where the true return on investment is going to come. It's preparing for those types of debates. I'mtired of people blaming the networks. It may be.It could bea configuration or something else, but it's something else most of the time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I am paying for the hardware and Aruba Centrallicenses, but I would like a version of Aruba Centralto come out with a lightversion with a few features turned off. Ubiquiti and other vendors have free tools.

I believe they're looking at that, but it's not out yet. I hope theywill release that to make it competitive because I'm using an enterprise-class switch for small businesses. We're looking for some of those capabilities, but not all of them.

Aruba has its Soho class switches, which areinstant-on platforms. However, with theinstant-on platform,you need tomanage everything with individual clouds instead ofbringing all of them under one console.

There's an annual license fee for theAruba Central cloud management platform for each Aruba device. You don't need licenses forthe hardware and other support, but if you don't pay for the Aruba Central license, you will not get firmware updates or technical support. You have to have those at least for probably several years.

When you reach a point where you're managing 100-150 devices in a small business, you suddenly needmultiple layers of switches, and then you have to get intocampus networks, trunk groups, VLANs, etc. Then, you needsegmentation between different levels.

You have toutilize those additional capabilities and features more than you would for a dozen or so computers. You typically aren't going to create a bunch of VLANs, trunk groups, and multiple switches for a dozen computers. It doesn't make sense.

I think under 250 people would technically be classified as a small business. However, when I say "smallbusiness," I mean10-20people physically working at a building. Still, the price is reasonable. I'd rate Aruba eight out of 10 for affordability.

Asa managed service provider, I also have access to discounts that help me manage costs better.As I own all the switches, so I keep adding people to theswitches I own.Aruba has been good about providing a managed service provider discount to make it competitive. If they didn't, it would be kind of hard to justify spending $4,000 on these switches for a tiny business like a doctor's office.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I looked at Ubiquiti, Cisco, and some other solutions, but I havea friend who works for Aruba.I opted to go with Aruba after chatting with him about where it's positioned in the market. Aruba seems to be a leader, especially in wireless access points andsome of the newer capabilities and features.

I was looking fornetwork switches that could be managed with the same wireless access points in one console, so that gave it to me with Aruba. Some people are fine with having one console for switches and anotherfor wireless access points.Asa solo managed service provider, I'm all about simplicity, so I was really looking for one solution that would handle both.

What other advice do I have?

I rate ArubaSwitchesnine out of 10.If you're deploying these types of switches, I encourage people to utilize some type of cloud-based management console. If you don't use Aruba, make sure whatever you use has cloud managementto give youvisibility into what's going on in terms of configuration, errors, etc.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner

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