Apoorva Talwar, Product Manager, Instant On
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the needs of small businesses have changed with the changing restrictions around on-site visits for installation, troubleshooting and management. More than ever before the ability to install with limited in-person presence as well as remote management are considered key features in a post-pandemic environment. Even before the pandemic, small businesses were always on the lookout for a simpler way to deploy with little or no IT expert help and manage their networks efficiently and the recent events have only precipitated that need.
Aruba Instant On 1960 switch series is designed keeping in mind the realities of small businesses today and brings with it the stacking capabilities to meet the resiliency and growth requirements of the future. The 1960 switches can be stacked and managed not only locally, but also via Instant On cloud web portal and mobile app, offering easy configuration and management, scalability, flexibility, and high availability in the network.
This 1960 series of switches allow up to four 1960 switches to be stacked together so that they can be configured and managed as a single logical device. It also supports hybrid stacking which allows both access and aggregation switches to be stacked together in a single stack in either a chain or ring topology, making all the features in different switches accessible through a single management interface.
Local Stacking – for those who like it the conventional way
Local stacking allows the stack to be configured, managed, and monitored through the local web GUI, where the switches act as a single logical device with a single management IP address, without the hassle of managing switches individually. The stack can be formed by simply connecting the switch or the network to a PC or workstation, configuring the stacking ports on each stack member, numbering those switches, either automatically or manually, and finally connecting the switches with one another using stacking cables, resulting in a conductor, backup, and member showing up in the stack. Local stacking offers high availability and robust performance, offering a perfect network solution for small businesses and ideally suited for businesses that would like to configure and manage the 1960 switches locally.
Cloud-Managed Stacking – for those who prefer simplicity and flexibility
Whereas cloud-managed stacking offers much more flexibility, where the stack can be remotely configured, managed, and monitored via Instant On the cloud web portal or mobile app anytime and from anywhere. One just needs to connect the stacking cables in ring or chain topology and connect the stack to the Internet and from there on the stack can be set up and managed remotely, without having to physically visit the site.
In the case of a ring topology, the stack is auto-discovered and is configured by following a streamlined workflow involving few guided steps. Alongside, there is also an option to configure the stack manually, by onboarding each switch individually by quickly pulling out the orange luggage tag and scanning its QR code.
All this is done without any interruption in the network as there is no stack reboot with cloud-managed stacking, offering an incredible solution for the businesses that don’t have in-house IT experts, and yet requires management convenience, easy configuration, and reliable networks.
While cloud-managed stacking sets up the stack as one logical L2 device, it uses multiple IP addresses (only for the management plane) and is different from the traditional notions associated of a single IP address per stack.
This flexibility of having multiple IP addresses per stack (one IP per switch in a stack) allows for dynamic reconfiguration such as changing roles, handling failure scenarios without a reboot while continuing to operate as a single L2 device even when the connection to the Internet fails.
What’s Even Better?
With cloud-managed stacking, there is no wait or any network interruption due to stack reboot, be it while creating a stack, changing the roles of the switches within a stack, or even adding or removing a member from a stack. Even when the connectivity to the Internet is lost, the stack remains intact and continues to function locally while also handling error scenarios such as link and switch failure without any help from the cloud management portal.
Key Benefits of Stacking On Instant On 1960 Switches
- Easy Configuration and Management with Cloud-Managed Stacking: 1960 switches allow easy and simplified configuration, management, and monitoring of the network, where two or more switches connected in a stack act as a single logical switch, significantly reducing the management overhead and simplifying network operations. With cloud-managed stacking, the stack is auto-discovered and is configured by simply following few guided steps, without the help of an IT expert.
- Replacing a failed switch requires an out-of-box switch replacement, where the new device will automatically get the configurations and settings of the replaced switch, without having to re-configure it all over again. It is plug-n-play when using cloud-managed stacking.
- Adding a new switch is equally easy, especially with cloud-managed stacking, where a new switch can be onboarded as a standalone and easily integrated into a stack, without the new switch rebooting.
- Removing a switch is just as easy as removing the stack cable and by a single click to remove the member from the stack, again without a reboot of the switch. Even an entire four-switch stack can be unstacked and turned into standalone units with a single click and none of the switches rebooting.
- Scalability: 1960 stacking allows up to four 1960 switches to be stacked together, expanding port density and offering up to 208 ports, along with all the features from different switches to be managed through a single interface.
- Flexibility: 1960 switches allow any port to be used as a stacking port (both 1G and 10G), offering flexibility in how customers setup their stacks.
- High Availability: In the case of a link or switch failure, the 1960 stacking maintains its resiliency and high availability, ensuring continued traffic flow and a reliable network.
All in all, the Aruba Instant On 1960 switch series offers numerous advantages in setting up a high-bandwidth, easy to manage, scalable, and redundant network without the help of an IT expert or major disruptions in the network, making its way as a highly successful switch series for small businesses.