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calendar_month 07-Mar-24

Data Center Introduction

The HPE Aruba Networks ESP Data Center uses technology and tools to transform the data center into a modern, agile, services delivery platform. Organizations of any size, distributed or centralized, can benefit from streamlined perfomance and improved network cost-effectiveness using the ESP Data Center.

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The Aruba AOS-CX operating system simplifies overall operations and maintenance using a common switch operating system across the campus, branch, and data center. The system can be managed in the cloud or on-premises. AOS-CX employs robust artificial intelligence functions that continually analyze and realign network flow to ensure that the system operates seamlessly in accordance with network management best practice, without requiring manual IT staff intervention.

The use of converged Ethernet has changed the way hosts access storage within the modern data center. Dedicated storage area networks are no longer required. Lossless Ethernet and bandwidth management protocols ensure timely reads and writes using a traditional IP LAN. The combined cost savings and operational simplicity are driving a major conversion to converged Ethernet.

At the same time, network topologies have become virtualized. Although virtualization delivers the flexibility required to meet the changing data center requirements, it can present complexity and challenges with implementation and management. The Aruba ESP Data Center addresses these challenges by automating installation and implementation of the Aruba AOS-CX operating system, with features such as automated device group configuration, Zero Touch Provisioning, scheduled configuration backups, dashboard-ready network performance metrics, and built-in alerts for critical network functions.

Before designing a new or transformed data center, it is important to consider the organization’s current and projected strategy for hosting and accessing applications from the cloud. Determine the applications that will remain on-premises so you can establish a data center with ample storage to meet requirements.

The Aruba Networks CX 83xx, CX 84xx, and CX 10000 switching platforms provide a best-in-class suite of products featuring a variety of high-throughput port configurations, industry-leading operating system modularity, real-time analytics, and “always up” performance.

This guide explores deploying HPE Aruba Networks switches to create a modern EVPN-VXLAN solution and a traditional Layer 2 two-tier architecture.

EVPN-VXLAN Deployment Overview

An EVPN-VXLAN architecture accommodates growth and provides network flexibility using a Layer 3 spine-and-leaf underlay with a software-defined fabric overlay. Spine switches provide connectivity between leaves, while data center hosts are attached to leaf switches. The EVPN-VXLAN fabric overlay simultaneously supports Layer 3 segmentation and Layer 2 adjacency between hosts anywhere in the data center using standards-based protocols. Reachability information between hosts is shared using BGP’s EVPN address family. VXLAN encapsulation is used to forward traffic between overlay hosts using the Layer 3 underlay as a transport service.

The Aruba ESP EVPN-VXLAN architecture provides the following benefits:

  • A fault tolerant design that accommodates hardware failures at multiple levels.
  • Easy incremental east-west capacity expansion by adding switches at the spine layer.
  • Programmatic Layer 2 VLAN reachability across the data center.
  • Programmatic expansion of Layer 3 segments supporting data center multitenancy.
  • Inline policy enforcement using the Aruba CX 10000 switch.
  • Microsegmentation of attached hypervisor VMs.
  • Switch upgrades without a service outage.
  • Orchestrated configuration, management, and operations using Aruba Fabric Composer.

Layer 2 Two-Tier Deployment Overview

A Layer 2 two-tier architecture supports a resilient, high capacity data center design without the need for specialized knowledge in overlay protocols. Multi-chassis link aggregations (MC-LAGs) provide multiple Layer 2 redundant data paths between a collapsed data center core and access switches, and between access switches and their attached data center hosts.

The Aruba ESP Layer 2 Two-Tier architecture provides the following benefits:

  • A fault tolerant design that can accommodate hardware failures at multiple levels.
  • Layer 2 VLAN reachability across the data center.
  • Inline policy enforcement using the Aruba CX 10000 switch.
  • Microsegmentation of attached hypervisor VMs.
  • Switch upgrades without a service outage.
  • Simplified configuration, management, and operations using Aruba Central cloud-based controls.

Purpose of this Guide

This guide describes the Aruba ESP Data Center Network deployment, with reference for architectural options and associated hardware and software components. It delivers best-practice recommendations for deploying a next generation spine-and-leaf data center fabric using VXLAN and BGP EVPN to take advantage of the orchestration capabilities of Aruba Fabric Composer. Refer to volume one of this VSG for additional design guidance: Aruba VSG: Data Center Design

This guide assumes the reader has an equivalent knowledge of an Aruba Certified Switching Associate.


This guide is written for IT professionals who need to deploy an Aruba Data Center Network. These IT professionals serve in a variety of roles:

  • Systems engineers who require a standard set of procedures to implement network solutions
  • Project managers who create statements of work for Aruba implementations
  • Aruba partners who sell technology or create implementation documentation.

Customer Use Cases

Data center networks change rapidly. The most pressing challenge is maintaining operational stability and visibility for users while moving or upgrading computing and storage resources. In addition, data center teams must continue to support the rapid pace of DevOps environments and meet growing requirements to connect directly and continue operations within the public cloud infrastructure.

Within a rapidly changing landscape, it is critical that network and system engineers responsible for meeting data requirements have efficient tools to streamline and automate complex infrastructure configurations.

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© Copyright 2024 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for Hewlett Packard Enterprise products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Hewlett Packard Enterprise shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Aruba Networks and the Aruba logo are registered trademarks of Aruba Networks, Inc. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. To view the end-user software agreement, go to Aruba EULA.