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calendar_month 07-Mar-24

Prepare Switches

After initial unboxing and inventory, the next step in deploying a data center network requires physical installation of network switches.

Table of contents

Switch Installation

Verify the airflow configuration for the products to be installed to ensure that they support the cooling design for the data center. If required, an optional air duct kit is available for Aruba data center top-of-rack (ToR) switches to redirect hot air away from servers inside the rack.

Before installing switches, download the Aruba Installation Guide for the specific models. Review the Installation Guide before installing and deploying the switches. Carefully review requirements for power, cooling, and mounting to ensure that the data center environment is outfitted adequately for safe, secure operation.

Step 1 Open a web browser and navigate to the Aruba Support Portal at

Step 2 On the Support Portal page, select the Software & Documents tab.

Step 3 On the Software & Documents tab, select Switches.

Step 4 Select the filter options on the left.

  • File Type: Document

  • Product: Aruba Switches

  • File Category: Installation Guide

Step 5 Download the Installation Guide version for the switch model to be installed.

Step 6 Complete the physical installation of switches in the racks.

Note: Core switches should be installed in a central location that meets cable distance requirements for the media used between core and access switches.
Access switches should be installed at top-of-rack in high-density environments or middle-of-row in low-density environments.

Physical Cabling

Consistent port selection for core and access switches increases the ease of configuration management, monitoring, reporting, and troubleshooting tasks in the data center.

Document all connections.

Ensure that distance limitations are observed for the chosen host connection media and between switches.

Refer to the “Data Center Design” section for guidance on cabling design options for the installation.

Top of Rack Cabling

In a redundant ToR configuration, the first two uplink ports should be allocated to interconnect redundant peers (ports 49-50 on 8325-48Y8C and 10000-48Y6C switches), which provides physical link redundancy and sufficient bandwidth to accommodate a core uplink failure on one of the switches.

Two links between redundant peers are sufficient for most deployments unless the data center host implementation may result in high-traffic use of the inter-switch links under normal operating conditions, such as when many hosts in a rack are single-homed to only one of the redundant switches, or when the VM guest redundancy model uses only a single link to transmit traffic.

The heartbeat between a ToR redundant pair should be configured to use the out-of-band management port. Alternatively, the highest numbered non-uplink port can be used as a heartbeat link.

Before deploying ToR configurations that require server connectivity at multiple speeds, review the switch guide to determine if adjacent ports are affected by changing port speeds.

Core-to-Access Cabling

The illustration below shows the physical port configuration on an 8325 32-port core switch.

**Spine switch**

The core switches in a two-tier data center operate as a redundant VSX pair. The last two ports in a 1U core switch should be allocated to the inter-switch link (ISL) between them (ports 31-32 on an 8325-32C). When using a chassis-based switch model, the inter-switch links should use the last port on two different line cards to add line card diversity, enabling the ISL to continue to function in case of a single line card failure.

Connections from the core to access switches should begin with port 1. In a dual ToR configuration, each core switch must be connected to each ToR redundant switch. A 32-port core switch supports up to 14 racks in this design, after considering the inter-switch and external connectivity links. Use the same port number on each core switch to connect to the same access switch to simplify switch management and documentation. For example, assign port 1 of each core switch to connect to the same access switch.


Out-of-Band Management

For an Aruba ESP data center, using a dedicated management LAN is strongly recommended. A dedicated management LAN on separate physical infrastructure ensures reliable connectivity to data center infrastructure for automation, orchestration, and management access. CX data center switches should be connected to the management network using their physical out-of-band (OOB) management port.

Deploy management LAN switches at the top-of-rack position. Plan for an IP subnet with enough capacity to support all switch and host OOB management ports in the data center. DNS and NTP services for the data center should be reachable from the out-of-band management network. The management LAN also must allow outbound connectivity to the Aruba Central cloud management platform.

Configuration steps for the management LAN are not covered in this guide.


A new switch must receive an IP address, DNS server address, and a default gateway via DHCP in order to enable successful Zero Touch Provisioning.

In a data center, it is recommended to reserve an IP address for each switch on a DHCP server. This ensures a predictable IP address for local management connections, such as SSH, while also enabling the switch to contact Aruba Central on boot.

When switches are unpacked and prepared for bench configuration or rack mounting, access the orange luggage tag on the switch and record the base MAC address. The MAC address of the management interface is the base MAC + 1. For example, A0:A0:01:00:00:00 becomes A0:A0:01:00:00:01. Use this management MAC address to create a DHCP reservation.

Static Addressing

Static IP and gateway address assignments can be used when Zero Touch Provisioning is not required. A DNS server also must be assigned to enable reachability to Aruba Central.

Central On-Premise

When organizational policy requires on-premise management of data center infrastructure, Aruba Central On-Premise (CoP) enables customers to run the Aruba Central management platform on local infrastructure. CoP supports CX 8xxx and 6400 series switches.

This guide does not cover the installation or use of CoP. Refer to the Aruba Central On-Premises Supported Devices Reference Guide, Aruba Central (on-premises) User Guide, and Aruba Central (on-premises) Release Notes in the Aruba Support Portal for additional information.

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