Sunday, September 27, 2015

#WFD8 and the ACMA

For those of you who don't know, Aruba has been pretty generous with the TechFieldDay delegates over the last few years. They are a great contributor to the community, even giving away hardware and software at wireless industry events like #WifiTrek and #WLPC. And with #WFD8, we're heading back to Aruba to hear what's new.



But to be honest, I feel a little bad that I haven't written more about Aruba. I make it a point to test out any and all equipment I've received from the WFD sponsors. But honestly Aruba has probably gotten the least amount of personal attention from me. Sure I've used their APs to do 3SS 802.11ac packet captures, and setup some basic SSIDs on the 7005 but I really hadn't explored all they have to offer.

So I decided to invest some time into Aruba by learning enough to pass their entry level certification, the Aruba Certified Mobility Associate (ACMA) and passing it in less than 30 days. Well, here it is the week before #WFD8 and I will fully admit that I failed. Life happens, and my 30 days stretched to about 40.



But I did pass and I didn't find the certification hard. My lack of familiarity with their platform was probably the hardest part. I learned a lot about the products, the portfolio and their licensing. It's short, only 40 questions, but the questions tend to test your familiarity with their products. It didn't feel like a ton of sheer memorization. I felt there were some things I struggled with due to my lack of experience with the equipment. If you deal with Aruba Networks in your job, I would highly encourage working towards the ACMA. I enjoyed both the study for and the exam itself.

But the side-effect of studying for the ACMA was all that I learned a lot about the Aruba controller platform. I found that they had some really innovative features, especially around RADIUS technology. Dynamic Server Selection, Radius load-balancing, EAP termination are all things that I didn't expect to see built-in to their controller platform. Even after passing my ACMA, ClientMatch, App RF and some other of the big Aruba technologies still aren't as familiar as I would like.

So what's next? #WFD8 is this week and I'm very interested in what is coming down the Aruba pipeline. I have a few other certification exams on the schedule already, but my expectation is to go after another Aruba cert in 2016.

**As a note, I was provided most of the equipment by Aruba I'll be blogging about as part of being a WFD delegate. Some came from visiting #WLPC and some I acquired on my own.