If you follow the announcements from major networking vendors you will have noticed a trend, at least in the marketing, for new solutions that are emerging from these companies. Every whitepaper or datasheet you read will have the key words “Simple”, “Secure”, and “Scalable” littered throughout the document. The reason for this is because, from a high level, these are some of the most important factors for customers when making a purchasing decision.
One solution I have found that lives up to those key words is Aruba’s new SD Branch solution. This solution is intended to help enterprise customers modernize their branch networks for the ever-evolving network requirements that IT needs to support. According to Aruba, the new SD Branch offering is
“Ideally suited for distributed enterprises undergoing digital transformation, Aruba SD-Branch delivers optimized branch experiences with simplicity at enterprise scale and integrated, best-in-class security. Retail, hospitality, and healthcare organizations can manage SD-WAN, WLAN, LAN, and unified policy for thousands of sites in the cloud.”
But how is it delivering on those marketing key-words?
For enterprises, this new SD-Branch solution offers cloud-based management option that allows them to provide remote, centralized provisioning and management of both wired and wireless connections within the branch and through WAN and internet connections in the SD-WAN infrastructure. The idea behind it is to give IT the ability to implement new services and make network changes quickly even across huge environments that are distributed throughout different locations and departments. So you can manage everything from one centralized console without needing multiple programs for different functions or parts of the enterprise.
Within the branch, Aruba’s new service offers granular QoS through application, user, and device contextual awareness. This functionality also extends across the WAN for SaaS, mobile UC, and other remote applications. This is meant to simplify how LAN and WAN traffic gets prioritized and routed, both inside and outside of the branches, giving IT teams the ability to deliver a consistent experience across the organization regardless of device type, user role within the organization, or physical location on the network.
Of course, security is a major concern with basically any new tech offering. Aruba offers intra-branch and WAN policy enforcement capabilities that are both automated and granular. Aruba has a new set of Aruba 360 security exchange technology partners that deliver cloud-based firewall and threat protection to help IT keep all of the organization’s digital assets safe and protected.
Aruba’s SD Branch solution is managed and configured in the cloud using a tool called Aruba Central. Central has been around for a while now and is most commonly used to manage large dispersed wireless access. The management functionality, along with the new “WAN analytics” piece I discussed above, have been extended to include the branch gateways at each location. Being a cloud management tool first and foremost Central can scale to meet the demands of any network (as they have been doing for years with some of Aruba’s largest dispersed customers), so customers have the peace of mind that their investment will be protected, no matter how large they grow, for years to come.