Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, announced its Software-Defined Branch (SD-Branch) solution, a new approach designed to help customers modernize branch networks for evolving cloud, IoT and mobility requirements.
The influx of mobile and IoT devices, greater reliance on cloud-based applications, and shrinking IT budgets are having a profound impact on IT organizations. Branch operators also face increased complexity and inefficiencies with a multiplicity of different tools for managing the network and security from different vendors.
Aruba’s SD-Branch solution integrates new Aruba Branch Gateways with Aruba’s enhanced Aruba Central cloud management platform to provide a single point for SD-WAN, wired and wireless networking and policy enforcement, and to deliver secure, simplified branch connectivity at scale. This purpose-built, unified solution marks a significant advancement beyond pure-play SD-WAN offerings by delivering reduced device footprint, streamlined deployment of large-scale distributed installations, and lower WAN connectivity costs for branch customers.
“Retail, hospitality, and healthcare organizations with multiple locations need to manage a lot of complexity in their branch environments with a limited IT presence. This is exacerbated by cloud services that impact the WAN infrastructure, as well as new IoT devices that are straining IT security and management capabilities. Aruba’s Software Defined Branch solution brings together SD-WAN with WLAN, LAN, and security under a single, software-defined framework for policy and segmentation. This simplifies IT operations as organisations can now manage their entire branch network from Aruba Central cloud management while enabling non-technical teams to onboard new networks. Overall, Aruba’s SD-Branch delivers an extensive ecosystem of best-of-breed technology partners and provides IT with a better end-to-end branch experience,” said Kenneth Ma, director and general manager of Hong Kong and Macau, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.
WAN Insights and Control
Providing improved user experiences starts with delivering unmatched reliability. According to Gartner, a network outage can be more than an inconvenience, and evidence shows that these can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,000,000 per incident in lost productivity or revenue, depending on location and enterprise use case1.
By leveraging context to gain insight into the health of an entire distributed branch network – wired, wireless, and WAN – IT organizations can dynamically optimize the user experience in real-time before any impact to the business occurs. Embedded in the new Branch Gateway, Aruba’s unique context-awareness capabilities go beyond granular role-based network access and application security to deliver an unmatched Quality of Service (QoS) experience from the LAN to the WAN. This allows IT professionals to satisfy the needs of end users while simplifying IT operations.
Additional Branch Gateway features such as policy-based routing and dynamic path selection can now leverage this contextual data and awareness to dynamically route traffic across the WAN based on user, device, or group affiliation. For example, retail organizations can easily prioritize PoS system and video traffic versus guest traffic, while hotels can prioritize voice traffic for anyone involved with customer service.
Simplicity at Enterprise Scale
Aruba’s SD-Branch solution enables IT organizations to effectively manage more branch locations with less staff while leveraging a consistent approach for security and compliance across locations. By integrating and centralizing management while eliminating costly MPLS connectivity, customers can realize savings up to 75% as compared to traditional deployments2.
Aruba Central has been enhanced with new SD-WAN support to provide automated configuration capabilities, granular visibility, and easy-to-use troubleshooting tools. Aruba’s Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) and intuitive mobile app for automated device onboarding, provide non-technical staff at the branch a plug-and-play experience that eliminates the need for manual onsite configuration and costly, time-consuming truck rolls.
As it continues to expand its global presence, high-end, luxury retailer Vera Wang is an organization that is facing this challenge as it scales its operations. “We need to get stores up and running quickly, and maximize our WAN availability and efficiency,” said Stewart Ebrat, CIO for Vera Wang. “Aruba’s SD-WAN solution removes the burden of building out a distributed infrastructure.”
New Cloud Partnerships
The rise in mobility, IoT devices and cloud-based applications in the branch requires an automated and comprehensive way of approaching security. Aruba is positioned to provide user and device context for consistent role-based enforcement across the LAN and WAN. Aruba ClearPass policy manager simplifies and automates how policies are applied across different layers of network and application access removing the need for time-consuming manual configurations.
“I’m excited about Aruba’s edge-to-cloud vision and integrating SD-WAN functionality. This will help us solve our performance and deployment problems at a fraction of the cost,” added Corey Hasberry, IT Manager for Vera Wang. “Aruba’s role-based security for our Wi-Fi and WAN infrastructure will help us bring a consistent experience to our employees and customers.”
Additionally, all network traffic within a branch can be forwarded to the Aruba Branch Gateway for deep packet inspection using the built-in stateful firewall. IT organizations can easily assign policies for specific device types to segment their traffic up to the application layer. In a retail environment, this easily helps limit the malicious use of in-store security cameras or designate where a Point of Sale (PoS) device can send traffic.
To solve security vulnerabilities outside the branch perimeter, Aruba has expanded its Aruba 360 security exchange technology partner program with the addition of Zscaler and new integrations with Check Point Software Technologies and Palo Alto Networks. These ecosystem partners provide cloud-based firewall and advanced threat protection functionality to secure organizations’ sensitive traffic heading for public Internet-bound destinations.