Aruba SD-WAN strengthens the weakest link in Microsoft 365 app performance

By Jeff Olson, Director of SD-WAN Product and Technical Marketing, Aruba

As frequent users of business applications such as Microsoft 365 (Office, Teams, SharePoint, and Exchange), we often fail to notice what peak performance feels like, but we certainly know what poor performance feels like! Our frustration builds as we wait on a frozen screen, watch a spinning wheel, or listen intently as we attempt to decipher garbled voice: “Can you repeat that? You’re breaking up.” These experiences tend to occur at the worst time: while delivering a webinar, leading a Microsoft Teams call with an important client, or while trying to access and update a file for your boss while under a tight deadline.

Poor app performance is not only frustrating to users and IT network pros alike, but it also hits the company's bottom line in terms of lost productivity. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of poor app performance and how Aruba can help you resolve these issues.

A new weak link when apps are no longer close by

While app performance issues have been dogging IT network pros for years, accelerated cloud transformation and increased usage of broadband circuits have created additional challenges as business suites such as Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) have moved from residing close to the users on-premises or being hosted in corporate data centers to now existing as distributed cloud services across the country, region, and globe.

While the benefits of cloud and SaaS are well understood, the shift to SaaS has put pressure on IT network pros as they attempt to meet SLAs for the business while running corporate networks that weren’t architected for cloud-hosted apps and services. The wide area network becomes the bottleneck—or the weakest link—in delivering the highest quality of experience to app users.

Aruba understands these pain points. This is why we built industry leading networking and security solutions that transform the WAN from edge-to-cloud and provide fully automated connectivity to SaaS that’s specifically optimized for Microsoft 365. An Aruba network adapts to changing network conditions to deliver the best possible employee experience when using Microsoft apps and services.

Here is how Aruba’s SD-WAN solutions empower IT pros to deliver the highest quality of experience for Microsoft 365 users.

Certified Microsoft 365 app performance

Aruba SD-Branch was recently recognized by Microsoft as a preferred networking partner that delivers optimal performance for Microsoft 365 applications in accordance with Microsoft 365 network connectivity principles. The Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform, acquired with Silver Peak, was already a member of the Microsoft program. Aruba SD-WAN customers can count on the highest levels of performance delivered to their users when using Microsoft 365 from Aruba SD-WAN-enabled network locations.

 Automation and Integration are critical

Aruba SD-WAN solutions leverage the Microsoft 365 REST API in accordance with the Microsoft 365 connectivity principles to continuously learn, identify, classify, and prioritize traffic to Microsoft 365 applications and services (such as Skype, Teams, and SharePoint).

The best possible user experience is achieved from branch locations to Microsoft 365 services, automatically and continuously by:

  • Monitoring of the availability of Microsoft 365 front doors (which are the global entry points to reach Microsoft 365 applications) based upon the published fully qualified domain name (FQDN) across the WAN to steer traffic from branch locations to the nearest Microsoft 365 entry point
  • Path performance monitoring over direct internet breakout from multiple ISP providers and across hybrid WAN links (The best path may not always be direct)
  • Differentiating traffic based upon Microsoft 365 categories: Optimize, Allow, and Default, across the entire Microsoft 365 productivity suite. This is important because many apps and services have unique performance needs.

 Simplified deployment and management

In a few clicks network IT pros can enable Aruba SD-WAN solutions to provide optimal routing for all Microsoft 365 applications. No manual configuration or specialized knowledge of Microsoft 365 is required to deliver the highest quality experience to users at campus or branch locations connecting to Microsoft services. Aruba Central and Aruba Orchestrator track SaaS performance in terms of quality of experience, loss, latency, and jitter with drill-downs to troubleshoot application performance by group, site, and gateway context.

A more efficient way to deliver better SaaS experiences

With Aruba SD-WAN, your workforce has a better experience using Microsoft 365 and other SaaS apps. There’s nothing workers need to do to gain the optimized performance, and they’ll just know that their SaaS apps are responsive. Ultimately, more engaged and productive employees translate to more value for the business.

Aruba SD-WAN also simplifies network operations for IT pros. Already running lean, IT teams are doubly challenged to do more with less during the COVID-19 pandemic. Solutions that truly “just work” are vital for IT productivity. Aruba SD-WAN is fully automated, adapting in real time to changing network conditions, to deliver a continuously optimized experience to users.

At the same time, IT teams have the visibility and control they need. Aruba dashboards provide complete visibility into metrics such as quality of experience, loss, latency, and jitter. It’s more than just a pretty picture: IT can drill down into the details for troubleshooting and accelerate problem resolution.

Choose the Aruba SD-WAN solution that is best for you

Your organization can meet its most challenging SD-WAN requirements—from campus and branch to cloud and SaaS with the flexibility and choice of Aruba SD-WAN solutions. SD-Branch and the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform are each recognized and independently validated to deliver optimal performance for employees using Microsoft 365.

Address your weakest link today. Your users will possibly thank you. At least they won’t complain as much!

Learn more at:  

Aruba SD-WAN solutions

Aruba SD-Branch and Network Security solutions

Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution