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SD-Branch Changes Your Perspective of Remote Offices

By A.J. Murrary, Blog Contributor
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Earlier this year, I was fortunate to be selected as a delegate for Networking Field Day 21. It was the largest Networking Field Day event in Tech Field Day history, with 17 delegates and 13 sponsors spread across four days. As a first-time delegate, I covered the second half of the event, and it was there that I was first introduced to Aruba’s SD-Branch solution. As someone who specializes in most things software-defined in my day job, I was very excited to learn about this offering from Aruba.

What is SD-WAN?
Gartner states that SD-WAN solutions should have these four main characteristics:

  1. Support multiple connection types, such as MPLS, LTE or broadband Internet
  2. Can do dynamic path selection to allow for loading and path resiliency across the WAN
  3. Provide a simple interface for managing the WAN that is easy to configure and manage
  4. Must support VPNs and third-party solutions such as WAN optimization controllers, firewalls and web gateways

SD-WAN solutions are quickly changing the way remote sites are connected. Gone are the days of centrally connecting every site back to a data center(s) or central HQ location. Resources just don’t live in these locations exclusively anymore. Resources are more decentralized now than they’ve ever been. This distribution of resources has intensified the need to address the way remote connectivity happens.

Enter Aruba’s SD-Branch Solution
Aruba SD-Branch is not just about SD-WAN. It also includes SD-Access, which encompasses wired and wireless access. Many other SD-WAN solutions just focus on the WAN and not the entire branch network like Aruba does. It’s all done from a single pane of very familiar glass – Aruba Central. If you’ve worked with Aruba products before, you’ll feel right at home in Aruba Central. If you’re like me, new to Aruba, you’ll find the Central UI very easy to navigate and very intuitive to drive.

Securing branch sites is easier with SD-Branch than managing traditional WAN security policies. Policies can be created and applied from Aruba SD-WAN Orchestrator and pushed out almost immediately, allowing IT staff to react fast to the changing needs of the business and evolving security threats.

Moving workloads to the cloud? A lot of businesses are or will be. SD-Branch has you covered! Quickly spin up virtual gateways to create secure connections directly into your cloud tenants, like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform. This allows for secure connections from all your branch locations directly to your cloud-hosted tenants and applications. It’s faster, more secure access to the resources your employees depend upon to get the job and keep customers happy.

Branch Deployment Has Never Been Easier
Long gone are the days of sending knowledgeable IT staff to the remote site to setup the branch. Before a SD-Branch gateway is shipped to the branch offices, an IT team member can set up the devices using the Aruba Central Install Manager app. Then, a trusted onsite contact can be designated so that only authorized personnel can do the deployment. Once the device(s) arrive, simply scan the barcode and power up the device to begin the deployment. When the device powers up, it connects back to Central Install Manager to look for its assigned site information and downloads its new configuration. Easy as that!

Today, I work in a customer-facing role deploying new technology into customer environments. But, if I were managing an enterprise network and considering SD-WAN, I would consider Aruba’s SD-Branch solution a very strong contender.

Don’t Just Take My Word for It
Check out this blog by Aruba CTO Partha Narasimhan on unique advantages SD-Branch brings to enterprise networks.

For a full overview of Aruba's SD-Branch, check out this white paper.

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SD-Branch Changes Your Perspective of Remote Offices