Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Network Field Day 21 - Aruba SD-Branch - Evolution

I am going to focus on the Aruba SD-Branch solution (their combination of SD-WAN -LAN and Cloud making it SD-Branch) presentation that is only a portion of the overall presentation that Aruba gave at Network Field Day 21. I digress quickly, the industry is stuck on Software Defined or SD as a naming convention and I think someone in marketing needs to be creative and break away from it and come up with a solution/product name. Honestly, SD-<anything> has lost all meaning. I think Aruba should rename the product to fit into their existing product naming and not cave to industry convention. With that done, let’s get back to the technical nuts of bolts of what Aruba presented.

We started with an overview presentation (https://techfieldday.com/video/aruba-why-sd-branch/) around Why SD-Branch and how it is different than tradition SD-WAN. In simple terms, they are using the same technology to do application insight and management for LAN, WAN and Cloud services through a single interface which is build on their wireless and wired LAN portfolio. It really does make a lot of sense for companies to want to move this direction. To be able to manage LAN, WAN, Cloud, Wireless, Wired, Identity and Security from a common interface with metrics and performance. In addition, props to the Aruba team for having a great user interface. It makes sense, is easy to find things, is clean and snappy too.

So, what was most compelling about SD-Branch and specifically the SD-WAN portion? First, you get a unified interface to manage everything and one that is done correctly, not just cobbling together a bunch of separate products and hoping everyone uses the same terms and layout. Second, I think it was the flexibility in configuration. The fact that you can easily stand up and have multiple design topologies for VPN and do that across multiple Internet and private dedicated links in many combinations shows that Aruba really understands what customers are trying to address. The demos really highlight how easy and straight forward it is to configure, monitor and operate the network so you should check that out at https://techfieldday.com/video/aruba-seamless-sd-wan-orchestration/ and finally, you really should see how everything is displayed in a single view for operations. If you are willing to invest and go all in with Aruba you get a lot of upside from an operations view. Check out https://techfieldday.com/video/aruba-simplify-network-operations/

Given that most SD-WAN solutions will likely provide a break even ROI in 12-18 months it is likely worth investing in Aruba SD-Branch if you are an existing Aruba wireless/wired customer. If you are doing an evaluation of products today such as LAN (wired and wireless), WAN, Cloud, and SD-WAN you would be doing a disservice in not putting Aruba on your list. I’ve been very impressed with what they have been doing over the last several years and my experience at #NFD21 has shown they are continuing down the right road and build on top of their great product portfolio.

One note, they don’t have IPv6 support in their SD-WAN product yet, but given the great IPv6 support they have in their LAN (wired and wireless) products today I would not be surprised to see that happen for SD-WAN soon. Fingers crossed they keep up the great work and get IPv6 in there and push their competitors to do the same.

ps: You can also check out fellow #NFD21 delegate Remington Loose's blog post on Aruba where he does a great job covering the technical aspects and components of what Aruba is up to with their SD-Branch solution.

In a spirit of fairness (and also because it is legally required by the FTC), I am posting this Disclosure Statement. It is intended to alert readers to funding or gifts that might influence my writing. My participation in Tech Field Day events was voluntary and I was invited to participate in NFD21. Tech Field Day is hosted by Gestalt IT and my hotel, transportation, food and beverage was/is paid for by Gestalt IT for the duration of the event. In addition, small swag gifts were/are provided by some of the sponsors of the event to delegates. It should be noted that there was/is no requirement to produce content about the sponsors and any content produced does not require review or editing by Gestalt IT or the sponsors of the event.

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