What Exactly is an SD Branch Network?
To understand a software-defined (SD) branch network, a good starting point is the traditional branch network. Before the proliferation of IoT and mobile devices, enterprises had a relatively limited number of ways to connect their individual branches. The traditional wide area network (WAN) setup was the most popular, as it offered the greatest amount of scale for the least cost – at the time.
Today, WAN connectivity can be considered expensive in terms of time, money and manpower when compared to Internet-based communications structures. Providers of Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud technology have found ways to create access to more bandwidth with lower pricing, faster connections and low latency access.
Traditional WAN is not only expensive compared to software-based solutions, but it is also difficult to navigate. The installation of a WAN system today is beyond the scope of most enterprises and requires specialized knowledge and long lead times.
The WAN network is also not adaptable to today’s needs. WAN was simply not built to handle the growing number of IoT and mobile devices. These devices come with the need for new levels of storage as well as new requirements for access to high-bandwidth applications like video and voice. Today there is a new generation of requests and volumes that traditional WAN was not meant to handle and cannot easily expand to accommodate.
Aruba Central Cloud Management
The Aruba Software Defined Branch solution on the other hand was created to unify your network, freeing you from a complicated architecture that may slow down your operations. SD Branch operations are created to be compliant with each other across branches, improving efficiency.
Consider the efficiencies available with Aruba SD-based WAN:
- Path efficiency monitoring – SD-WAN compresses data and allows the user to accurately monitor real-time application performance in terms of jitter, latency, throughput and packet loss
- Real time path selection – Also known as dynamic path selection or DPS, SD-WAN allows users to modify the route that traffic takes based on real time policy and conditions. For example, if you are experiencing bulk traffic on your main pathway, you can reroute heavy resource data like video and voice along another path with less real time latency.
- Routing – The SD-WAN branch gateway can completely replace the traditional router. The branch gateway can exchange IP routes in networks with an MPLS router.
- Compression – IP traffic can be compressed using a VPN overlay to increase throughput.
- Bandwidth contracts – Users have the ability to limit or expand the bandwidth that any application is allowed; these limits can also be enforced in a group application setting as well. Limits can be generated based on the role of the user in both the downstream and upstream directions.
Integrated, Industry Leading Security
One of the major concerns is data security. Some executives have trouble “letting go” of the perceived control that comes from proximity.
The truth is that data and company infrastructure can be safer in a cloud because there are experts ensuring that security. On the other hand, managing your security in-house can rely heavily on the expertise of your internal policy enforcement, the knowledge of in-house employees, and their ability to keep current. Unless you are confident in all of these areas, the cloud may be a more secure option.
The more mobile and IoT devices in your network, the greater the opportunity for a security breach. Remote workers and a “bring your own application” (BYOA) policy create further entry points. While operational groups may experience higher efficiency, the overall efficiency and security of the infrastructure is at greater risk. Central Cloud-managed SD-WAN from Aruba is secured with a context-based real time policy enforcement. The result is improved application performance and network availability and most importantly, excellent security.
Aruba Central Cloud Management simplifies with a single hub for SD-WAN networking, including all wireless and wired networks. With its ability to scale as the organization grows, simplifying the connectivity between branches, Aruba far outpaces traditional SD-WAN network offerings. Central Cloud Management also delivers streamlined deployment, lower connection costs and a reduced digital footprint for each device on the network.
The more distributed a company architecture, the more difficult it is to onboard new users. Even if a company does not use a BYOA policy, the rising number of IoT and mobile devices within the central infrastructure may also pose a problem.
Just as Aruba Central Cloud Management standardizes infrastructure, it also standardizes the onboarding process. Regardless of the apps that a new employee uses for personal productivity, they plug into a central infrastructure that is compatible across departments and branches.
Aruba gives organizations a seamless way to onboard new employees regardless of location or scale. This system also allows faster provisioning that drastically reduces customer-facing gaps in service and the overall cost of onboarding.
Aside from security, it can be difficult letting go of day to day visibility over the organization’s technical infrastructure. Aruba enables control with role-based visibility, keeping meticulous records of use down to the device and user levels. This function would cost most companies a considerable amount of time, money and resources, not to mention the reduction in office morale from being constantly monitored during the workday.
Aruba provides a streamlined monitoring solution that flows easily in the background. Because there are no “exposed wires” in the monitoring process, employees will not feel pressured in their day to day activities. However, no activity will go unattended. Executives will have full access to more precise records than they could create on their own. The result is a dispassionate rendering of individual performance that can be leveraged for a more effective management structure.
Finally, more precise analytics may also be performed on the network to determine bottlenecks and high production hubs, getting more from your network.
An Optimized User Experience
A unified management structure not only improves IT visibility and expands insights, it also creates a more efficient administrative experience. Aruba’s SD Branch solution provides consistency through its centralized base of operations.
The User Experience is where the upgrades in security, productivity and efficiency all meet. For instance, the Branch Gateway enforcement hub makes the creation and implementation of impactful scenarios a much simpler task. Administrators can also batch change the response to devices, users or applications from the central location for gateways in many locations.
The Aruba SD-WAN solution supports many different WAN link types – broadband, LTE and MPLS alike. With the appropriate links in the appropriate places, organizations can build a more efficient infrastructure that performs with a higher ROI.
Regardless of industry, companies must be able to employ a more encompassing overview with automated processes while reducing the need for individualized monitoring unless issues arise. As IoT and mobile devices and applications proliferate, the need for this type of monitoring will only grow.
SD-Branch provides a growing enterprise the kind of scalability and efficiency they need for the future. This is a system that can handle new challenges as well as the curveballs that come from devices with immature software stacks. Reach out to Comport to help simplify your network, while improving security and the experiences of your end users.