Aruba Melds SD-WAN and Branch Management


By: Michael Vizard

Aruba Networks, a unit of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), this week moved to integrate software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) and local networks under a common cloud-based management framework.

Announced at the HPE Discover 2018 conference, Aruba is adding an SD-WAN to Aruba Branch Gateways to provide a single point from which to apply policies across SD-WAN, wired and wireless networks that can all be managed via the Aruba Central cloud management platform, says Trent Fierro, director of software solutions marketing for Aruba Networks.

That capability will make it much simpler for IT organizations to segment network traffic based on either type of network traffic, such as video, or policies defined using Aruba ClearPass network access control software, says Fierro.

The decision to integrate SD-WAN and local network management is part of overall effort to reduce total network operating costs, says Fierro.

“We want to elevate the conversation,” says Fierro.

Aruba Networks claims those savings can be as high as 75 percent when centralizing management and reducing the need for MPLS lines. The Aruba Branch Gateway also includes a built-in firewall. Aruba announced today it has expanded its Aruba 360 security exchange technology partner program to include Zscaler as well as additional integrations offering from with Check Point Software Technologies and Palo Alto Networks, both of which provide stand-alone firewalls.

It’s unclear to what degree networking is about to converge. Fierro says the time may have come to abandon terms such as SD-WANs in favor of a return to simple branch networking now that the management of local and wide area networking is being unified.

Regardless of the approach, Fierro the one thing this is clear is organizations are demanding simplified management of networking at the branch. In many cases, that means being able to ship networking equipment to an office that a local office manager can simply connect to a cloud service, thereby eliminating the need to send someone from IT to set up the network, says Fierro.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a vendor attempted to unify the management of branch networks. But it’s the first time those service have been unified at scale via the cloud.

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