Time to Implement – Putting the Architecture in Place
Throughout the second instalment of our SD-Branch blog series we discussed some of the challenges facing modern organisations, and the importance of defining a clear strategy and design architecture before diving into a network refresh. If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, you can view it here.
It’s now time to develop the right architecture design and roadmap for implementation. But first things first, it’s important to assess your options. And by this we mean undertaking a cost-benefit analysis of your SD-Branch implementation approach. Are you going all-in or instead opting for a staged, piece-by-piece method?
Electing to go all-in does offer its benefits.
- Being able to refresh all branch networking equipment (LAN, WAN, WAN Router) in one swift cycle, including carriage transformation, can greatly minimise the number of site visits and the associated rollout costs.
- Reduces the number of network management platforms that you need to support and pay for in terms of licensing, resource/hosting and operational endeavours. By going all-in, you can leverage SD-Branch’s centralised network management platform under a single SaaS based console.
Of course, the associated costs of a complete refresh can sometimes prevent organisations from going down that route. But if the funds are available, there are immediate cost-saving benefits that can alleviate the initial financial investment, while also offering savings well into the future.
So, after addressing the aforementioned, what does a typical implementation look like? At CSA, we take a 6-step approach to our SD-Branch rollouts.
Consultation with customer to develop roadmap and scheduled strategy for adoption.
CSA team develops a detailed design plan with its scope being dependent on the decided adoption strategy we just spoke about.
The design plan includes:
- Network Hub Design is the epicentre of your network (consider it the engine room)
- SD-WAN Hub Gateways
- Network Access Control and Security Services
- Wireless Surveys (Virtual)
- User Experience Monitoring
- Branch Network Design (consider this a standard template to be implemented across all necessary branches)
- Wireless (Wi-Fi)
- Security and Access Controls
Commence implementation of all network hub elements.
Complete implementation of Proof of Concept (POC) Branch site.
After full assessment and testing of POC Branch site is completed, CSA commence rollout to all remaining Branch sites leveraging Zero Touch Provisioning to simply and speedily deploy.
Transition to either customer or CSA managed support for ongoing maintenance and optimisation.
It’s important to note that the above will vary slightly from project to project as every customer is different with unique variables and requirements. In saying that, if there was an outlier to the rule, one commonality that we see quite regularly is with the implementation of the SD-WAN element, which is often coupled with a carriage transformation and rollout of the new Carrier WAN/internet services.
The transition to ongoing maintenance post-implementation is becoming increasingly prevalent as a result of the growing complexity and importance of IT systems to business success. Due to a lack of in-house network capability and expertise, we’re seeing more and more customers looking to adopt a managed service with their network transformation strategy. We believe there are three main reasons for this.
A) Customers can leverage a level of expertise they otherwise wouldn’t have access to in-house. That expertise delivers best-practice maintenance and support through strong skillsets that are backed by the most current accreditations in the industry.
B) It doesn’t stop at maintenance and support. With a managed service arrangement, they can also leverage CSA’s expertise for continual improvement, as well as a DevOps teams for new and alternative business-led initiatives that drive market differentiation and value.
C) Also provides the option for the customer to review internal overheads, an option that is very attractive when you consider current circumstances.
Through adopting a managed service to take care of the network management and support, our customers are free to focus their energies elsewhere, safe in the knowledge their branch network is operating at peak performance, is secure, and will provide the availability they need to execute and drive value for their clients. Additionally, there’s also room for optimisation and simplification of their network practices, which we will discuss in the final instalment of our SD-Branch blog series. You can read that piece here.
Aruba SD-Branch is a comprehensive architecture vision that can serve as a platform for future capabilities and additional services. Contact us to book a free discovery and design session with one of our expert network and security architects. They will walk you through your current state and roadmap a best-practice design.
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Announcement – SD-Branch is just the beginning
Aruba have just unveiled a new architecture named the Edge Services Platform (ESP). Encompassing SD-Branch, Aruba Central, ClearPass and all the infrastructure you’ve come to expect, the platform is designed to automate, unify, and secure the Edge from the cloud – leveraging AIOps, machine learning and automation you can proactively spot and fix problems before they impact your business.
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About the Authors
Leon Slattery is Head of Network and Security at CSA. Leon’s security domain knowledge has been acquired over 12 years of experience in the IT services industry focusing on development and delivery of innovative network and security solutions for customers. Leon has applied his skills for clients within Utilities, Finance, Health and Higher Education industries giving him insight into the unique challenges faced in securing information in these environments.Leon Slattery
Marti is a networking specialist with 15+ years’ experience working closely with customers to translate business challenges and opportunities into technical solutions. Having a passion to expand his customers’ mindsets beyond the technology itself, Marti instead focusses on the strategic outcomes that secure network solutions can deliver. Marti has helped clients engage a mobile first approach giving travellers, sports fans and conventioneers memorable in-venue experiences, school students an exciting learning environment and office staff an end user-experience that motivates them to achieve their goals.Marti Barber