Aruba Releases Virtual Branch Office Solution

With no truck roll and no IT intervention, Aruba aims to do for the virtual branch office what data center virtualization did for desktop applications.

With the remote networking market targeted by virtual branch office comprising roughly half of the nearly $11 billion WAN edge market, Aruba Networks said May 12 it was aggressively moving into the market, releasing three new families of remote devices.

Aruba's VBN solution includes new software for data center-based Aruba Controllers, as well as three new families of wired and wireless RAPS (remote access points) and BOCs (branch office controllers). One of the new RAPs, the RAP-2, has a U.S. list price of just $99, making it the least expensive, centrally managed enterprise branch networking solution on the market.

"The VBN solution lowers the cost, complexity and IT overhead associated with deploying branch offices and teleworkers," Keerti Melkote, Aruba's co-founder and chief technology officer, said in a statement. "Taking a page from the application virtualization playbook, we are bringing the cost-saving and security benefits of centralized control and management to remote networking."

With Aruba's VBN, a RAP is mailed to a remote user, connected to power and the WAN can be fully commissioned following a single data entry since all of the complex tasks are centrally managed and automatically disseminated. A centrally controlled, policy enforcement firewall in the data center controller governs user access to the network and its resources by pushing policies to dissolvable firewall agents in every RAP and BOC.

"One button installation, zero-touch IT involvement in simple deployments, and a range of elegantly simple and remarkably inexpensive RAPs and BOCs - these are the remedies for the pain points users experience with remote networking today," Melkote said.

A single Aruba 6000 Multi-Service Controller equipped with VBN software will support up to 8,000 RAP and up to 32,000 users. In addition to Aruba's $99 RAP-2, which is no larger than a deck of cards, the company also offers the RAP-5, a $395 book-sized device designed for micro offices.

The list price for the 600 Branch Office Controller Family starts at $1,495. Designed to be a "branch-in-a-box" for offices with up to 256 users, the 600 family offers a broad range of WAN connectivity, network-attached storage, gigabit Ethernet, power-over-Ethernet (PoE), Express Card, and USB options.