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Aruba SD-Branch: Day 1

Aruba Headquarters in Santa Clara

A few weeks ago one of my sales people at work asked me whether I’d be interested in learning more about the Aruba SD-WAN/Branch solution. Right after saying yes I found myself booking a flight to San Francisco.

This week Aruba is doing an SD-Branch workshop for partner-engineers from the EMEA region in their Headquarter in Santa Clara. We are a group of ~25 people with mixed experience. Some, like myself, have worked a lot with the Aruba portfolio and some have never used any of it before. The promise was that by the end of the week we will all be able to deploy the whole SD-Branch solution. I’ll try to write a small series of articles on what I learned and what we experienced during the days.

Traveling to San Francisco

Let’s starts at the beginning. On the 11th of December I boarded a plane from FRA to SFO and landed on time, actually a bit early in San Francisco. Together with me traveled a friend I knew from Twitter, he works for another company but attends the same workshop. The flight was okay, but actually a bit long for me. You can’t really get some sleep and the WiFi was bad and expensive (I didn’t test it, my friend mentioned it). After costumes and getting the rental car we drove through the rush hour down the 101 to Santa Clara. The Hotel was way better then expected – I have two rooms. One with the beds and one with a couch and a desk. We decided on driving to a mall to grab some dinner. On our way there a long wish became true: seeing the Aruba HQ in person and it actually happend on my birthday!

After a coffee and a burger we drove back to the hotel. I was awake for 24 hours at that point and went to bed. I haven’t had a long sleep, this must be the first part of this jetlag. Also I forgot to turn my phone to silent so a coworker called me during work – which was 4am here. yay.

the first day at Aruba

On Day 1 of the workshop we met at the Aruba HQ with the Product Managers and some Engineers for the SD-WAN solution. After some chatting and the official welcome we were given a tour of the whole Aruba lab. This includes SEEL and also the RF-test chambers for new features or the burner-test room.

APs on a shelf to test their lifetime

It’s quite impressive to see these rooms and rooms with hundreds or thousands APs, Switches and Controllers. Also it’s funny to know where you configure the hardware if you book yourself a demo in the SEEL-environment.

Central, WAN an the Branch

What I like about Aruba is that they actually listen to their partners and their costumers and try to solve their problems instead of just selling hardware. This also manifests in communication. As a costumer you can have a really nice technical discussion with a global Product Line Manager on the same eye-level and that’s a good thing. Before lunch we talked with the SEs and PLMs about the Sd-Branch solution and what our concerns were and what we would like to see as features. After that we got a road-map update for Aruba Central and SD-Branch, but sadly I can’t share any of this information. What I can share are some ne features to Central, as they will go live next week and thus I got the permission to write this down. I’ll put this into another article for search-reasons.

In total I am fully amazed of being able to actually visit the US and the Aruba HQ for the first time. I really like to be at the edge of technology and to discuss the topics with people that really know a lot about networking. I am looking forward to the next days where we will actually start configuring the SD-Branch with equipment on the desk.

A stack of switches in the Lab

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