Aruba Advances Digital Retail Experiences with SD-Branch Innovations

SD-Branch Pioneer Extends Zero Trust Security and New Cloud-native Management Capabilities to Enable Non-stop Retail Operations at Scale

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), today announced the next milestone for its SD-Branch solution that enables more secure, streamlined and simplified deployment and management of large distributed retail networks.

A critical component of the company’s Edge-to-Cloud strategy, Aruba’s SD-Branch solutionintegrates Aruba Branch Gateways with the Aruba Centralcloud management platform to provide a single point of control and management for SD-WAN, wired and wireless networking to enable secure, simplified branch connectivity at scale. The innovations include: 

  • An expansion of Aruba’s unified branch defense capabilities to provide unique, identity-based attack detection and intrusion prevention to deliver zero trust in-store network security; 
  • New enhancements to the SD-WAN Orchestrator in Aruba Central to deliver unified edge-to-cloud management and secure connectivity to cloud workloads; 
  • New branch gateways that provide non-stop connectivity via built-in cellular, including LTE. 

Retail IT teams are under tremendous pressure to drive digital transformation within brick-and-mortar locations and “place the store at the center of their customer experience”[1]in order to compete with online merchants and marketplaces. To achieve this, they are leveraging next generation technologies to enable personalized, immersive experiences within the stores, but are consistently challenged by the lack of on-site technical staff at branch locations. As such, IT staff responsible for connecting, securing and managing retail locations must rethink the way they architect their branch networks. A unified edge-to-cloud architecture that automates and secures LAN, WAN and cloud connectivity is paramount to driving operational efficiency and addressing the lack of IT staff.  

“As we continue to grow our retail stores internationally, we are laser-focused on using technology to deliver our customers a truly unique shopping experience,” said Stewart Ebrat, CIO at Vera Wang. “With Aruba’s SD-Branch solution as the solid foundation for a secure, easy-to-deploy and centrally managed infrastructure, we will also be able to better engage with our customers by identifying them via their mobile phones so that store associates can help personalize and transform their in-store shopping experience.” 

Delivering Zero Trust Security to the Retail Branch

While retailers are embracing digital technologies – such as mobility and IoT – to enhance the shopper experience, they are also facing new security threats and an increased attack surface. Traditional security techniques were simply not designed to handle these new and evolving threats; as a result, many IT teams are adopting a Zero Trust Security framework, an architecture that dictates that no one within or outside the network is trusted. Key elements of a Zero Trust Security framework include a policy engine/trust broker, the ability to dynamically segment traffic on the basis of identity and role, and continuous monitoring for changes in security status with the corresponding real time adjustment of access policies. In addition, IT teams gain enhanced security by employing a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) approach, which combinesnetwork security functions with WAN capabilities to support the dynamic secure access needs of organizations.[2]

Aruba has long supported the principles of a Zero Trust Security framework with its market-leading role-based access technology and Dynamic Segmentationwhich provides unified, software-defined micro-segmentation across the network, in branch and campus environments, to isolate users, devices and applications from one another based on role, not the type or location of the network connection. Aruba is advancing its unified branch defense capabilities with new IDS/IPS functionality that integrates with Aruba’s ClearPass Policy Managerand Policy Enforcement Firewall. By leveraging role-based access, Aruba adds a new identity-based detection dimension to traditional intrusion detection and prevention, enabling security teams to focus on alerts that matter. 

Aruba’s unified branch defense also includes:

  • One-click integration with cloud-based security solutions;
  • Threat visibility and trend analysis;
  • Correlation of security events with sites, clients, applications and network infrastructure;
  • Out-of-box policies for enforcement and incident response;
  • Security event streaming to third-party Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions;
  • ClearPass Policy Manager for global access policy development and propagation.

Aruba’s unified branch defense capabilities deliver a complete solution for security and connectivity at retail locations, defending against a myriad of threats, including phishing, denial of service (DoS) and increasingly widespread ransomware attacks. 

Seamless Zero Trust from Edge-to-Cloud 

As adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and virtual private clouds (VPCs) continue to rise, so has the complexity of maintaining security and control over the data, traffic and users accessing the cloud. Aruba is extending its Zero Trust Security model to the cloud with the enhanced SD-WAN Orchestrator in Aruba Central,making it easier for branch network operators to deploy flexible and secure overlay topologies in a large-scale edge infrastructure, securely connecting thousands of remote locations to applications in data centers and the cloud. 

Aruba Virtual Gateways, available for AWS and Azure, combined with orchestration, cost-effectively extend network and security policies to workloads running in the public cloud while the new SaaS Express prioritization feature continuously probes hosting locations for SaaS applications to ensure application performance.

Ensuring Non-Stop Operations at Every Retail Location

To help ensure a seamless shopping experience, retailers need a highly reliable network infrastructure as the foundation for digital transformation. Built-in cellular access in the Aruba 9004 Series Gateways gives customers the option to use the connection as a primary or secondary uplink or in a load shared active-active mode with other broadband links.Further, for cost control purposes, retailers can selectively use the cellular uplink for certain applications in any of these modes. 

Embedded cellular provides retailers with reliable, high performance backup connectivity with seamless failover that can be centrally managed. IT staff are able tune and optimize connectivity by defining SLA policies across a combination of MPLS, Internet and cellular links enforced with dynamic path steering in real-time with the ability to select the preferred cellular link. The cellular link can also be used for remote locations or to accelerate the deployment of a new store until the dedicated MPLS or Internet links are installed.

“Aruba pioneered the SD-Branch solution, creating a new category beyond pure-play SD-WAN offerings that gives retail IT the ability to face the higher-level challenges of remote branch connectivity, such as reducing device footprint, unified management across WAN and LAN, and security,” said Kishore Seshadri, vice president and general manager of SD-WAN Solutions at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “Today’s advancements extend Aruba’s SD-Branch solution to further support retail network operators with new, integrated in-store security capabilities, public cloud workload orchestration, and resiliency that retailers need for non-stop operations.”

[1]Forrester Research, US Retailers: Adapt Your Stores to Compete with Marketplaces, December 2019

[2]Gartner, Say Hello to SASE (Secure Access Service Edge),December 29, 2019

Parivar Restaurant opens doors at Al Raha Mall

Parivar Restaurant is now open at Al Raha Mallserving wholesome and heartwarming North Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese cuisine featuring chaat, tandoori, veg and non-veg dishes, soups and desserts made with fresh handpicked ingredients and authentic spices.

Mr. SadiqAfridi, Mall Manager at Al Raha Mall said, “We are excited to add Parivar Restaurant as an additional F&B feature for Al Raha Mall as it is unique in offering Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese in one setting and offers an additional advantage for the nearby community by providing delivery services for their convenience. Al Raha Mall is committed to bringing a variety of dining options to enhance the retail experience for shoppers.”

Waqas Sheikh, Managing Partner, Parivar Restaurant adds, “Our chefs bring guests an enjoyable dining experience by offering authentic dishes that are always made fresh for dine in as well as bespoke catering services for both private and corporate events. We are also opening Baan Thai Restaurant in Al Raha Mall where the famous Chef Supaniya from Bangkok will be preparing mouthwatering authentic Thai cuisine. We look forward to providing the best service to Al Raha Mall patrons and the neighboring community.”

With ample parking and a host of retail and service outlets, Al Raha Mall is an ideal mall for busy professionals and families looking for a one stop venue to eat, shop and play.

Other Al Raha Mall outlets include, Lulu Express Supermarket, Brands4U, Dubai Library, Borders bookshop, Al Raha Cinema, Sparky’s, Damas Jewellery, Aster Optical, Tag World, Orlando Sports, ELC, Nayomi, H collection. Services include Etisalat, Du, Al Ansari Exchange, Jumassan Salon, Young Musician, Photo studio, ATM’s and Green Land Flowers. Food lovers can enjoy Caesar’s Restaurant & Confectionery, Tche Tche Boulevard Restaurant, Subway, Papa Murphy’s, Charley’s, Burger Hut, Soulful Restaurant, Samurai Japanese Restaurant, Sapori Veri Restaurant. Coffee connoisseurs can head to Fresh Bakes Café, Bonjour Bonsoir Café, Gloria Jeans and Orange Wheels.

NetApp 2020 Predictions

By: Atish Gude – Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) NetApp

2019 was a year of rapid innovation—and disruption—for both the IT industry and the broader business community. With the widespread adoption of hybrid multicloud as the de facto architecture for enterprise customers, organizations everywhere are under tremendous pressure to modernize their infrastructure and to deliver tangible business value around data-intensive applications and workloads.

As a result, organizations are shifting from on-premises environments to using public cloud services, building private clouds, and moving from disk to flash in data centers—sometimes concurrently. These transformations open the door to enormous potential, but they also introduce the unintended consequence of increased IT complexity. 

We predict that a demand for simplicity and customizability will be the number one factor that drives IT purchasing decisions in 2020. Vendors will need to offer modern, flexible technologies with the choice of how to use and to consume those technologies so that customers can keep pace with their evolving business models. As IT departments strive to deemphasize maintenance and hardware, to reduce overhead, and to adopt pay-as-you-go models, simplicity and choice will be crucial. 

Achieving this simplicity will serve as the foundation for companies as they navigate the exciting technological trends that we identify in the following sections.


1. As the advent of 5G makes AI-driven Internet of Things (IoT) a reality, edge computing environments are primed to become even more disruptive than cloud was.

In preparation for the widespread emergence of 5G, lower-cost sensors and maturing AI applications will be used to build compute-intensive edge environments. This effort will lay the groundwork for high-bandwidth, low-latency AI-driven IoT environments with the potential for huge innovation—and disruption.

The advent of 5G is what AI-driven IoT has been waiting for. It will take a few more years for 5G data technology to spread across the Middle East. However, 2020 will see many players in the technology industry and business community invest in building edge computing environments to support the reality of AI-driven IoT. These environments will make possible new use cases that rely on intelligent, instantaneous, and autonomous decision-making, with low-latency, high-bandwidth capabilities. This evolution will bring us to a world where the internet will work on our behalf—without even having to ask. 

This AI-driven IoT innovation, however, will depend on a massive prioritization of edge computing, further disrupting IT infrastructures and data management priorities. As edge devices move beyond home devices (such as connected thermostats and speakers) and become more far-reaching (such as connected solar farms), more data centers will be placed at the edge. Also, platforms such as artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) will be necessary to help monitor complex environments across the edge, the core, and the cloud. 


2. The impact of blockchain will be undeniable as indelible ledgers rapidly enable game-changing use cases outside of cryptocurrency. 

The world is quickly moving beyond Bitcoin to adopt enterprise-distributed indelible ledgers, setting the stage for a transformation that’s exponentially bigger than the impact that cryptocurrency has had on blockchain in finance. 

While the crypto frenzy continues to steal the limelight when it comes to blockchain, most players in the industry understand the bigger picture of the technology and its potential. Going into 2020, we will see a tipping point for larger implementations as enterprises go a step further to adopt indelible ledgers based on Hyperledger, which represents the maturation of blockchain for wider use cases. Indeed, we will start to see blockchain go “mainstream” as it enables industries such as healthcare to create universal patient records, to improve chain-of-custody pharmaceutical processes, and more. 

With such use cases validating blockchain and indelible ledgers, additional widespread adoption of the technology will drive transformation across society on a larger scale. This widespread adoption will build on the disruption that cryptocurrency has brought to finance to touch nearly every industry. As a result, new data management and compute capabilities will encourage companies to invest in indelible ledgers to build differentiated applications and to collaborate on critical, sensitive datasets.


3. Hardware-based composable architecture will have less short-term potential against commodity hardware and software-based infrastructure virtualization.

Continued improvements in commodity hardware performance, software-based virtualization, and microservice software architectures will eliminate much of the performance advantage of proprietary hardware-based composable architectures, relegating them to niche data center roles soon. 

Hardware-based composable architecture is being hyped as the next evolution of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). This architecture enables CPUs, networking cards, workload accelerators, and storage resources to be distributed across a rack-scale architecture and to be connected with low-latency PCIe-based switching. And although composable architecture does have potential, standardization has been slow, and adoption has been even slower. Meanwhile, software-based virtualization of storage, combined with software-based (but hardware-accelerated) compute and networking virtualization solutions, offers much of the flexibility of hardware-based composable architectures today with lower cost and consistently increasing performance.

Next year, attempts to build a true hardware-based rack-scale computing model will no doubt continue, and the space will continue to evolve quickly. However, most organizations that must transform within 2020 will be best served by a combination of modern HCI architectures (including disaggregated HCI) and software-based virtualization and containerization.