Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is reinforcing its portfolio designed specifically for small and midsized businesses with a new family of switches to tackle new pressures facing SMB networks with remote working and digital transformation on the rise.
The Aruba Instant On 1930 Series is an "enterprise-grade" family of seven new switches that can be easily deployed, centrally-managed, and maintained by managed service providers and SMB customers, said Amol Mitra, vice president and general manager of global small and medium business for Aruba Networks.
Aruba Instant On 1930 Series targets the higher-end of the SMB space and joins Aruba's existing Instant On switch products for SMBs, the 1920 Series. The new switches can work alongside Aruba's Instant On wireless indoor and outdoor access points that were introduced last June, which took aim at small business Wi-Fi vendors and Cisco's Meraki line.
SMB networking is challenging under typical circumstances, but the current COVID-19 pandemic is placing brand-new pressure on small businesses who may not have the IT resources to handle networking challenges, such as fluctuating network demand due to social distancing orders or moving their customer engagements from mainly in-person interactions to virtual, Mitra said.
Despite small businesses being hit hard by the coronavirus crisis from a financial standpoint, many SMBs are still looking to enhance the capacity of their existing networking environments as they digitally transform their businesses, Mitra said.
"SMBs are expected to increase spend to just make sure they have the connectivity and communications they need during these uncertain times," he said. "These companies are looking at new ways to adjust their routes to market, like offering online-only services, as they transition to this new norm."
Channel partners are Aruba's primary route to market for its SMB portfolio. For solution providers, the new switches can open new doors for wired sales with customers who may already have Aruba's wireless products in their environment. The portfolio also presents new revenue opportunities around managed services, Aruba's Mitra said.
"Partners can deliver value-added services, such as remote IT management, configuration, or post-sales support. Because these products are so easy to install and use, partners can add on services beyond just installation to increase their revenue and profitability," he said.
The Aruba Instant On 1930 Series includes flexible configurations with 8, 24, or 48 1G ports with PoE and 10G connectivity, as well as enhanced PoE+ on all ports to target and power a range of Internet of Things endpoints. The switches themselves are easy to for anyone to plug in and configure in a do-it-yourself fashion, according to Aruba.
The new line of switches can be managed via Aruba's cloud-based Instant On desktop or mobile app for wired and wireless management. The platform doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the Aruba's flagship, cloud-based management platform for enterprises, Aruba Central, but the Instant On management platform is right-sized for smaller businesses and their specific use cases, Mitra said.
"We've taken the richness of the features of [Aruba] Central and boiled it down to an app that is very lightweight," he added.
Aruba said that latest Instant On 1930 Switch Series will available beginning June 1 directly to customers and through the channel.
From a local standpoint, Aruba distributor Dicker Data weighed in on the impact of bringing enterprise features to an SMB product.
"Beyond its security and performance capabilities, the new Instant On solution offers a unified, cloud-based network that can be centrally managed with a mobile app. The ease of management with enterprise-grade performance at a competitive price point will open up more opportunities for resellers to offer Aruba solutions to the SMB market," Dicker Data business manager Tony Tran said.
"We’re confident the solution will appeal to many of our Aruba SMB channel partners as they seek network simplicity and reliable connectivity for both their staff and customers. The Aruba Instant On range will enable them to widen their customer base, incorporate value-added services and strengthen relationships for the long term.”