Citymax Al Barsha

Citymax Al Barsha

Aruba, Brocade cementing ties

The two firms are helping organisations deliver benefits including better performance and simplified management and security at lower ownership costs

January 2015

Aruba Networks Inc, a provider of next-generation network access solutions for the mobile enterprise, has said that it is building upon its global strategic alliance with Brocade that was announced in September 2013, and strengthening the collaboration in the Middle East with local initiatives aimed at enabling select channel partners to deliver an integrated and unparalleled wired and wireless solution based on best-of-breed products from the two networking vendors.

In another development, it was announced that Citymax Hotels, the hospitality division of the UAE’s Landmark Group, has leveraged Aruba Networks’ wireless infrastructure to establish ubiquitous Wi-Fi networks in its Al Barsha and Bur Dubai properties. Thanks to the deployment, hotel guests can now avail of high-speed wireless internet access via a multitude of personal computing devices through the entire premises of the two hotels including elevators and basement parking lots.

About the alliance with Brocade, Bashar Bashaireh, regional director, Gulf and Pakistan at Aruba Networks Middle East, said, “The Middle East is seeing a convergence of the wired and wireless worlds where customers expect a seamless and secure experience irrespective of what device they are using or from where they connect to the enterprise network. The mobility-centric approach from Aruba and Brocade will help organisations to deliver this end-user experience - enabling improved performance, simplified management and security policy, while lowering total ownership costs for enterprise IT.”

Bashaireh: greater convergence, better solutions

Bashaireh: greater convergence, better solutions

In order to educate regional enterprises about how the end-to-end solution will help them create next-generation data centre networks, Aruba and Brocade will be organising customer events in Dubai, Riyadh, Doha and Cairo within the next six months. Historically both companies have experienced a great deal of success in verticals such as government, hospitality, education, healthcare and banking and finance, and these will be the sectors that they will focus their initial efforts on.

The shift to enterprise mobility breaks legacy three-tier network architectures with an overlay wireless tier. As a result, IT departments are struggling to provide differentiated experiences and security for an ever increasingly mobile user community and its growing number of devices and applications.

To address these customer pain points, Brocade and Aruba are pairing the scalable and simplified network operation of Brocade HyperEdge architecture with the rich context of user, device, application and location information inherent in the Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks architecture to deliver  secure mobile user experiences for customers. The result is a simplified, mobility-centric campus network solution that operates with context-based access and policy management for every user, regardless of how they connect. Brocade HyperEdge architecture cuts wired infrastructure TCO more than 50 per cent over Cisco. Aruba’s solution reduces operational workload, while easily on-boarding, securing, monitoring, and optimising BYOD and Aruba AirWave together with Bocade Network Advisor provides centralised datacentre to wireless edge management.

Brocade and Aruba have jointly identified 10 partners in the UAE who have the technical expertise to be able to sell the integrated solution. During early next year, a datacentre Proof of Concept (POC) lab will be built in Dubai to provide live demonstrations to customers and showcase the joint solutions. The networking vendors will be skilling up their respective technical support teams in order to be able to provide 24/7 post-implementation support to customers. Brocade and Aruba will replicate the same model in other key markets across the Middle East including Saudi, Qatar and Egypt.



Explaining the brand’s decision to overhaul its wireless infrastructure and leverage Aruba’s infrastructure, Amit Kanchan, head of IT for Landmark Hospitality, said, “Today, we summarise our customers’ primary requirements with three Bs- Bed, Breakfast and Bandwidth. When guests enter our hotel, they don’t want a welcome drink, they want to connect immediately. We have therefore had to adapt our business and focus on our Wi-Fi offering.” The primary objective was to provide ubiquitous access across each property and enable guests to transition seamlessly between Access Points (APs) without any noticeable change in performance- thus allowing them to roam throughout the hotel without losing internet connectivity.

The team decided on a barbell strategy to address the pressing short term challenges while also accommodating for future requirements and found Aruba’s wireless infrastructure solution fit perfectly with its strategic objectives. Supported by Aruba’s implementation partner, CADD Emirates, Citymax Hotels settled on an 802.11n solution from Aruba Network which could provide 600Mbps throughput and coverage to a large number of guest devices.

Aruba 103 Series Access Points were selected as the primary APs for the deployment due to their multifunctional capabilities, affordability and ability to work in medium-density Wi-Fi environments while minimizing interference from cellular networks. An Aruba Networks 7200 Series Mobility Controller was also deployed to manage authentication, encryption, VPN connections, IPv4 and IPv6 services and deliver other advanced security features.

With its new wireless infrastructure set firmly in place, Citymax hotels has begun to witness a steady return on investment. The hotel offers a basic 512 Kbps service free of charge, with bandwidth capping facilitated by the Aruba Network Mobility Controller. In addition, the hotel has been able to monetise the network by extending a premium wireless connectivity option with faster speeds and greater bandwidth as a charged service. These offerings have translated to a high level of customer satisfaction as the brand is capable of delivering secure high-performance wireless connectivity across all areas of the sprawling properties.

Guests connect via a single SSID thereby eliminating the need to repeatedly search for and log into the Wi-Fi network as they move around the hotel. The system has also been designed to provide the same high-level of service throughout the premises. A major benefit of Aruba’s deployment was the efficient utilisation of existing infrastructure such as the network cabling. This dramatically cut project expenses.

More Stories