IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

SonicWall Introduces Software-Defined Branch Office Networking Solution

Equipped with zero-touch provisioning and centralized remote management, the new offering reaches market at a time when MSPs and MSSPs are seeking to minimize site visits due to concerns about COVID-19. By Rich Freeman

SonicWall has unveiled a solution aimed at helping organizations implement and manage software-defined networks more efficiently.

Designed with satellite offices in mind but suitable for any organization looking to deploy a complete multi-gigabit networking environment rapidly, the new SD-Branch offering combines SonicWall firewalls, wireless access points, and a brand new set of switches with enhanced zero-touch provisioning capabilities and single-pane-of-glass oversight via the company’s on-premises Global Management System and cloud-based Capture Security Center application.

All of those components come integrated in advance. The software elements are available at no additional cost to SonicWall users who download the latest edition of the vendor’s SonicOS firewall operating system.

The zero-touch provisioning functionality lets MSPs, MSSPs, and corporate IT departments install and configure the solution across multiple sites in a matter of minutes without dispatching technicians, according to Dmitriy Ayrapetov, SonicWall’s vice president of platform architecture.

“The way they can update or roll out infrastructure now is they just ship the devices without even opening them, have someone plug them in, and from there everything just happens automatically,” he says.

Though SonicWall began work on SD-Branch well before the coronavirus pandemic, Ayrapetov continues, the solution’s remote deployment and administration features are especially timely at a time when many channel pros concerned about exposing their employees to COVID-19 are trying to minimize customer site visits.

“The more remote the rollout, the better,” he observes.

The solution’s automated installation and consolidated management, SonicWall argues, can also help cost-conscious businesses navigating their way through a deep recession save money.

“Everybody has to continue to do more with less,” Ayrapetov says. “The more automation you can bring into your security management and into your security infrastructure, the more efficient you become.”

The new switch family, which includes seven models, was engineered specifically for use with the SD-Branch solution. Users can operate the units independently, stack them, or daisy chain them into a single switch with aggregated port capacity. The devices support Power over Ethernet and speeds up to 10 Gbps.

Though SonicWall has offered switches before in partnership with manufacturers like Dell, its parent company from 2012 to 2016, the units introduced today are its first to integrate seamlessly with its other network hardware.

“That’s the gap we’re closing right now,” Ayrapetov says. “It’s stuff built from the ground up to just work together automatically.”

SonicWall is one of many security vendors eager to grab a share of rising managed security spending by adding MSPs and MSSPs to its partner base. The company introduced a management dashboard for MSSPs, along with a subscription pricing program, last December in connection with that effort. Buyers who wish to can pay for SD-Branch via monthly payments.

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