CASDEN Banque Populaire

Aruba delivers performance, security and reliability of LAN & Wi-Fi at CASDEN Banque Populaire’s new HQ

CASDEN Banque Populaire is the cooperative bank serving the entire civil service in France. It provides savings, credit and loan guarantee services to its members.

To realise its ambitions for the future and provide its workers with a modern working environment, CASDEN decided to build a new headquarters in line with the latest environmental criteria.

“To facilitate operations and the relocation, and to improve computer maintenance, we chose to virtualise our PCs. All our work environments are now hosted virtually in our data centres. This solution has enabled us to provide access to the data from any location. Our objective was also to install secure, high-performing LAN and Wi-Fi networks to support our digital transformation,” says Mohamed Guen, Head of Infrastructure and Security at CASDEN Banque Populaire.

High-performing networks for better mobility

Our selection criteria were twofold: economic and technical. Both of these have been fulfilled and we have even found that Aruba solutions go beyond our current expectations.Mohamed Guen, Head of Infrastructure and Security, CASDEN Banque Populaire

Within the large-scale relocation project, the first stage was to implement a centralised virtualisation infrastructure enabling all users to access their work sessions remotely from any location onsite or away from the premises. This was made possible with a virtualised solution for workstations installed on HPE servers. The second stage comprised of the installation of LAN and Wi-Fi networks linked to high-security components to facilitate access to work sessions. Following a request for tenders and on the advice of partner, Spie Communications, CASDEN selected the Aruba Mobile First Architecture as the solution.

“Our selection criteria were twofold: economic and technical. Both of these have been fulfilled and we have even found that Aruba solutions go beyond our current expectations. The network at the headquarters could therefore support up to 100 Gbps. However, we initially chose to restrict this to 40 Gbps,” outlines Mohamed Guen.

High security across the board

CASDEN installed three types of switches on the LAN at its headquarters located in Champs-sur-Marne: clustered HPE FlexFabric 5950 switches in the DC core, FlexFabric 5940s for the server access and HPE FlexNetwork 5130 switches to provide edge connectivity services to users throughout the new building. In terms of Wi-Fi, CASDEN chose to install 85 Aruba AP-305 access points across all 6 floors of the building, managed by Aruba 7200-series mobility controllers.

As a result, users access the headquarter DC network from their workstations and connect to their personal virtual working environment hosted in the DC.

The Wi-Fi solution chosen by CASDEN is based on Aruba solutions. The installed architecture provides the secure access needed for guests and workers, as well as customised access during specific events.

Aruba’s ClearPass solution was selected to deliver the Radius server function and 802.1X authentication management.

This principle provides for optimised mobility throughout CASDEN. Some employees have HP laptops allowing them to connect to the Wi-Fi network anywhere in the building and retrieve their work session hosted in the data centres.

Moving to new use cases

“Being able to access and save the workspace from anywhere in the building is one of the solution’s key strengths and was impossible in the previous premises,” confirms Mohamed Guen. The bank’s digital transformation was rounded off with an IP telephony solution based on the same principle. Employees can now work anywhere from their laptop by connecting to an IP telephone in their vicinity. All phone calls are transferred to them and are received on their cordless phones which operate up to 10m from the base units.

“While unified communications devices have been in use for many years at CASDEN, the new 10 Gbps bandwidth quality available today is sufficient for all employees who need to communicate with their colleagues in the 111 departmental councils in France and in the overseas departments,” asserts Mohamed Guen.

Simplified administration

“Very few employees are responsible for IT administration (servers, data centre networks, LAN and Wi-Fi networks, overall security in relation to operations and fixed and mobile telephony) within the Information Systems department. To be honest, we could not have designed it in any other way. We needed the network infrastructures to be stable and robust enough so that other resources would not be required. That was also one of the selection criteria,” says Mohamed Guen, who had already installed HPE hardware requiring little regular maintenance in many of the bank’s agencies.

In addition, CASDEN uses IMC (Intelligent Management Center), a software platform to monitor and engineer all the wired network equipment, as well as Aruba AirWave for the configuration, monitoring and management of the entire Wi-Fi estate.

A highly-skilled technical partner

While CASDEN has undoubtedly achieved its objective, it was not without the help of its technical partner, Spie Communications. Now known as Spie ICS, it recommended the Aruba architecture to CASDEN. “They supported us in designing the solution with a variety of workshops. It was a great project of which we are rightly proud,” concludes Mohamed Guen. CASDEN is now building on the abundance of IT resources and networks installed at its new headquarters. The next steps will include capitalising on the full range of strong authentication capabilities provided by ClearPass and bringing Aruba AirWave on line as the unique management and monitoring solution for both wired and wireless networks.