As companies race to complete their digital transformations, they often find themselves having to first transform their IT architectures. Sometimes this means replacing rigid legacy MPLS based networks with the highly flexible SD-WAN solutions of today that are providing greater adaptability, automation redundancy and cost savings to organizations everywhere. A case in point is the recent case study an Italian company that is globally renowned for its handcrafted women’s shoes that exemplify elegance, luxury and sophistication for women the world over.
The European shoe retail was saddled with the limitations of an MPLS network that were only growing more apparent as time went on. While it satisfied the needs of the company’s datacenter and Italian offices, other sites were constrained by limitations of bandwidth and internet availability. Connection reliability was inconsistent as well. On top of that, the company’s retail stores as well as some select production sites relied on a single fiber carrier, further limiting the resiliency of its WAN. On top of the higher overhead costs associated with MPLS, the slow performance of their telecommunications network was adding excessive costs on top of it. A schematic of the old WAN architecture is shown below.
Company management asked their IT team to being formulating an innovative overhaul of their network as the company’s network limitations were no longer acceptable for a company with a strong globally active presence. After careful assessment it was clear that a mere replacement of the current technology would not be enough. The plan was to transition to a more flexible SD-WAN architecture that would maintain the network resiliency of their core sites, while allowing the cost effective free flow of data transmission for the enterprise at large.
The objectives were clearly mapped out for an MPLS alternative strategy:
- High reliability of network connectivity
- Increase in performance and available bandwidth
- Greater proficiency of the telecommunications infrastructure
- Reduction of recurring costs and containment of operational management costs
The European shoe retail acquired outside expertise from KnowIT. KnowIT suggested a SD-WAN strategy that would help the company attain greater management capabilities, reliability and flexibility in addition to the realization of the set objectives. The proposed solution featured Peplink’s SpeedFusion™ technology that would allow the Italian based company to aggregate multiple physical lines, even from different providers. The company would also implement additional fiber lines for those sites that previously were vulnerable to the lack of redundancy.
This collective effort in turn gave the retail the ability to distribute workloads on different assigned links and provide the flexibility to enforce load balancing and redundancy. The SpeedFusion Hot Failover feature helped maintain secure tunnels over the retail’s available WAN links and would provide automated failover capabilities in the event of a failure, thus ensuring uninterrupted VoIP sessions and virtually unbreakable VPNs on a 24/7 basis. As a result, the redesigned enterprise experienced increased bandwidth that mitigated any ISP issues or fluctuations with the individual connections. As a bonus, the former MPLS backbone was replaced in a brief amount of time that kept the cost of implementation within budget.
The implemented solution met the required objectives of bandwidth, reliability, and cost reduction set by management. Some of the other resulting benefits included the following.
The previous MPLS contract was successfully transformed into a new non-MPLS contract by adding local providers, thereby delivering substantial cost savings.
- The costly disruptions to the production site due to continual WAN failures was resolved by adding extra fiber connections from an alternative provider that were combined into a single tunnel using a Peplink Balance 580. This now allows internal IT to add and remove connections on the fly.
- Other SD-WAN enterprise routers such as the Peplink Balance 305, 380 and 710 models were utilized within the data center and remote office locations, allowing the retail to aggregate multiple connections. For the first time, the shop locations were able to realize redundancy by incorporating the Peplink Balance 20 and Balance 30 LTE models which are ideally suited for retail and multiple location businesses.
- Deployment costs were reduced by the fact that Peplink products are designed and shipped for easy deployment so that local staff are able to connect them to the network out of the box without the need for specialized network engineers on site.
- For one of the locations in the APAC region, the difference between using MPLS and commercial LTE was around USD50 per line. Similarly, those in other international locations found a price difference of USD1000 per line. Thus, saving the European shoe retailer a substantial amount.
Cost reduction was a stated objective for the implemented solution and the Peplink solution did not disappoint. Following the installation of the Peplink solution, the European shoe retail confirmed a cost savings of 30% compared to the previous MPLS solution.
In addition, the bandwidth was improved to all locations, giving every site a minimum connection of 10Mbs for stores and 50Mbs for the offices with latency reduced to a range between 20ms and 200ms.
Even better however is the positive feedback that the company has received from its users, confirming the success of the company’s commitment to enhance the user experience for its employees and customers. This is what digital transformation is all about, and SD-WAN technologies provided by Peplink are making it possible.