Top 10 UK accountancy firm relies on advanced Unity EdgeConnect™ SD-WAN solution to support global, cloudbased IT environment
For any distributed organization with tens of branch offices and thousands of users, embracing the cloud will often result in multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) no longer being sufficient to address today’s WAN requirements. There is a desire to operate at ‘cloud speed’, but many organizations may be reluctant to transition to a broadband WAN, often referred to as a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), overnight. While the goal may be an SD-WAN, enterprises can begin their journey with a hybrid WAN, and this is exactly the route that one of the top 10 UK accountancy firms, Mazars, chose to take.
As a UK firm with a global footprint, Mazars runs private MPLS circuits from its data center – located at its headquarters in Tower Hill, London – to its 18 UK offices and seven international offices supporting 1,700 employees and 140 partners. When the company opened its international branch sites in Australia, Delhi and New York, Quality of Service (QoS) across its existing MPLS WAN architecture resulted in challenges delivering cloudbased applications, including Citrix for printing, and Skype for video and voice calls. As a result, Mazars required a solution that would allow it to leverage a hybrid WAN approach, where lower cost, higher bandwidth broadband services could be used to complement MPLS services and prevent the backhauling of all traffic to the central site.
As Mazars business expanded, the company soon began to realize that its existing WAN infrastructure was not able to offer the same level of service it provides its UK sites at its international branch offices. Users at its global sites struggled to connect to cloud-based applications, such as Citrix and Skype, over the long distance – the furthest being nearly 10,000 miles away in Sydney. In one instance, Mazars wanted to install some replacement printers, but it knew this would have significantly impacted the QoS on its internal lines. As such, the company needed to change its global IT infrastructure to support its international offices fully – and critical to that was a solution that was WAN transport agnostic.
Silver Peak Saves the Day
Mazars turned to Silver Peak partner, Solar Communications, for a solution that would support its transition to a hybrid WAN by increasing bandwidth capacity and network availability, improving application performance, leveraging existing network investments and reducing total WAN cost. After conducting a pilot of the Unity EdgeConnect™ SD-WAN solution, Mazars installed the Silver Peak solution at its international sites in Australia, Delhi and New York, as well as at 15 of its UK sites, due to its high-performance and reliability.
Silver Peak has become a fundamental part of our infrastructure.
— David Bennett, chief technology officer (CTO) at Mazars
Transitioning to a hybrid WAN model requires minimal disruption and cost. Internet services can be introduced to the WAN without impact on application performance or the existing MPLS network. The EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution automatically selects the optimum path for every application. This can restrict business-critical traffic to MPLS networks, while directing less critical traffic across the internet VPN. Given industry averages for bandwidth costs, payback for an SD-WAN investment starts immediately. Indeed, starting with its Sydney office, Mazars is reducing its dependence on international MPLS lines by migrating to local internet breakout. This will deliver secure, direct branch to cloud application access while providing the highest levels of application performance.
Mazars is also making use of Silver Peak Unity Orchestrator™ global management software for unprecedented visibility and control of data center and cloud-based applications. Its unique ability to centrally assign business intent policies to secure and control all SD-WAN traffic will help the company achieve its future mission of moving away from Citrix and embracing a fully cloud-based environment using Microsoft Azure and Office 365.
Since the deployment, Mazars has reduced WAN traffic by more than 40 percent, enabling the highlydistributed organization to deliver cloud-based applications across its UK and international offices. Since improving the QoS across its WAN, employees are benefitting from better-performing cloud applications, while keeping costs to a minimum.
“Silver Peak has become a fundamental part of our infrastructure,” said David Bennett, chief technology officer (CTO) at Mazars. “Building our global IT infrastructure from the ground up, we would not have been able to provide a decent level of service to our users without the Silver Peak SD-WAN solution. What’s more, the implementation was pain-free and as we look to move home into a fully cloud-based environment, Silver Peak will help us to manage that transition – and our costs. We knew Silver Peak was reliable through previous work and that it does exactly what it says on the tin.”
As a geographically dispersed business with branch offices located across the globe, Mazars is now making the most of a hybrid WAN approach. The digital transformation is continuing to have a big impact on businesses today – especially on IT departments – as workloads are becoming increasingly cloud-based for speed and agility. Mazars is able to embrace the cloud now, and in the future, without compromising network or application performance.
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- Users in local and international branch offices were struggling to connect to cloud-hosted applications
- Mazars required minimal disruption to its existing MPLS architecture
- Cloud-based applications used widely across the network
- Long distance between its sites – the furthest is 10,000 miles away
- Service levels varied across its UK and international branch offices
- Main data center located in London
- 18 UK offices and seven international offices
- Around 1,700 employees and 140 partners
- Cloud applications include Citrix and Skype
- Reduced WAN traffic by more than 40 percent
- Improved network and application performance
- Increased user productivity and agility