Company connects branch locations and supports staff activities
As more and more enterprise applications migrate from the corporate data centre to the cloud, geographically distributed enterprises are finding that backhauling application traffic from branch offices to the headquarters no longer makes sense. Employees often find that their business applications run faster at home, or on their mobile devices, than at their business office. This was true for one of the largest expert growers and suppliers of high-quality fresh vegetables in Europe, Produce World, which was finding that its traditional wide area network (WAN) architecture was impairing business application performance and availability for employees located in remote locations. As such, the company needed to increase bandwidth, as well as its visibility and control of the applications running over its WAN.
As a dispersed organisation with five production sites spanning the UK – four factory sites and a smaller 10-user site in Scotland – Produce World needed to increase bandwidth to support more advanced video and audio conferencing, as well as business critical applications, including Citrix. With each site running on a combination of asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), fibre lease lines and broadband connections, with multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) back-up links, Produce World sought a solution that would provide the highest level of visibility and control over its network traffic, while maintaining application service level agreements (SLAs) over any combination of transport services. Finally, the company wanted to improve internet connectivity for both staff and visitors.
We are now able to decide how and where our traffic is delivered, which is enabling us to move away from the traditional MPLS links in favour of more flexible broadband transport technologies. — Richard Billington, infrastructure manager at Produce World
“With several factory sites across the UK, we rely on having the most efficient business processes in place,” said Richard Billington, infrastructure manager at Produce World.
“We knew we needed more bandwidth to support data-hungry video and audio conferencing applications, such as Skype, but our traditional WAN infrastructure was unable to do that, nor provide us with the desired control over our network. Indeed, we wanted to be able to choose where traffic was sent in accordance with its importance. At the same time, we wanted to offer our employees greater WiFi access. Whether it was streaming videos, accessing social media or browsing online, we wanted to support – not define – what they could do in the workplace.”
Silver Peak Saves the Day
After assessing the market, Produce World chose to install the EdgeConnect software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution due to its centralised control, ease of deployment, and its ability to extend application
SLAs to its dispersed locations. EdgeConnect automatically reports on traffic across the network, providing valuable visibility, whilst path conditioning ensures the highest level of network and application performance and availability.
In addition, Produce World is using Unity Orchestrator, which is included with Unity EdgeConnect, and provides unprecedented levels of visibility and control of data centre and cloud applications. It streamlines internal and external business processes from a central command, can assign business intent policies, and monitor real-time throughput.
Since deploying EdgeConnect, Produce World is now able to take advantage of five times more available bandwidth than it had previously. This has significantly improved its employee’s user experience and enabled the firm to focus on business-enabling initiatives to propel its business forward. With features such as Dynamic Path Control (DPC), Produce World can now fully utilise all available bandwidth at each branch location, and create more intelligent decisions about how the WAN links are used in accordance with application service level requirements. DPC was easily configured using Unity Orchestrator for centralised configuration, providing granular control over how traffic is directed across multiple WAN links.
“The Silver Peak EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution has given us the network control that we needed,” continued Billington. “We are now able to centrally orchestrate and control how and where our applications traffic is delivered, which is enabling us to move away from the traditional MPLS links to more flexible broadband transport technologies. With five times as much available bandwidth, our employees and visitors are now able to access the applications they need, without it impacting network or application performance.”
As a result of the company’s successful SD-WAN deployment, Produce World can now benefit from increased productivity between its geographically distributed branch offices, as well as complete visibility and control over its network. “We’re extremely happy to continue working with Silver Peak, who have proven a great partner,” concludes Billington.
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- MPLS network impacting access to business applications
- Sluggish business-critical applications
- Unable to support advanced video and audio conferencing
- Poor application performance
- Limited bandwidth
- Poor visibility and lack of control
- Geographically distributed organisation
- Five production sites spanning the UK
- Four factory sites
- One smaller 10-user site in Scotland
- Five times more available bandwidth
- Improved application delivery
- Increased visibility and control
- Increased business productivity and more collaborative employees