Employing some 37,000 employees across 20+ countries, this Fortune 500 global CPG company is one of the ‘World’s Most Admired Companies’.
Until recently, the company relied on a global MPLS network to stitch together 120 of its sites across the globe. But this MPLS network had been causing the company several pressing problems. The cost of its MPLS network had been increasing. It had poor visibility over the different types of traffic flowing over its network, which was leaving it unable to find and fix the causes of traffic bottlenecks. In addition, the company’s datacentre security stack had become increasingly complex, its backups were proving unreliable and the time taken to deploy changes to the network were hitting its agility.
The company wanted a solution that would enable it to improve user experience by balancing traffic over separate connections; prioritise real-time traffic to deliver good QoS on voice calls, which was especially important as it had recently switched to using Skype for Business; and align its network and cloud strategies.
During its RFP process, the company worked through several decision points as it weighed its options in terms of using global vs. regional networks. owning the technology vs. hardware as a service and self-management of the WAN vs. use of a third-party MSP.
Eventually, it decided on a hybrid approach, linking its six co-location hubs over a global MPLS backbone network, but with individual sites connecting to this network using SD-WAN over cheaper commodity broadband connections.
The company decided to own the technology, Silver Peak’s SD-WAN solution, and choose Xalient as its Managed Services Partner, due to Xalient’s specialism in SD-WAN, its experience with Silver Peak, global delivery expertise and 24/7 ‘follow-the-sun’ managed service capability, Xalient 365.
Xalient, as an innovative, yet relatively small, UK-based company, and as a women-owned business, also met the requirements of the client in terms of its supply chain diversity. This initiative is designed to encourage innovation and diversity and makes special provisions in commercial agreements that Xalient designed the complete solution, working with Silver Peak and security partner Zscaler, subsequently taking prime responsibility for its global roll-out and ongoing global network management, managed from its UK-based NOC.
To date, SD-WAN has enabled the company to route traffic more intelligently to improve application performance, for example, sending real-time voice and video traffic directly between sites, rather than sending it through its MPLS network. Carrier costs are vastly reduced with the move from MPLS, with a new pooled bandwidth across 20+ carriers optimizing usage across all available circuits. There is a simpler security approach with secure internet breakout at every site. Through central orchestration of devices, there is now global consistency as well as a new ability to rapidly and remotely integrate and decommission sites, driving both cost and operational efficiency.
When completed in 2019, the program will deliver the same or lower costs in all regions but, crucially, it will also provide the company with much better visibility of traffic and stronger network performance, making it fit for the future.
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