A flexible, high-performance SD-WAN supports Burgess & Niple’s expansion strategy

Underpinned by Aruba SD-WAN


Established in 1912 and headquartered in Columbus,Ohio, Burgess & Niple is a nationally recognized, award-winning engineering and architecture firm.
Its diverse client base includes cities, towns, federal government, state agencies and the private sector. B&N brings concern for quality of life, safety and sustainability to all of its infrastructure solutions.

Everyone at engineering and architecture firm Burgess & Niple (B&N) needs easy, reliable access to virtual desktops, CAD, IP voice and other centrally hosted applications. An Aruba SD-WAN solution, implemented and managed by Xalient, makes application access seamless, simplifies billing, and supports the firm’s plans for growth.

Always ahead of the curve

Blazing a trail comes naturally to B&N. Since its founding more than a century ago, the firm has pioneered new techniques and technologies in areas such as water treatment and bridge inspection. And more than five years ago, B&N made the bold decision to transform its corporate network from MPLS to SD-WAN. Soon after Rod Dickerson joined B&N as CTO, a change in ownership and pricing of the firm’s previous SD-WAN technology prompted him to research alternative providers.

Looking for less complexity

“We all work on virtual desktops and rely on the network for access to our apps and services,” says Rod. “The new SD-WAN solution had to prioritize network traffic to ensure the quality of service for our key CAD and voice apps. We were also keen to offload some of the management burdens.” Much of the management overhead stemmed from the fact that B&N had access circuits from more than 15 different suppliers. As Rod points out: “That meant lots of separate contracts and bills to manage, as well as the SD-WAN itself.” The majority of the circuits were business-class broadband that came without any personalized support — just a standard helpline number to call with any issues.

A managed solution built on mutual trust

Alongside alternative SD-WAN solutions from carriers, Rod evaluated Aruba’s SD-WAN technology. Aruba proposed a solution involving its partner Xalient for service implementation and management. “Although Xalient isn’t widely known in the US yet, having Aruba in their corner reassured us,” says Rod.

Discussions with Xalient account reps and engineers further boosted his confidence: “With their network operations center and adherence to ITIL practices, Xalient showed they had a mature support model we could trust,” he says. “They’ve built a quality service offering, and we felt comfortable working with them.”
Rod’s faith in Xalient and Aruba paid off, with a smooth implementation process. Each of B&N’s 20+ sites (offices and data centers) has dual network access for resilience — either a primary fiber access with a business broadband backup or dual-broadband connections. Xalient took over management of B&N’s existing circuit contracts and replaces them as the contracts expire. This unique approach allows B&N to avoid early termination fees.

Although Rod and his team had the skills to deploy the Aruba technology themselves, he’s glad they chose to use Xalient. “Xalient’s understanding of our needs and their detailed implementation documentation were fantastic,” he says. “And because they know the Silver Peak technology so well, they could fine-tune it and get it exactly right for us.” Thinking about his previous experience of working with managed service providers, Rod can’t recall a relationship like the one he has with Xalient. “It’s a partnership up and down the organization,” he says. “The level of care, the process maturity and the responsiveness to issues are all wonderful.”

As B&N pursues its strategy to expand further across the US, Rod knows he has the right technology in place to support the firm’s continued growth. “With our SD-WAN and virtual desktops we have the perfect, flexible framework to quickly spin up new sites and bring new users on board,” he says.

Because Xalient is carrier agnostic, it can ensure the most appropriate, best-value circuits are sourced for each location. To do this, Xalient works with aggregators who manage carrier relationships on behalf of multiple customers. “An aggregator working at scale has more influence with each carrier than B&N could have alone,” says Rod. “This helps to ensure we get excellent quality of service on every circuit.”

The right foundation for today and tomorrow

It’s still early days for B&N’s new SD-WAN, but Rod knows he made the right decision. A seamless cutover ensured no disruption for users, and comprehensive reporting allows him to keep a close eye on network performance. “The best test is that nobody noticed that anything had changed,” he says.