Fast-growing companies have a nasty habit of accumulating “networking stuff” that ultimately brings complexity and complications to the lives of IT. Just ask Adam Laing, the systems administrator at Sun Rich, a fresh produce provider to foodservice and retails markets throughout North America.
Laing found himself managing the headaches of rapid growth. An MPLS network that connected all of his facilities was costing him far too much in North America. And network performance was often too limited to carry his Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) traffic. “Today, you can’t run a business on 3 Mbits/s connections to your branches,” says Laing. “We ended up paying a lot of money for nothing.”
The centralized Internet design of his MPLS deployment undermined cloud and Internet performance. Backhauling the Internet traffic to the datacenter coupled with the limited capacity at each location meant users experienced general “sluggishness” when accessing applications. Connecting to Azure was difficult because “performance was not where it need to be,” says Laing. The limited performance would also have made migrating to Office 365 and SharePoint impossible, he says
Numerous security appliances tools, such as firewalls and anti-malware, were needed to protect locations. Appliances carry their own operational hit, requiring patching, capacity planning, and often forcing upgrades when traffic jumps or after enabling additional compute-intensive services.
To top it off, mobile users were presenting their own challenges. A third-party service was used to connect mobile users, which required its own policies and configuration. Visibility was limited as many users would connect directly to the Internet, bypassing corporate security controls.
In short, Sun Rich was drowning in cost and complexity.
Sun Rich needed an MPLS alternative approach. Laing tried deploying SD-WAN appliances with multiple, active broadband connections, but no number of local links could compensate for the poor Internet routing users experienced at some branches. And SD-WAN appliances do nothing for mobile users or advanced security challenges.