From traditional WAN to global network in the Cloud
Organizations are constantly on the move. But to be agile, having a flexible network infrastructure is crucial. This certainly applies to organizations such as Low & Bonar, who have international offices and do business all over the world. Mergers and acquisitions have completely changed the business environment within a few years and have created challenges in the areas of costs, management, and digital performance.
International WAN Challenges
Was it wise to continue the relationship with the telecom company, which was chosen in 2013? With this question, the preparation of a quotation request to several suppliers started in 2018. One thing was certain, namely that the world of international infrastructures had completely changed. It had to be done better, faster and above all cheaper. Due to acquisitions from the past, the L&B IT infrastructure contained a relatively large number of different systems and applications, which resulted in a high management burden. Low & Bonar uses, amongst other things, an Oracle (JD Edwards) ERP system that is hosted on centralized servers in Arnhem. The Intex ERP system is also used for specific business processes (weaving industry). SAP ERP is also used. Other important business applications are also hosted in the central data center in Arnhem.
In addition, its own IT department was too dependent on the current supplier. “Creating new locations or change requests did not always go smoothly,” is how Paul Visscher, Head of Infrastructure and Security at Low & Bonar, puts it. The performance of the international network was also very different between the countries. For example, in China, the data first passes through a firewall controlled by the Chinese state.
A dedicated bandwidth was needed here anyway, but later it turned out there was an even better alternative.
Making choices for the right solution
It soon became clear that this time it was not about simply renewing the MPLS network of the telecom provider. Partly due to the new possibilities of SD-WAN technology, there suddenly appeared to be many options. MPLS, Internet and even wireless (4G) connections in combination with various SD-WAN technologies.
For Paul Visscher there was something else that was important, namely the ‘co-managed’ model offered by IPknowledge and Cato. As a result, the control and direction of the WAN came primarily by himself and, without management costs. “As a result, I literally have flexibility and scalability in control, which is better for us than a fully managed environment of a traditional CSP, Communication Service Provider or Telco,” he explains….