Transforming manufacturing operations through SD-WAN
How a leading dairy brand, has accelerated digital change by implementing SD-WAN.
A household name in Europe for milk and dairy products, our customer also shapes the industry internationally. The company is a favourite dairy brand, sourcing milk from 1000’s of farmers to develop, manufacture and market a wide range of dairy products.
An innovative leader in its field, our customers network operations are critical in supporting the effective operation, production and performance of the business. The company was looking to transform its European WAN with the aims of:
- Reducing cost: The extensive MPLS infrastructure was high in cost
- Improving agility: Changes to the WAN routing were complex and time-consuming
- Simplifying scalability: Adding and removing sites was a lengthy process
- Enhancing visibility: There was limited insight of applications and data across the network
- Improving security: There is ever a need to simplify and enhance security
Our customer selected Cisco’s SD-WAN as the solution that it believed would meet their requirements. SD-WAN enables companies to gain greater control of the WAN, whilst delivering greater reliability and performance, resulting in higher employee and operational productivity. The SD-WAN network project aimed to use a combination of MPLS and internet links across 90 UK and European sites.
- Requires fewer IT staff time to manage WANs through centralised, policy-based management.
- Provides deeper insights and visibility into the appications transiting the WAN, enhancing the control of business-critical traffic.
- Allows simpler flexibility and scalability of traffic, enabling resources to be moved to where needed.
- Provides application-aware routing that allow real-time policy enforcement for cloud and on-premises solutions.
- Enables segmentation of traffic passing through the WAN simplifying security.
The project was at the stage in which all equipment had been purchased and the design was going through proof of concept with a team including in-house staff, Cisco specialists and Deutsche Telecom. It was recognised, however, with the size of the estate and the complexities of the requirements, that the support of an external SD-WAN specialist would benefit and speed up the project. The team needed a company who understood the business objectives, who could provide strategic direction, and support the creation of designs to help deliver the project objectives. The specific requirements were defined as:
- POC validation and testing support
- A flexible approach to strategic advice
- Support in the creation of solution designs and configuration of policies
- Assist with deployment and site migrations
- Post launch support, including issue resolution and vendor escalation
Ultimately, the aim of this engagement was to assist our customer to accelerate change in digital technologies providing ongoing technical support for the more complex aspects of integrating with the legacy infrastructure and maximising the value of the organisation’s WAN environment.
“At the outset of the project, we made it clear how critical the WAN is to the overall operations and performance of the business. We needed a partner who had, as well as the skills to deliver and manage our new SD-WAN solution, the capability of helping with our IT strategic vision with this technology.
With WhiteSpider we found exactly that partner. The rollout of our SD-WAN network across the whole of our European operations went smoothly, and they were able to help us look ahead and plan for the future with SD-WAN and other networking solutions we were investigating.”
Head of Network Operations
As a Cisco gold provider, WhiteSpider adopted a close relationship with the customer, understanding how to work alongside their own expert in-house IT team and support them technically where and when required.
- Improved Visibility: Centralised, detailed visibility of key factory applications across the networks, ensuring greater control of production and distribution.
- Greater Security: Created the ability to segment traffic, mapping virtual networks between factories and data centres thereby improving security.
- Enhanced Agility: Gained greater direct control of the network, improving responsiveness to business demand, with reduced operational costs.
- Business Insights: Improved ability to provide the business with information on application performance allowing different business units to control key applications.