A large mid-sized professional services company with 7 branch offices was using a private data network (MPLS) to connect all locations. Although each branch operates independently with their own management policies, all sales and support staff use a company-wide internal system to track client forms and workflow. The system that tracks their customers resides on equipment a data center in downtown Dallas. The MPLS lets them access this system and to share files across the company and within each branch.
Guidelines at each branch differ with regard to acceptable computer use. One location doesn’t allow staff to use social media or streaming sites, such as YouTube or Spotify while others have no such restrictions.
The client contacted Cloud Communication Group because they wanted to reduce network expenses.
CCG analyzed reporting from our client’s current network provider and found that there was no problem with their bandwidth. The branch office sites were using about 80% of what is available; right where we like to see utilization as it allows room to expand if and when business needs require it.
Comparing the sum of traffic from the office sites and the data center, typically we would expect to see much higher usage on the data center. However, CCG found that the data center, where the file storage and systems live, was not used nearly as much. Assuming (and, of course, validating) that the carrier reports are accurate, we realized the higher usage from the office staff was mostly due to traffic that was not going to the data center which raises questions their IT department couldn’t answer.
- Do they have computers configured wrong so they are generating more traffic than they should?
- Is there a virus that’s generating a bunch of traffic?
- Is everyone streaming music from Spotify or downloading movies?
The Real Problem
Our client’s corporate IT staff has very poor visibility. It is impossible with their current systems to know what is actually going on the network.
By adding SD-WAN to their network they can get very detailed visibility into who is doing what on the network. Now our client’s IT team can see if an employee is using Facebook or Netflix all day long, or whatever else may be happening.
We are confident we will find a lot of the traffic is some sort of media streaming off the internet, but the SD-WAN devices will figure this out and do it for much less than other tools IT currently has in their toolbox.
Once IT figures out exactly what is going on, it become a management decision to curb behavior and actually block some sites. Or they can tackle this by adding lower cost broadband internet services at the locations and use SD-WAN to route low priority traffic (social media, streaming media, etc.) to those lower cost circuits and keep the higher quality ones for their internal business needs.
SD-WAN lets IT route things at a much more granular level than they could without it, so they can set up a very detailed management plan for whatever is happening on the network.
The SD-WAN deployment will give the IT staff accurate information on what is happening on their network and then let them take specific actions or implement policies that ultimately make the network run better and reduce network expenditures in the process.
|Current Network Expense:
CCG Recommended Plan:
Add lower cost broadband internet
New network expense*
New total network expense
|$11,000 a month
$1400 a month
$950 a month
$6500 a month
$8850 a month
*Replaces the current network expense of $11,000. Non-business traffic goes out the broadband connections so network cost is reduced.
- No fees for CCG services.
- Network visibility.
- Cost savings.
- Employee usage guidelines can be altered or remain the same without adversely impacting network use or cost.
- Ongoing consulting services from CCG with no fees.
“About 18% of organizations are deploying some flavor of software-defined WAN.”
– John Burke, CIO and Principal Research Analyst with Nemertes Research