The August 8th Telarus Tuesday call brought Bigleaf Co-Founder & VP of Sales/Marketing Jeff Burchett, SimpleWAN VP of Sales Brian Perdue, and Ecessa VP of Development & Technical Support Mike Siegler to talk about SD-WAN and to share a few case studies. The entire recording can be found here.
Bigleaf Cloud-first SD-WAN is the next generation of internet optimization – based on the natural redundancy found in leaf veins. They connect you through our plug-and-play router in your office, to their gateway clusters in the Cloud, providing end-to-end visibility and control. Their Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology ensures that your business-critical applications are prioritized across your internet connections and that all traffic flows are routed over the best connection in real-time
New Seasons Market is a high-end grocer similar to Whole Foods, with locations up and down the west coast. The reason BigLeaf likes to talk about New Seasons Market is they are not unique relative to a lot of your customers. They are a mid-market business who is going through rapid growth; they have a lean and somewhat overworked IT organization. What they are looking to do is leverage the cloud to continue to scale and gain a competitive advantage in their given market.
Each store got its internet from a local ISP and had a dial up connection designated as the backup system. Sean Teisher, VP of IT for New Seasons Market, explains that as the company began to scale the number of stores, they started to notice slower internet speeds and overall network congestion. The IT team was also looking to move critical applications to the cloud. Looking for a better alternative, New Seasons Market reached out to Bigleaf for help. For the initial deployment, New Seasons Market installed Bigleaf Networks’ plug-and-play SD-WAN routers at 10 of the company’s grocery store outlets with the plan to roll out additional routers over several months. The routers came pre-configured and sat outside the firewall, so installation was extremely simple and fast. The New Seasons Market IT team was also pleased that they got to keep their preferred firewall solution which includes, anti-virus, content filtering, intrusion detection, and VPNs for private networking, while Bigleaf was able to provide support and traffic shaping capabilities all in complete solution. Unlike other multi-WAN solutions that monitor only a tiny subset of internet paths, Bigleaf measures each internet connection from the store’s location, all the way across the internet path, to Bigleaf’s network. This provides a complete picture of the performance of each circuit and helps insulate internet experience from common ISP issues such as peering disputes, unplanned maintenance, traffic congestion, and more.
Bigleaf provides 100% uptime and reliability from their internet connections. This is the cloud migration story that a lot of mid-market customers are facing today, and where Bigleaf excels. As the SD-WAN market continues to evolve, you will continue to see more and more differentiation in the market.
SimpleWAN is a provider of cloud-based networking solutions for branch offices, service centers, stores, and franchises. They believe networking should be simple, efficient, and innovative, and they created an all-in-one solution to make IT secure, smart, and smooth.
One of the case studies SimpleWan likes to highlight is a nationwide deployment which they started about a year and a half ago for a nationwide pizza chain. This pizza chain was relying on a slow network of MPLS and VPN; they were utilizing commodity broadband for those VPN deployments and T1s on all their sites. They had absolutely no visibility into the network for each location and very little to no IT support at each of the sites. Bringing new locations required either one lengthy MPLS install or expensive equipment because of this it took them way longer to open a new restaurant than corporate would have preferred. They also wanted to standardize the technology for all of the franchisees and make sure their security vulnerabilities were locked down. Also, their disaster recovery solution was extremely expensive and lacked flexibility. This pizza chain was trying to tie multiple providers together while having a secure WAN and ensuring that all locations had access to inventory management, online ordering applications, and point of sale. This company has made a huge transition to online ordering so much that they incentivize customers with free pizzas after so many online orders. They found running those applications over their tired MPLS network was problematic.
Being able to optimize certain applications is the highlight of going with an SD-WAN deployment. This company wanted something more holistic where they could look at the entire view of every single location, see what sites were online, and be able to communicate with unified communications between all the locations. If the calls are not able to come into the locations they will not be able to receive the order. This customer wanted one provider who could meet all of their demands, and the solutions had to be simple. When SimpleWan rolls out customers, they make sure that the store manager or somebody who has very little to no IT experience can understand the environment. In this case, the customer was able to displace not only their sole MPLS network and aging firewalls but also multiple boxes that were stacking up at every single location like caller ID boxes and Wi-Fi controllers. The customer had roughly a 37 percent reduction in MRC, and they now have the ability to manage all of their sites with a single pane of glass.
- One way to manage all their locations
- One magic box that takes care of all their networking
- Flexibility to change and add to their networks
- A trusted partner that keeps their networks running and secure
SD-WAN is broad regarding terminology, and it applies to a lot of different business in very different ways. Ecessa takes a little bit of a different approach, if Bigleaf is cloud-first, then Ecessa is premise first. What this means is that a lof of the customers they work with have been on a path to cloud leveraging; they’re starting to migrate a few critical applications to the cloud, but they still have legacy applications and components that they have to host locally. Due to this, they still need some connectivity and some resiliency to their internal networks as well. Ecessa is premise-first for companies who are migrating to the cloud but are not there yet or are never going to be completely there regarding 100 percent applications to the cloud.
Ecessa has been working with Trans States Airline for several years now, Trans States is based out of St. Louis, and they do carrier support for United and American. As you know, the airline industry has been rife with failures from an IT perspective and outages. Ecessa has been able to help them build backups and resiliency to their infrastructure across multiple locations around the world including data center and remote locations. The most important piece for them was for Ecessa to be able to integrate into their network, which is one of the benefits of an Ecessa approach. A few of the questions Ecessa likes to ask are:
- Does the customer have multiple sites that need that never down connectivity between locations?
- Do they need to support a mesh network?
- Is real-time traffic important to them?
- Do they want to leverage their existing connectivity including their IP addresses that are coming from their ISPs?
Ecessa prides itself in being agnostic to carrier and technology; they will integrate any connectivity that people need to bring along. These are some of the really important pieces when it comes to identifying a good Ecessa opportunity. Trans States Airline had multiple MPLS they purchased that they weren’t able to use actively; they had them as emergency failover only. By integrating an Ecessa product into their different locations, they were able to help them create and active network, also helping them never lose a ping or access to their applications. They also helped them achieve a 100% uptime for the last several months.
The Big Picture
So where does SD-WAN fit in general? Start with the concept of resiliency, be it to the cloud or be it within an organization on-premise like the type of applications Ecessa prides themselves on. This technology gives you back control, you can approach organizations that are stuck in contracts with existing connections if people want to replace MPLS you have that capability. Today you can insert and Ecessa, a Bigleaf, or a SimpleWan device and integrate additional bandwidth. There’s a lot of freedom that comes with leveraging the technology as well as building out that resiliency. When you think Ecessa, think flexibility. They can integrate into those existing customers, they don’t require large architectural changes, and they can fit into any network.