"The amount of control we have is incredible. The performance issues with the Telnet application are gone. By using Sinefa we have been able to solve the problems we were having with backups and Office 365. Sinefa has solved multiple problems in the WAN, but also gave insight on where the problems were coming from which we previously didn’t have. We have experienced a decrease of 20% in critical incidents tickets to our NOC"
Gerben Bremmer, Technical IT Specialist, Wavin Group
The need to improve application visibility and quality of service on internet links
Main concerns were for Office 365, Citrix and Telnet based applications
Critical applications were experiencing poor performance
After transition to Office 365 started, 150 Users were syncing and then network didn't work for 5 to 6 days, even after the migration was complete!
Number of MPLS links have been reduced but not eliminated - they have been replaced with local internet provider links which has saved around 30-50% of link costs
Decrease of 20% in critical incidents to the NOC
Traffic shaping policies implemented with ease for prioritization of critical applications that were impacted
Lowering of business costs
Wavin is the world leader in plastic pipe systems for residential, non-ˇresidential and civil engineering projects. The company operates in 26 Countries within Europe and was recently purchased by the Mexichem Group (www.mexichem.com).
From an ICT perspective, there are four data centres in Europe, plus file servers in the UK, France, Denmark, Holland, Poland and Turkey. Wavin moved 3,000 users to Office 365 in 2015 followed by moving infrastructure to Azure in 2016.
Previously, the network consisted of MPLS links only, but in 2014 Wavin started to migrate some MPLS lines to internet links. The company uses SAP as its ERP and it was looking to increase the performance of its WAN.
Challenge: Improving application visibility and quality of service on internet links
The network manager recognised the need to improve application visibility and quality of service on internet links. They were particularly concerned about Office 365, Citrix and Telnet based applications. Previously, both Sflow and Netflow were tried but neither worked.
The poor performance of critical applications was having major impact on productivity. Forklift drivers rely on Telnet for instructions, which was experiencing dropped data packets and was causing issues. When sessions dropped out drivers would become very annoyed. They would have to go back to service desk to unlock the Telnet session. This meant that their job couldn’t be completed, resulting in lost productivity.
Citrix users were getting a rubber keyboard (i.e. typing but no response) because Citix was competing with other traffic on the network like windows updates. Users were experiencing major delays and printing jobs were hell. Even small PDF files sent to a printer were congesting the link and delaying other applications.
When the transition to Office 365 started, 150 users were syncing and the network didn’t work for 5 to 6 days, even after migration was completed. The source of these problems was not immediately known, so IT had now way to prevent issues.
Solution: Lowering of business costs and improvement on critical application performance
The move to the cloud and the closure of data centres prompted Wavin to trial Sinefa’s technology. The alternatives considered were Ipanema & another offering via a Dutch reseller.
Sinefa was chosen because the proof of concept was simple and no cost. Deployment was fast and flexible. The ability to use one model of probe in 79 sites and the ability to scale with the business were also attractive features for Wavin.
Sinefa was found to be very easy to install and use. The 2 minute demo provided enough to get an initial understanding of what it is about. All the things needed to manage a network are within the product.
There was some capex requirement (with the purchase of the hardware probes) but compared to the alternatives the choice was easy - it is half the price. The opex component is very affordable and attractive too.
Another factor in decision-making was the ability to profile Wavin’s own internet services and keep its suppliers accountable.
The number of MPLS links has been reduced but not eliminated. They have been replaced with local internet provider links, which has saved around 30% - 50% of link costs.
SAP now has guaranteed bandwidth meaning forklifts and trucks don’t have to wait anymore because terminals are not responding. The problems with backups and windows have been solved. The Telnet link has been shaped to prioritize and protect its bandwidth and now the performance issues are gone. Sinefa has solved multiple problems in the WAN and provided insight on where the problems were coming from, which was not previously possible.
A lot of time and frustration has been saved and the business is more productive. There are less service desk calls, therefore technical staff can focus on other matters. There has been a decrease of 20% in critical incidents tickets to the NOC and, for example, a site of 200 people can now use critical applications reliably and consistently which they previously couldn’t. There is potential to increase the number of services utilising the network without the need to increase bandwidth.
The bandwidth control feature allows the organization to customize the shaping policies. This is an attractive feature as some sites have marketing personnel who need certain apps, while other sites are heavy SAP users.
The network manager is finding most benefit from the utilization feature; being able to zoom in and drill down on what happened. They consider the amount of control they now have as being excellent.