Over the past two years hundreds of enterprise, including those in the retail sector, have been adapting and deploying Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions to keep up with the exponential increase in the demand for network bandwidth on which more and more resource-hungry applications are run, in order to not only facilitate omni-channel integration but also to deliver the next generation store experience for today’s consumers and shoppers. This is especially true and important for growing organizations with global presence, seeing as resources within such businesses are often spread out and shared locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
A solution provider specializing in delivering cloud networking services for simplifying branch WAN networking came to Lanner with a request for a hardware solution on which their proprietary cloud-based SD-WAN platform can be run and integrated because such complete hardware/software solution is sought after by an US-based garment retailer with a worldwide network that includes HQ and branches on the East Coast, manufacturing facilities and storage located in several US cities/states and international operation offices in Europe, Asia and finally hundreds of brick and mortar stores worldwide.
This retailer was reaching a critical point where its existing infrastructure must be migrated to SD-WAN so that the network demands can be sustained and future growth be ensured because their then existing network was heavily dependent upon a MPLS infrastructure that required all corporate and store network traffic to be backhauled to regional data centers before arriving at the intended destinations, ultimately reducing this retailer’s ability for sales realization and order fulfillment. What’s more, the limited network bandwidth supported by the then existing network T1s is increasing becoming a bottleneck all store locations had to endure when trying to access business applications directly.
The most ideal hardware candidate for this particular application scenario must offer:
- Simple deployment
- Straightforward Management
- Fast turn-up time
- Uncomplicated structure
- Reduced configuration times
Solution simplicity in terms of deployment and management was of the upmost importance so that no further manpower would be needed for the installation, maintenance and troubleshooting upon/after deployment, in the long run.
(Regional Offices) NCA-6210
The NCA-6210, a 2U x86 rackmount network appliance built with the Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor platform and C621/C627 chipset , features powerful networking processing capability, higher throughput for virtualization applications, up to 640GB DDR4 2666MHz REG DIMM and the support for 1.5x as much memory bandwidth as previous generation Intel® Xeon® processor based server platforms.
The NCA-6210 is validated with the Wind RiverTitanium Cloud, Enea NFV Core and other NFVi solutions, making it a carrier-grade network platform optimized for telco cloud, edge computing and other NFVI applications.
(Retail Stores) FW-7551SE
Lanner’s FW-7551SE (W 231 mm x H 305 mm x D 120 mm), the upgraded iteration of Lanner’s best-selling vCPE/CPE device the FW-7551, was selected as the ideal hardware appliance.
The FW-7551SE brings features typically found in higher-end networking devices, in desktop form factor. It is one of Lanner’s SDN/NFV-ready network appliances for vCPE, SD-WAN and SD-Security. The FW-7551SE can also be deployed as a CPE device for managing networks at medium-sized business, branch offices and distributed enterprises.
This solution provider’s cloud-based SD-WAN software solution is all-encompassing, including CloudSD-A for centralized network visibility and management, CloudSD-B for gateway access to cloud hosted applications and CloudSD-C for Edge access at this retailer’s store locations.
In this case the CloudSD-B and the CloudSD-C were ported to the NCA-6210 and the FW-7551SE respectively with ease. The hardware installation was quick and the implementation was simple, ; the CloudSD-B and C were easy to configure, deploy, manage and monitor.
No more network outages and loss of sales. Stores no longer need to worry about losing sales/transactions as the result of unforeseeable network outages (because of a downed circuits) and unreliable modem failover switch. Manual rebooting of the modem is now a thing of the past because outage can now be immediately detected and traffic can be re-routed over the LTE backup with no disruption to business continuity and uptime.
Store-based online shopping made possible. Online product browsing and ordering at physical retail locations are important as not all stores carry the complete product inventory. For those who wish to place orders for items not found on-site they can do so via an interactive and visually pleasing website, one that requires the display of many high-resolution images of each clothing item, and one that requires a fast and seamless network connection. SD-WAN, delivering the new network path with higher bandwidth and more efficient throughput, enables direct and secure access to the cloud-based website from each branch store, allowing instantaneous content/image rendering, therefore optimizing the shopping experience.
What’s more, such setup also eliminated traffic backhauling. Traffic can now be segmented depending on intent, allowing website browsing traffic direct access to the Internet while routing business application-specific traffic to the data centers. Finally, each network traffic path can now be designed and centrally managed with complete visibility so that each retail store network access now experiences much reduced latency and enjoys greatly improved and increased bandwidth.
VoIP added without additional switches. The retailer also succeeded in converting its legacy phone system at each office and store to a VoIP phone system. This is done with ease by installing VoIP phones and by leveraging the SD-WAN gateway appliance as a phone switch, no traditional phone switches are needed.
Following the trial system migration at its more peripheral offices and locations, this retailer finally decided to migrate all its regional offices and prime retail locations to this solution provider’s cloud-based SD-WAN. Each FW-7551SE, running the CloudSD-C would be pre-configured at its main offices by its IT staff and then shipped to the retail stores for deployment; a typical installation, including configuring and testing, would take only an hour or less.
The deployment at its retail stores was followed by implementation at each regional office; the entire network migration was completed with no downtime to the organization and was completely transparent to network users.