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Use Case 1

Manufacturer of lighting equipment and components

Enhancing WAN productivity and reducing costs through the efficient use of links and dynamic flow control

Business type Manufacturer of lighting equipment and components
Goal Improve the operating efficiency of the company's WAN connecting head office with branches and local offices
NEC's solution NEC SDN Solutions - WAN Connection Optimization for Offices and Data Centers Solution

In this case study, we will show you how NEC SDN Solutions helped a manufacturer of lighting equipment and components with branches and plants nationwide. The company was struggling with many issues arising from its increasingly complex physical networks, including duplication of communications equipment at its data center and excessive inventory of IT equipment caused by an increase in the number of offices, departments, and group companies due to rapid business growth and M&A. These problems were solved by implementing NEC's WAN Connection Optimization for Offices and Data Centers Solution.

  • *SDN: Software-Defined Networking

Challenges and results

Challenges Results
Management resources were overwhelmed as WAN main link costs kept rising due to link congestion brought about by rapid business growth. Link costs were reduced by using both the main link and the backup link as active links.
WAN traffic increased suddenly at certain times, causing processing delays. Slow traffic in turn reduced business efficiency. The company introduced dynamic flow control that enables the optimal choice of links according to traffic volume and data type.
Network monitoring operations grew more inefficient as the WAN became more complex, increasing the time it took to implement countermeasures against failure. We made the WAN more visible with our operational tools that are able to monitor traffic on both the physical and virtual networks. This dramatically improved the efficiency of monitoring operations.

WAN costs continued to increase while network quality declined due to rapid business growth.

Figure: Manager of the information systems department

The company was in the process of expanding business not only in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, but also in rural areas. The firm purchased multiple plants and turned them into subsidiaries to gain control over companies that were developing LED technology, as well as expand production capacity.
Due to the rapid expansion of business, however, the company's inter-office WAN started to show symptoms of problems. Specifically, the company's management resources were under pressure due to the skyrocketing cost of the link and its management. In addition, communication quality began to deteriorate due to the excessive load on the overall WAN system.

Figure: Manager of the information systems department

The company's overall business processing capacity was negatively impacted due to data bottlenecks caused by congestion on the WAN. The company considered using the redundant backup links implemented as a measure against system failure to ease congestion on the jammed-up main links, but the idea was not feasible.
The company was also weighed down by the large number of network switches being used due to the expansion of the WAN. The firm's information system department had started to become overwhelmed by managing the increasingly complex system, especially in the light of increased use of the cloud and data centers. Whenever new offices opened and internal organizational changes were made, the workload exceeded the capacity of the IT staff, and the department was forced to request vendors to dispatch network experts to help. Accordingly, workloads and management costs kept growing.

Would it be possible to dramatically enhance WAN productivity by using backup links and dynamic flow control?

Figure: Manager of the information systems department

NEC's WAN Connection Optimization for Offices and Data Centers Solution allowed the customer to use both the main and backup links as a collective active link and thereby dramatically reduce communication costs. In addition, this solution utilized route control to boost usage rates of links and bandwidth. This led to more efficient communication using the same capacity links.
Another major advantage of the WAN Connection Optimization for Offices and Data Centers Solution is that it gave the customer the ability to control data flow in response to data types and traffic amounts. This enabled the overall WAN to be optimized and enhanced productivity by guaranteeing IT system link bandwidth during business hours and allowing bandwidth to be preferentially allocated for audio calls and teleconferencing.

Figure: Manager of the information systems department

With this solution, link bandwidths were maximized by dynamically and efficiently controlling data flow, while link costs were dramatically reduced by concurrently operating both the main link and the backup link.

Figure: Achieving a highly productive WAN by utilizing backup linksLarger viewAchieving a highly productive WAN by utilizing backup links

How can a company best resolve network operation inefficiencies caused by the growing complexity of their ICT systems?

NEC helped the company to consolidate its physical network resources (equipment and staff) and virtualize the network according to department and business. This in turn drastically reduced management workloads and cost. In addition, the company no longer needed many of its network switches, leading to the optimization of its WAN infrastructure and further cost cutting. Needless to say, the firm no longer needs vendors to dispatch staff to help alleviate an overwhelming workload.

Figure: Using SDN to improve overall WAN management efficiencyLarger viewUsing SDN to improve overall WAN management efficiency

  • *PFC: ProgrammableFlow Controller
  • *PFS: ProgrammableFlow Switch
  • *FW: Firewall

Monitoring operations were also dramatically enhanced. The entire network became more visible with the introduction of operation tools that allow the monitoring of failures, traffic, and performance on both the physical and virtual networks. The new visualized GUI environment also made operations management easier and more efficient.

Figure: Manager of the information systems department

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