As information and communications technology (ICT) systems grow more intricate, many companies face increasingly complex, and ultimately more costly operational loads on their networks. These loads become even more difficult to manage as companies expand. A case study from NEC shows how one rapidly growing company used software-defined networking (SDN) to dramatically improve efficiency and reduce operational costs in its wide-area network (WAN).
The case study looks at a manufacturer of lighting equipment and components with branches and plants nationwide. The company was growing rapidly, leading to increasingly complex physical networks that forced WAN costs higher while network quality declined.
The company faced three major challenges with its WAN:
- Management resources were overwhelmed as WAN main link costs kept rising due to link congestion.
- Spikes in WAN traffic caused processing delays and reduced business efficiency.
- Network monitoring operations grew more inefficient as the WAN became more complex, increasing the time it took to implement countermeasures against failure.
During peak periods, delays caused such serious problems that business processing speed declined and communications that required real-time response, such as audio conversations and teleconferencing, became impossible. Meanwhile, the growing number of offices, departments, and group companies led to duplication and excessive inventory of IT equipment. Costs for the link and its management were skyrocketing.
The case study looks at how the company used NEC’S WAN Connection Optimization for Offices and Data Centers Solution to dramatically enhance WAN productivity by using backup links and dynamic flow control. The company had been using a 1 Gbps link as its main link, with a 500 Mbps link as its backup link. The SDN solution allowed the customer to use both the main and backup links as a collective active link, and dramatically reducing communication costs.
The solution also utilized route control to boost usage rates of links and bandwidth for more efficient communication using the same capacity links. By controlling data flow in response to data types and traffic amounts, the customer could optimize the overall WAN by guaranteeing IT system link bandwidth during business hours and allowing bandwidth to be preferentially allocated for audio calls and teleconferencing.