DP Fox’s portfolio consists of a variety of companies. Primarily, it operates a couple dozen car dealerships. Other companies include motorcycle dealerships, ice rinks, a minor league hockey team, a fashion house, and a small resort in the Bahamas.
Prior to selecting SD-WAN, its connectivity options did not provide the firm with the required reliability, a problem that only grew as it added locations. As DP Fox began moving it software, namely its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) service and its Dealership Management Software (DMS), to the cloud instead of on-premises, services connectivity outages could take an entire dealership offline.
DP Fox was relying on local internet service providers (ISPs), typically a fiber provider and a coax provider, for its connectivity. And while its dual-WAN firewalls provided some failover capacity it was still experiencing application outages during failover and brownouts to its service. According Grant Zondervan, vice president of IT at DP Fox, as the company relied more on the cloud, internet uptime became the most critical metric to the firm.
Two additional factors played a role it seeking out SD-WAN. Because it wasn’t using load balancing, half of DP Fox’s bandwidth was sitting idle at all times and its firewall wasn’t intelligent enough to detect these brownouts that were affecting service.
While choosing SD-WAN was an easy choice, picking a provider was a bigger task. “There seems to be a million of them out there,” Zondervan said. DP Fox relied on C3 Technology Advisors to introduce it to three or four SD-WAN vendors.
In the end DP Fox selected Bigleaf because it could leverage its current infrastructure. “We were happy with our current security solution and we had a substantial investment in it and in personnel training in hardware and software,” Zondervan said, adding that other SD-WAN providers wanted to layer additional security on top of their SD-WAN. “Bigleaf worked as a pure SD-WAN play without having to layer some third-party firewall on top of it.”
DP Fox began deploying Bigleaf devices at the start of this year, slowly rolling out the service to a few locations per month. Currently, it is leveraging SD-WAN at its headquarters and dealerships, but plans to deploy it in other locations next year. “Those locations are less sensitive to internet problems and a little more sensitive to budgetary restraints so we held off on them and focused on those critical dealerships first,” Zondervan said.
Bigleaf pre-configured the SD-WAN devices for the dealerships with connections to the current ISPs and IP addresses. Bigleaf links all of DP Fox’s sites to the backbone of the internet, which is beneficial in migrating to the cloud.
According to Zondervan, it has experienced just about zero WAN or application outages since deploying the SD-WAN boxes, increasing the dealerships total up-time. One of the main features that has been beneficial to the firm is it has given them visibility and insights into its network performance.
While Zondervan could not cite any hard cost savings from switching to SD-WAN, he did note that the soft cost savings were worth it as it no longer deals with downtime and its IT team is freed from fixing internet issues to work on new technologies.