Invensys APV opts for Allot bandwidth management solution for global WAN
"IP Performance and Allot met our demanding requirements for a worldwide trial in 15 locations. Their exceptional levels of support changed the direction of this project and the resultant solution has been very easy to install across all of our sites" - Bob Wilson - Global Network and Infrastructure Specialist
The Invensys Group is well known for its expertise in control, automation and transportation solutions. Of the six core businesses that make up the group one is APV, which supplies process solutions and support services to the food, dairy, beverage and healthcare industries. APV combines expertise in process technology with leading intelligent automation systems and it currently maintains more than 85 offi ces in over 50 countries worldwide, the majority enjoying interconnectivity with other Invensys business units.
APV had identified a need to enhance security on the Invensys WAN and also wanted to find out more about network use, current network applications and status. Establishing baseline current bandwidth usage on the Group WAN was a key stage of a WAN reorganisation project. The global structure of APV made it an ideal environment to evaluate the capabilities of network devices due to the different technologies such as IPSec, xDSL, fixed line circuit, L2TP, MPLS all deployed within the single WAN - one that affected network resources across many different locations.
The majority of Invensys Business Units share a common open infrastructure with firewalls at Internet Access points and at some key datacentres. The infrastructure is based on IP VPN over MPLS from various providers. APV wanted to monitor and analyse traffic by volume, protocol, application and even user. They needed to see dynamic as well as historical graphs and reports before applying controls to manage traffic.
APV had initially been told by other vendors that they would benefit from compression - common in solutions of this kind. When IP Performance suggested the Allot solution as a more effective and lower cost alternative, and one that avoided compression, APV was not familiar with it but agreed to consider it at what was a late stage (trials with a leading competitor were already planned).
An initial presentation took place just two days before signing a contract on the rival system and showed APV what the Allot NetEnforcer could achieve as well as highlighting IP Performance's experience with similar projects. IP Performance offered evaluation equipment to facilitate comparison between the NetEnforcer and an alternative vendor. A trial deployment of 15 world-wide sites was agreed with IP Performance and Allot, against only four sites agreed by the alternative vendor.
The NetEnforcer trial was a resounding success, proving the NetEnforcer solution's suitability. It showed that the compression offered by other systems was of no significant benefit in meeting APV's objectives. Achieving a wider deployment was a major advantage because it meant that APV was able to enjoy much better visibility of the solution's capabilities. Allot devices also proved to be more cost effective in terms of both capital and operational expenditure.
The solution deployed was based on the Allot Communications NetEnforcer NE402. It gave Invensys bandwidth management with various levels of traffic shaping - typically 2Mbps, but scaling up through 10Mbps, 45Mbps and 100Mbps using the same base units. The solution was rolled out complete with the Allot Communications NetXplorer Centralised Management and Policy Server.
IP Performance offered exceptionally strong support and took time to accommodate the Invensys requirements for the trial and continued implementation. Costs were dramatically lower than rival solutions and APV now has full visibility of the traffic running on their WAN circuits including full control over priorities and bandwidth allocation for different applications, IP addresses and protocols. A straightforward interface gives access to graphical reports which reduces the level of technical expertise required and APV has access to 24x7 technical support.
APV have been able to identify applications that should not have been running across the WAN and take the necessary corrective action. They can now manage overused circuits, track usage, block or limit web streaming and have the granular applications control that the project required. As new network applications are deployed they have full control over how these will be prioritised and can baseline bandwidth usage. They can also quickly identify PC's & servers that are behaving erractically or unusually due to mis-configuration or virus outbreaks and limit the impact it could have on the environment.
All APV IT staff worldwide can now log into NetExplorer with different levels of access and control their own NetEnforcer devices without affecting others on the network. The devices were also so simple to use that APV was able to self-install all over the world without external suppliers, dramatically cutting costs.
"By proving there was minimal benefit in compression, the Allot solution has delivered lower costs and extremely simple bandwidth management" - Peter Romiszewski - Director of Global Infrastructure and Support