September 26, 2019
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Replacing MPLS with SD-WAN to support a cloud strategy

ModusLink initially went to market looking for a reliable and cost-effective WAN connectivity service between its central data center location in Somerville, Massachusetts, its many clients, and its 26 regional offices and sites around the world.  

Their initial requirement was for a Public Internet-based VPN solution, to replace their legacy MPLS VPN network. 

The challenge

As a large global third-party supply chain and logistics provider, a flexible, agile network was essential to meet increasingly complex customer requirements related to the evolving needs of global digital and physical supply chains.  

MPLS was not helping ModusLink achieve the network flexibility they needed or achieve a speedy move to the cloud. These limitations were made worse by the high overall costs of MPLS. 

Their goals

  • Reduce overall costs by implementing a cost-effective alternative to MPLS. 
  • Maintain existing levels of functionality. 
  • Adopt cloud services such as Office 365 and other cloud-based solutions, and the reliable, performance-enhancing bandwidth to achieve this. 
  • Move fast with an aggressive timeline for the project completion. 

The solution

Expereo and AMD Communications responded with a proposal that showed the cost savings and performance potential of SD-WAN, replacing MPLS with Internet connectivity. 

Combining AMD’s project management experience with Expereo’s Cisco SD-WAN and Internet Connectivity expertise gave ModusLink the confidence to move to SD-WAN for its 26 sites in 10 countries; the USA, Mexico, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, Czech Republic. 

Cisco was the preferred equipment vendor as they are the only SD-WAN provider with the global footprint and reliable supply chain in all the locations ModusLink needed to connect. 

Expereo also had the design and engineering capability to build a custom solution on SD-WAN for site-to-site connectivity from the ModusLink Disaster Recovery site to their main site utilizing an existing fiber link. 

Learnings

Zero Touch Deployment is not as effective as you think 

You need to get the right hardware to the right place first. After that, the team effectively employed a minimal touch deployment strategy, utilizing Expereo’s services for SD-WAN hardware delivery and installation, working with ModusLink on-site engineers wherever possible. Where this wasn’t possible, Expereo used engineers from in-country partners. 

Global needs to be truly global

For global SD-WAN deployments, you need a provider who has a proven, effective supply chain to get equipment and smart hands to the right place at the right time. 

You need an innovation mindset

Even today, most thinking around the WAN is quite conservative. There’s fear around moving away from MPLS and truly embracing the cloud. What we’ve shown is that there is life after MPLS and with the right partners and an innovation mindset you can power a high performing, cloud-first network, with the Internet.

Not all Internet is created equal

Broadband looks cheap, but the real costs of maintaining reliable network connectivity are not found on ISP price pages. Internet connectivity should be selected based on specific customer requirements, plus the strongest possible knowledge of factors including: 

  • Local supplier quality 
  • Last mile access methods 
  • Redundancy options 
  • Routing/peering options 
  • Overall limitations of connectivity in certain geographies 

"Our primary goal, to reduce costs, we have clearly achieved

Our secondary goal, not to lose any existing functionality, was exceeded, because we’ve increased our functionality, flexibility and agility within the network and with cloud and SaaS adoption”

Ted Holland
Director, Global IT Infrastructure & Operations at ModusLink

Customer Profile

ModusLink provides digital and physical supply chain solutions to many of the world’s leading brands, including Cisco, Fitbit, GoPro, and HP, across a diverse range of industries, including consumer electronics, telecommunications, computing and storage, software and content, consumer packaged goods, medical devices, retail and luxury, and connected devices. 

From their securely operated facilities in London, they provide bespoke solutions to clients across EMEA and APAC. Customers are offered a 100% uptime SLA on power and connectivity as standard and access to their premium network bandwidth services. With a five-minute response time SLA in place, their experienced responsive operations, network and technical support teams are onsite 24/7. 

Working with AMD Communications

AMD Communications is a telecommunications consulting agency specializing in helping companies acquire and implement enterprise-grade communication services. Our purpose is to provide our customers with niche and traditional telecom and cloud solutions that best suit their needs.

Ready to transition from MPLS? Get managed SD-WAN from Expereo today

With Managed SD-WAN from Expereo, you get the fast, reliable application performance that you need to deliver differentiated IT experiences. Our unrivalled global expertise, experience, and support will make your business transformation to an internet-based, cloud-centric SD-WAN seamless. 

Get in touch today to discuss your needs.

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