Use Case: Manufacturing

Manufacturer of lighting equipment and components

Use Case 1

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 Software-Defined Networking (SDN) Solutions - WAN Connection Optimization for Offices and Data Centers Solution

In this case study, we will show 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.

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

Manager Quote
Manager of the
information systems


"From about 20014, the number of branches and offices nationwide started to increase rapidly as national efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and save energy intensified, leading us to expand our LED parts manufacturing operations. But this expansion caused out WAN to grow more complex, which in turn resulted in a rise in costs and management processes."

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.

Manager Quote

"During the pea periods when data flow skyrockets and traffic reaches peak, delays were occuring that were causing us serious problems. For example, business processing speed declined, whiel communications that require real-time responses, such as audio conversations and teleconferencing, became impossible."

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 dynamaic flow control?

Manager Quote

"Previously we had been using a 1 Gbps link as our main link, and a 500 Mbps link as our backup link. We first considered increasing the speed of the main link but this proved impossible for reasons of budget. By using NEC SDN solutions, we were able to secure 1.5 Gbps by combing the main and backup links. We no longer needed to beef up our main link, and were thereby able to save considerable money."

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.

Manager Quote

"Previously we processed a massive amount of low-priority data from our offices in batches during night hours. Nevertheless this processing sometimes took hours, even until the following morning. With the introduction of the WAN Connection Optimization for Offices and Data Centers solution, bandwidth is allocated according to office and area, allowing each office to efficiently transfer data when network traffic is not heavy, whether that be at night, or even in the afternoon. We gained the ability to operate our networks much more smoothly.

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.

Highly Productive WAN
Achieving 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.

Manager Quote
*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.

Manager Quote


"As our business expanded, departments and projects were frequently integrated and then disbanded. This meant that we were constantly reviewing and modifying our ICT systems, which took a lot of work, time and money. Too often, our systems were not able to keep pace with changes in business. By introducing the WAN Connection Optimization for Offices and Data Centers Solution, however, we are confident that we can resolve the chronic inefficiencies that have plagued our networks."

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