One of the ways that Driscoll’s delivers fresh, delicious berries is to have highly trained employees inspect each batch of berries after harvest. Once the berries pass inspection, they are immediately cooled at the distribution facility, where they are not touched again to prevent bruising. Within hours, they are on their way to their final destination.
“Fresh berries spoil extremely fast,” says Andrew Longsworth, Lead Network Engineer at Driscoll’s. “Every time that a WAN circuit went down, we lost money due to diminished connectivity between the branches, which impacted our communication and visibility. Our number one priority was to have multiple links at remote sites, so they are always on and always ready,” says Longsworth.
Connectivity for the distribution centers where berries are cooled, inspected and shipped out is business-critical. “Throughout that process, we have to maintain inventory control, warehouse management, QA data and shipping and receiving information,” he says. “If any of those pieces go down, it delays the process overall.”
Driscoll’s has been using a Talari Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) for nearly four years to deliver ultra-reliable WAN connectivity to dozens of locations across North America, South America and Europe. A Talari SD-WAN brings real-time, packet-level intelligence to Driscoll’s global network, which connects its farms, nurseries, distribution centers, corporate offices, and data center.
Now, if a WAN link goes down, the day’s harvest isn’t ruined. “Our biggest benefit from Talari is a more reliable network and the ability to deliver 100% uptime,” says Longsworth.
Driscoll’s sites have dual connections to the Internet, and traffic is routed—packet-by- packet—over the fastest path. Time-sensitive applications like VoIP and VDI get the highest priority and are transmitted over the network links with the lowest packet loss and latency. Applications get the full use of the aggregated bandwidth at all times, maximizing capacity and eliminating the need to overprovision.
The SD-WAN has visibly improved the quality of a broad variety of applications, from agriculture-specific enterprise software to everyday business applications and VoIP.
For instance, workers who tag and inspect the berries use a QA application that is delivered via virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
Using Talari has improved the quality and reliability of service for its ShoreTel phone system. “Talari’s site-to-site dynamic conduit is key for our voice system,” says Longsworth. “We really like being able to use VoIP and not incur long distance charges, especially with our operations in Mexico and Europe. It’s a benefit from a cost perspective.”
With Talari, the global WAN has rock-solid reliability, even in remote agricultural regions. That’s why Talari appliances have become part of the operational playbook as the company adds new locations. The biggest network challenge remains at farms and distribution centers so remote that there is only one Internet provider in the area. “The sites without Talari are a bigger headache,” he says.