SI Group’s globe-spanning network is populated with dozens of busy remote manufacturing sites and branch offices across five continents, with facilities in 10 countries serving customers in more than 90 countries. While a global presence and regional diversity has distinct advantages, it poses serious WAN challenges, especially in smaller, more remote locations.
Many of SI Group’s locations are 30 miles or more outside a major metropolitan area and served by smaller telcos. Many locations have limited connectivity options available. The result is a mix of WAN connections, including MPLS, cellular, microwave, DSL, cable, and fiber Internet. Before adding Oracle SD-WAN, SI Group’s network reliability, even on its best days, was only partially acceptable.
“We were bouncing between network connections and experiencing a tremendous amount of pain and costly downtime. We would experience week-long MPLS outages,” says Allen Look, CIO at SI Group. “SI Group was desperate to find a way to keep the network up when individual segments of the network were constantly going down.”
Reliable network performance was a company-wide complaint among employees. The network was configured to route all traffic and services through the data center. With much of the traffic coming across on 2-Mbps MPLS circuits, application performance was frequently sluggish. Look describes it as “like pushing an apple through a straw.” From the employees’ perspective, ERP, Skype audio/video, and email would work fine one day and be slow or unresponsive the next.