YRC Freight, based in Kansas, is a leading transporter of industrial, commercial, and retail goods, specializing in solutions for businesses across North America. In fact, so large is their network and operations that anything we buy at any store is possibly shipped by YRC.
In 2013, their IT department began a new initiative to modernize their entire infrastructure and application development and delivery process. Instead of scaling vertically with 2 or 3 large production servers, YRC wanted to move to a distributed, horizontal scale-out model with 100s of servers. They wanted to expand or contract capacity using policies and orchestrate and dictate the actual work to be done. From a network infrastructure perspective, YRC wanted to move away from a traditional siloed model towards SDN. With the emergence of IOT and high speed mobile networks, they were able to collect more data from their drivers and truck mounted devices. This means, there will be a substantial set of new applications and new services that they did not have before. YRC felt that the implementation piece should be a lot easier and a lot less expensive from both a CAPEX and OPEX perspective once they have this automated, orchestrated infrastructure in place. YRC freight challenges can be summarized in simple terms as below.
Challenges & Opportunities
- Move from a legacy mainframe architecture to a modern enterprise infrastructure using software defined networking (SDN)
- Streamline infrastructure provisioning and implement more efficient management practices
- Solution had to scale horizontally across smaller servers, be simple to manage, and be able to utilize any hypervisor
So, their IT department decided to implement software-defined networking (SDN) to manage the workloads and cloud-aware applications. Moving to this modern architecture would allow YRC Freight to scale horizontally across hundreds of very small servers for maximum flexibility and agility.
YRC Freight turned to its long trusted partners Citrix and Cisco for help. YRC Freight was already successfully using Citrix XenApp to deliver applications to over 400 terminal locations nationwide.
“Citrix enables a lot of our key business operations. It gives us the ability to implement new business initiatives more quickly than we’ve ever done so in the past. This should allow us to compete with other logistics and transportation companies who haven’t yet adopted these new models of delivering new services to their customers.” Austin Lang, Infrastructure architect, YRC Freight
Watch Austin Lang extoll the benefits of ACI and NetScaler joint solution:
They were also running a number of their WAN and data center networks using Cisco solutions. YRC Freight chose Cisco ACI for data center networking and its integrated Citrix NetScaler Application Delivery Controller (ADC) Layer 4-7 (L4-7) services.
Why Citrix and Cisco
- Great existing relationship with both Citrix and Cisco
- Citrix and Cisco have a very close working relationship especially when it came to integration and problem solving trusted advisors who provided extensive design, engineering, and implementation support
“We saw alignment in what Citrix and Cisco were doing,” said Austin Lang, infrastructure architect with YRC Freight, “we wanted to have options, like the ability to use any hypervisor. [Citrix and Cisco] were coming to market with a product that was already integrated and fairly turnkey. We had a strong commitment from both companies to achieve our vision.”
YRC Freight is currently in the early stages of implementation, but they anticipate Cisco ACI with Citrix NetScaler will support all of their business applications, and significantly decrease capital and operating costs. SDN gives them the ability to deliver applications faster and they have already implemented Agile methodology within their development teams. With NetScaler integration, YRC Freight anticipates that they can deliver consistent configurations across multiple environments, resulting in a much more secure network. Finally, network automation and orchestration capabilities deliver faster provisioning and streamlined management of the new infrastructure helping YRC Freight say yes to better agility through data center automation.
All these infrastructure modernization efforts translated into competitive advantages for YRC Freight in terms of delivering new services to their customers.
- Able to implement Agile IT methods to take full advantage of new infrastructure features
- Anticipate being able to streamline management of the new infrastructure
- Faster provisioning and infrastructure control with policy-based automation
- Plan to implement faster go-to-market strategies for new applications to use Internet of Things (IoT) to get ahead of competition
- Predict huge savings both in CapEx and OpEx
Moving to a Cisco ACI-Citrix NetScaler SDN architecture has brought unprecedented simplicity to infrastructure manageability to YRC Freight. YRC can now manage a vast and diverse network from a single, centralized plane and programmatically control the network. YRC’s Application development folks can easily tie in now to their infrastructure and, be able to deliver new solutions fast. From a business perspective YRC is experiencing an accelerated time to market in reaching their customers with their new products and services.
DevNet Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkMrK2sJHAQ
YRC Freight’s Austin Lang on Video – https://youtu.be/04fHgExym1Q
Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler Solution Page – www.cisco.com/go/acicitrix