Co-Authored by Alexandra Zagury
Vice President, Partner Managed Services and aaS Sales,
Global Partner Organization
The network is sometimes blamed as the cause when bad things happen while working. Computer too slow? It must be the network. Internet too slow? It must be the network. While this may be said in fun, it’s true that we’ve become extremely dependent on a continuous and reliable network—whether connected over hard wires or Wi-Fi. In a very real way, the network is like the power we rely on from electrical outlets—it’s needed to keep our work and lives going. A down network is like suffering a power outage—it puts a full stop on productivity.
Needing a new network approach: White Arkitekter
With such reliance on a working network, White Arkitekter, an architectural firm based in Gothenburg, Sweden, needed to change how they approached running theirs. White Arkitekter is the biggest firm in Scandinavia with more than 900 employees working from sixteen offices located across four countries.
Previously, each office had to essentially manage its own network. Even though White Arkitekter had centralized IT resources, the management of each office’s Wi-Fi network fell on one or two architects who worked at the office and happened to like computers. The emphasis here is that they were experts in architecture, not in keeping the networks running, much less in keeping them running optimally. This includes knowing where to place access points and making sure upgrades occurred when needed.
Facing network challenges
White Arkitekter‘s network included connecting the offices to the Internet, as well as to the corporate office. Their wide area network connected over an MPLS network that drove all network traffic into a central hub before connecting to the Internet.
Having a reliable, secure and low-latency connection to the Internet had become a real challenge. Like other companies in other industries, White Arkitekter‘s business relies heavily on applications delivered as a service and hosted at cloud providers. More specifically, their day-to-day workflow is dependent on architecture programs that, among other things, manipulate extremely large, multi-gigabyte architecture models. The lightest lag in manipulating a model creates a huge obstruction to the creative process and can impact both quality of work and schedule.
In other words, architects are creative people who want to focus on architecture and not worry about the underlying infrastructure—including the network—which makes everything work well. And yet, the valued architects at White Arkitekter were designing and managing the network that all the architects relied on.
Finding a solution: Network as a Service
This all changed when White Arkitekter asked QLS Quality Solutions (QLS) to install and manage its wide area and local area networks. In addition, QLS offered a monthly subscription business model: no upfront or hidden costs, just folks who specialize in making Cisco networks run optimally, managing White Arkitekter’s networks.
As part of the subscription, QLS installed all new Cisco equipment. This made sense to QLS, given they would be responsible for the reliability and performance of the network. They would want to install and standardize on the best networking equipment available: Cisco Meraki. QLS also moved White Arkitekter from the more expensive MPLS network to market-leading technology: Cisco SD-WAN. This change provided better performance and lowered overall costs.
Part of QLS’ service offering is automatic notifications when something is impacting the network. Essentially, through QLS’ automation leveraging Meraki, they realize and fix potential network issues before White Arkitekter becomes aware that a network issue could happen. For instance, if a Wi-FI access point becomes overwhelmed by too many requested connections, automation load-balances the network and a report is generated automatically.
Previously, the network was operated like a black box for White Arkitekter. It was either working or not working, and they never really knew if it was working optimally. Now, with QLS’ network-as-a-service solution, White Arkitekter can be confident that its network is always operating at peak performance. Plus, monthly subscription pricing allows them to easily budget for the network. Before, they would get random requests from the architects for network upgrades that were either funded or not. Consequently, White Arkitekter’s network was a patchwork of different networking equipment at different points in their lifecycle.
Market-leading Cisco technology
Now, the architects at White Arkitekter only have to worry about creating great designs for their clients. They can now leave the network to what QLS does best: deploying and managing the network leveraging market-leading Cisco technology.
At this point, unless your company’s core competency is in IT, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would not want their network operated as a service.
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