Packet Pushers Podcast Shows the Difference a SD-WAN Can Make

While there have been numerous sources and experts that have touted the benefits enterprises can reap from SD-WAN technology, it is sometimes better to get these details straight from the horse’s mouth. This is exactly what listeners of a new Packet Pushers podcast will get.

Recently, four of Talari’s SD-WAN customers including Doug Hogue, senior telecom network security analyst at Unifirst Corp, and Robert Pickering, vice president of information services at AAA Allied Group, met with Packet Pushers hosts Ethan Banks and Greg Ferro to discuss their experiences with Talari’s THINKING Software Defined WAN.

Unifirst Corp addresses bandwidth, scalability needs

Hogue told Banks and Ferro that before installing Talari’s SD-WAN solution, his company experienced considerable issues with bandwidth. Its MPLS network relied on T1 access to enable connectivity. However, as the network often saw sustained 90 percent usage, performance issues crept up, particularly with communication systems. Unifirst, which runs up to 800 video conferences in addition to its regular VoIP calls, did as much as it could to fine tune and improve the network, but users still experienced problems.

“Best of all, the Talari solution offers a level of visibility and insight that users didn’t have previously.”

“The network was just too small so we were looking for ways to increase our bandwidth,” Hogue explained in the podcast. “The bandwidth just wasn’t there and we did not want to double or trip our cost by just putting in more MPLS [links].”

The company also had scalability concerns – with 200 locations, it had to ensure that the solution could support all the users in the network. Hogue and Unifirst turned to Talari in order to meet these needs, and were pleasantly surprised by the solution’s ease of use. Hogue noted that not only was deployment to each individual site simple, but Talari’s appliance enabled him and the team to streamline updates.

Best of all, the Talari solution offers a level of visibility and insight that Hogue and Unifirst didn’t have previously. Hogue pointed out that his IT team can log into an individual node if an application issue emerges to see what might be causing the issue – information on latency, jitter and other key issues is all available in real time.

“I can use that node as a troubleshooting device for my WAN issues,” Hogue said.

AAA Allied Group boost bandwidth while reducing costs

Pickering noted that AAA is a newer customer of Talari, and his company’s deployment was therefore a learning experience for him and the team.

“You kind of have to wade in slowly and understand what impact it’s having,” Pickering said. “It’s not so much the Talari itself, it’s just changing the way the network architecture is working so that it can be software defined and you try to build that trust.”

His company, which included 70 locations in seven states, utilized a network similar to Hogues, which included mostly T1 MPLS circuits.

“We too were looking for a solution that would let us scale the wide area network, utilize cheaper bandwidth – whether it be cable modems, DSL lines, anything that we could get – and yet maintain those costs for individual offices,” Pickering said.

Talari enabled access to these more cost-efficient sources of bandwidth while also providing an easy-to-use interface – the solution walks the user through its actions, offers all the details of the change being made and asks for approval. Pickering’s engineering team particularly enjoyed the ability to schedule updates and changes at times that wouldn’t disrupt business processes.

Enhanced visibility into the WAN 

One point that came up again and again during the podcast was visibility – Talari’s SD-WAN solution offers insights into the latency, jitter, packet loss and availability of every path across the network.

“In 2015, we often forget that just being able to route packets from one interface to another interface is no longer the baseline and what we should be able to do is get true visibility,” said Packet Pushers co-host Greg Ferro. “And that’s one of the promises of SD-WAN and what Talari is doing. You’re actually physically able to count every packet now.”

The podcast also featured Cory Miller, vice president of engineering services at Bremer Bank, and Michael Benjamin, 911 technical manager for the city of Phoenix. More information on Bremer Bank’s experience with Talari can be found here, and additional details about the use of SD-WAN within The Maricopa Region 911 system can be found here. Be sure to tune in to the podcast to get the whole scoop on everyone’s experiences with SD-WAN!

Categories: Application Performance/Application Quality, Internet as WAN (MPLS Alternatives), IT Challenges, Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN)


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