A multi-category consumer goods giant had hit some challenges in reimagining its network. It was looking for a partner to help it deploy a robust core infrastructure that would support its future transformation.

The multinational had just severed its relationship with its incumbent network provider. It was looking for an innovative partner that could support LAN/WAN migration and remote access requirements, along with a move towards a software-defined infrastructure (SDx) and cloud proxy.

Cloud proxy is a proxy server that is sited in the cloud instead of on an appliance in the corporate data center. A proxy server acts as a gateway between the user and the Internet, providing greater security and flexibility.

The company went to tender on its requirements. After much consideration and having worked together previously, they chose to partner with Orange Business Services. The company was impressed with the compelling transformation capabilities Orange offered together with lessons learned from its previous engagement. The extensive geographic footprint Orange could provide was also key in the decision. The company operates in some very challenging locations where Orange can provide localized support where others struggle.

Moving to a future-proof infrastructure

The company was looking to reshape its environment from MPLS towards putting most of its locations on an SD-WAN Internet connectivity model. This was designed to save costs, increase efficiencies and support future transformation plans.

The company also wanted to go down a “software-defined everything-as-a-service” route. Software-defined networking (SDN) is one of the most important building blocks of software-defined everything. For greater efficiencies, the company wanted to refresh its technology on the LAN together with a specific focus towards wireless technology. In addition, the company wanted the LAN cloud proxy service to be merged by Orange.

Connecting global sites

Orange deployed Cisco Meraki to reduce operational complexity, simplifying the operation and management of network connections between the multinational’s sites. The solution prioritizes traffic and directs it across the network, adapting to changing performance conditions, which provides a secure and consistent user experience. It incorporates Zscaler’s proxy cloud platform, which offers safe and compliant access to users regardless of their physical location on the network. Pulse Secure provides remote access capabilities.

Orange first needed to create five global hubs. Each hub has a Cisco Meraki core and hardware for remote access, while core video services are housed in Slough and London. These hubs also provide the company with low latency “ExpressRoute” connectivity to Microsoft Azure to support the increased adoption of “cloud” services. This process also encompassed a seamless migration of the company’s mission-critical European data center to the Orange network.

The company’s sites have connectivity into these hubs to access services depending on their locations. Orange carried out pilots to test LAN and WAN connectivity before starting the site migrations and broader rollout. In parallel, Orange carried out remote access deployments over a month – which is a very short timeframe.

Increasing capacity in a crisis

To increase capacity when the pandemic hit, Orange spun up virtual machines in the Microsoft Azure cloud. This was designed, built, configured and tested in a new virtual SSL gateway in days. A similar hardware upgrade would have taken months. Employees access the network remotely using Microsoft Teams as well as SAP business applications. They also can use bespoke back-office systems for processing supplier payments and logistics planning.

Orange can support up to 35,000 remote users with the original Pulse Secure appliance-based model and the new virtual Azure capability.

The company wanted to integrate its existing Cisco Telepresence investment with its Skype for Business environment. Shortly after, however, the company decided to move to Microsoft Teams. Orange came up with a seamless Pexip solution that would integrate Cisco video with Microsoft Teams.

A platform for the future

Orange has shown off its flexibility in the migration working closely with the company’s team to transition its entire WAN and LAN environment.

The platform has given the company a solid infrastructure to adopt a multicloud architecture, which is at the top of its IT roadmap. The multinational now has the foundation in place to plug new locations into its network, especially as 5G develops, which will provide different access methodologies. The move will help the company in its future transformation processes to improve efficiencies, create a zero-incident infrastructure and provide cutting-edge services to enhance the user experience.

The entire company project was about optimizing the network the multinational had for the future. Orange has achieved this, providing a clear path for future transformation.