The Tech Group

The Tech Group specializes in the design and manufacturing of plastic products for the health care and consumer industries. Growing wide area network (WAN ) data traffic began to slow the response times of enterprise applications. The congested T1-based infrastructure further threatened to impact a planned data center relocation and hamper a server consolidation project. To overcome these issues, decision makers chose to upgrade their network to a high-bandwidth, fiber solution.

DETAILS

Challenge

As business grew, increasing data traffic began to overtax the company's T-1-based network. "We were seeing slow response times from our interactive applications," said Dan Streufert, director of information services for The Tech Group in Phoenix. "Our ERP systems involve a lot of back and forth keystroke transactions. These were negatively impacted by the congestion of our existing T-1-based WAN."

Soon after Streufert noticed the network's shortcomings, his team began to relocate the company's data center. "We needed to turn up substantial bandwidth at the new collocation facility," explained Streufert. "That would both address the application performance issues we were experiencing as well as lay the ground work to complete the server consolidation project we were planning."

These factors led Streufert to seek out a new solution to replace his inadequate T-1-based WAN. And in addition to substantial bandwidth, he needed services that were dependable. "We're a 24/7 shop, so downtime, even at 3 a.m., is very significant to us, so reliability was definitely a key criterion."

To simplify his administrative burden and make it easier to resolve any network issues, Streufert also wanted to contract with a single provider. "So rather than choose multiple vendors, we preferred to just go with one."

Solution

Streufert's team carefully evaluated its technology alternatives and, "We concluded that the solution that would best serve our company was definitely a fiber optic-based solution. We then talked to a number of vendors and found that Qwest was the only one in the Phoenix area that could deliver what we needed to all of our facilities."

As a result, managers selected the Qwest Metro Optical Ethernet (QMOE ®) service. They implemented it at the company's four Phoenix-area manufacturing facilities plus their collocation data center location. This replaced the inadequate T-1-based network with a completely meshed, native Ethernet network utilizing five 100 Mbps circuits. To provide the Ethernet handoff at each location, Qwest technicians provided, configured and installed Cisco 3700 Series Multi-service Access Routers.

Benefits and Results

Delivering Results

The Qwest Metro Optical Ethernet (QMOE ®) solution delivered a number of benefits including ones that made an immediate impact. "The increased bandwidth associated with Qwest Metro Optical Ethernet (QMOE ®) has definitely given our ER P application the fast response time it requires," observed Streufert. "And it's definitely allowed us to use more video conferencing too."

Cost Effective, High-Value Solution

"We're getting 30 times more bandwidth than we had under our T-1-based solution—and to be honest, the pricing is about the same, and that's a tremendous benefit right there," explained Streufert.

With the Qwest Metro Optical Ethernet (QMOE ®) WAN in place, company technicians were able to implement their planned server consolidation project. "That resulted in probably 50 percent fewer servers that we need to deploy and manage in the Phoenix area," said Streufert.

Still another advantage of the Qwest Metro Optical Ethernet (QMOE ®) service was the ability to migrate VoIP traffic from point-to-point T-1s formerly dedicated to voice communications to the new 100 Mbps circuits. "That's saved us over $12,000 annually," stated Streufert.

Productivity-Enhancing Service

At the operational level, the 100 Mbps circuits allowed company IT managers to optimize their data backup processes. "Instead of manually creating and having to store tapes from each site, we now replicate data between sites over the Qwest Metro Optical Ethernet (QMOE ®) connections," recalled Streufert. "The process is now completely automatic and has saved us about 80 percent in costs."

Flexible Solution Responds to Dynamic Business Environment

As the firm's WAN needs grow, the Qwest Metro Optical Ethernet (QMOE ®) service easily scales to 1 Gbps to ensure managers have the bandwidth they need to support new business requirements. "If we run into the ceiling of the port speed that we subscribe to, we can just pick up the phone to upgrade it," explained Streufert.

Additionally, Streufert likes that "Our IT group can respond more quickly to expansion requests from management. With the higher bandwidth that Qwest Metro Optical Ethernet (QMOE ®) gives us, we no longer need servers at every site. We can deploy one centralized server at our collocation facility and that allows us to respond more quickly to new business requirements and application needs."

Company Profile

The Tech Group specializes in the design and manufacturing of plastic products for the health care and consumer industries. Among other things, the firm's injection molding processes create medical device housings and syringes for health care providers. In the consumer space, the company helps craft packaging for personal care products.

To stamp out these products, the firm relies upon more than 400 injection molding machines. These are distributed among manufacturing facilities in Arizona and three other states in addition to Puerto Rico, Mexico and Ireland.

In Arizona alone, the company has four manufacturing facilities totaling over 200,000 square feet. Employees across Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe collaborate to design and produce injectionmolded deliverables.