Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN Enables Rapid Digital Transformation for HMSHost
Today’s guest blog post comes from Daniel Mirkovic, Network Architect at HMSHost.
Digital Transformation has been a topic at the forefront of IT organizations in a wide range of industries. For HMSHost, a global food and beverage provider, the ability to provide services such as digital menu boards, pay-at-table tablets, self-service kiosks and mobile ordering to restaurants at over 200 airports and travel plazas has been a critical driver in developing and modernizing our network infrastructure.
In order for these services to function with the reliability and availability expected by the traveling consumer, HMSHost needed to facilitate dramatic upgrades to its existing WAN. New cloud-based initiatives required several times the amount of bandwidth versus existing legacy systems to ensure uptime and proper functionality. The remote nature of many HMSHost locations meant that, often times, the only available terrestrial WAN circuits were T1 lines, while wireless WAN solutions such as LTE couldn’t be relied upon to be healthy enough to maintain connectivity across a traditional VPN.
Due to these constraints, we decided to deploy a private MPLS network dedicated for high-priority traffic such as point of sale and VoIP systems, and have less critical traffic use a separate Internet circuit. However, as new digital transformation initiatives continued to presented themselves, the load on the Internet circuits kept on rising. This was particularly apparent with third-party integration efforts, where much of the traffic was destined for public cloud providers such as AWS and would be offloaded directly to the sites’ local internet circuits. Meanwhile, the load on the MPLS network remained relatively static, frequently utilizing only a small fraction of totally available bandwidth under normal conditions.
For the last five years, as part of alleviating the particular WAN challenges that HMSHost faced, we have partnered with Citrix to bring their WAN Optimization platform to our remote locations. The solution proved to be an integral part of the HMSHost network, providing over 80% reduction in PoS traffic and 60% reduction in file share traffic. This existing Citrix relationship made us a prime candidate for transitioning our existing Citrix environment to SD-WAN, bundling in the existing WAN Optimization functionality with a new solution that would allow us to utilize as much of our limited bandwidth as possible. It also would bring an unprecedented level of control and visibility into the individual traffic flows traversing the network.
During the SD-WAN pilot process, the benefits of the technology were so readily apparent that HMSHost pushed to deploy to all of its US locations in just two months. Because of the product support for a wide variety of underlay networks, we were able to seamlessly integrate it into our existing routing protocol environment. In fact, despite the aggressive timeline for deployment, sites experienced almost zero downtime or operational impact from installation.
Read the entire article here, NetScaler SD-WAN Enables Rapid Digital Transformation for HMSHost
Via the fine folks at Citrix Systems, Inc.