Since ASG implemented its Nextgen VPLS solution, there have been a range of cost reduction and efficiency benefits that are contributing to better bottom line performance for the business according to Mr Martin Coleman, Internal IT Manager for ASG. “We have obtained higher bandwidth at each office for a lower overall annual cost for data transfer than we were paying previously,” Mr Coleman said. “I would estimate that it represents a cost reduction of about 20 per cent and then there are additional savings in reduced phone bills because we no longer have to use public networks for internal voice communications.” “Being able to bring our customers into the core network is also a major benefit for us. We no longer have to bring them in on an Internet VPN, or create a whole new frame relay connection or DSL connection to get them in. Now we can just bring them into the cloud.”
“Nextgen’s VPLS solution allows us to easily and securely connect
our customers to the core network. We benefit greatly from easy scalability
of bandwidth requirements and rapid deployment of changes, upgrades or new
technologies as well as improved disaster recovery capability, continuity of service
and mitigation of risks against technology failure.”
Martin Coleman, Internal IT Manager, ASG
ASG is a national IT managed services provider with offices in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. ASG is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and has over 150 medium to large, public and private enterprise customers, who are serviced by in excess of 600 staff nationally.
It champions flexibility, agility and decisiveness through ICT innovation that makes a difference in its clients’ IT and business environment. Services provided by ASG include IT outsourcing, solutions consulting, IT infrastructure management, application development, systems integration and the provision of specialist technical services and support.
“We are based in Perth but our offices on the east coast have grown substantially in recent years,” Mr Coleman said. “Quite simply, we needed more bandwidth. At the core of achieving identified objectives for improved communications and security was the need to provide increased bandwidth now and into the future.
We also wanted much more flexibility and the ability to have control over our own bandwidth utilisation. On the legacy MPLS service, changes were slow to implement and additional charges were incurred for VLAN changes. Our costs were increasing and relying on the carrier to effect changes was slowing down our ability to remain nimble in the market place.”
The cost of additional bandwidth and flexibility of service levels was a major consideration when ASG tendered for a new solution. Remaining competitive on price and service levels was vital to ASG’s ability to continue profitable growth.
ASG’s core business model is based around providing national customers with longer-term service agreements to manage infrastructure and more recently to manage applications around the Oracle portfolio of products.
“We needed a way to be able to expand our network reach for these clients but to do so in a secure, cost-effective and flexible manner,” Mr Coleman said. “Part of our growth objectives involved expanding the number of customers we service but also to expand the range of services that we supply including fully managed network services.”
Having assessed a broad range of options, ASG selected Nextgen as the carrier of choice to help it achieve its technical and business objectives. It now utilises the Nextgen national fibre network as well as its feature-rich VPLS product which offers Layer 2 VPN capability.
“We are a technical company and the capabilities of the VPLS product were a clear standout over the competition,” Mr Coleman said. “The price of utilising Nextgen’s national network was enough to get them over the line so the additional rich- networking features and flexible self management capabilities that came with the solution are a real bonus.”
“All of our four main offices around the country and our data centre in Perth are now on fibre tails linking directly to
Nextgen’s fibre network. We now push our data straight out into the Nextgen VPLS network through new routers that handle the higher data transfer speeds and allow us to apply the latest Quality of Service, traffic profiling technology.”
“Now when we bring on new customer sites, we are simply extending the Nextgen VPLS cloud. We are putting a fibre tail to the site, implementing our firewall on the customer site and then keying into the network for management purposes. This works out to be far more secure and cost-effective for the customer.”
The breadth and quality of the Nextgen national VPLS network has been a revelation to ASG
according to Mr Coleman. All of its offices and customers have been connected directly to fibre
links with ease. It allows for Perth to be a gateway to the nation and the world rather than just being at the tail end of the network.
Additional bandwidth has allowed ASG to have guaranteed and partitioned Quality of Service across
Australia for specific applications, which was critical in configuring the VPLS solution to manage dedicated voice channels between each office.
ASG has new capability to self-manage Quality of Service and other configuration changes which is a significant part of its customer support operations.
“We undertake a reasonable amount of work bringing new customers on or changing access authentications and such things,” Mr Coleman said. “Inherent flexibility of the network means that we don’t have to go to the provider to worry about QoS or additional V-LANs.”
“That has made our life much easier and reduced our management overheads significantly. With Nextgen VPLS, we have been able to prioritise voice traffic over our core network and we are now starting to bring some of our clients’ sites into the network as well.”
“We see tremendous benefits from the VPLS solution going forward as it allows us to complete that whole process very easily, quickly and securely.”
ASG’s ability to offer full redundancy of its own network and for customers is another area where Mr Coleman sees the organisation is better able to support its customer base through risk mitigation.
“Should there ever be an issue with a particular ASG office, we can still provide support to individual customers through another office because they are no longer reliant upon a single point-to-point link,” Mr Coleman said. “For example, if we lost our Sydney office because of a power failure, we can still access customer sites they manage from any other point in the network.”
“With the previous solution we used, essentially we would have been out of action under such circumstances and under some contractual agreements there would be potentially damaging penalties incurred.”
“This particular customer is a government department which is now setting up a second data centre, both of which will be connected to ASG via the Nextgen VPLS cloud. There will be full redundancy access should either of the network links go out.”
Martin Coleman, Internal IT Manager, ASG
Having the ability to scale up bandwidth as required is supporting an ASG stated business objective of sustained, profitable growth in customer base and service offerings.
“Because we are on a fibre connection, we can crank up the bandwidth quickly and easily which was not possible on DSL, frame relay or other technologies,” Mr Coleman said. “Our enhanced ability to connect new customer sites means we can provide redundant connections as well and we have already extended our service to one large customer in this area.”
Martin Coleman is the Internal IT Manager at ASG. He can be contacted via: Martin.Coleman@asggroup.com.au