New MPLS WAN with managed services enables deployment of latest ERP technology
London - SAS Global Communications, an international provider of managed and professional network services, has designed and installed a new wide area network (WAN) for Alliance Plastics, a US-based manufacturer and distributor of plastic components. The new WAN infrastructure will provide the bandwidth and resilience necessary for the company to upgrade its ERP technology, BPCS. SAS will also provide managed services for Alliance’s WAN, back-up circuits, firewalls, VPNs and all associated devices.
Headquartered in Erie, Pennsylvania, with sites across North and South America, Alliance Plastics employs more than 200 staff in the manufacture and supply of over its impress product portfolio which features over 6000 products.
To ensure continued performance and productivity levels in its manufacturing operations, the company planned to upgrade its ERP system, the AS400-based technology, BPCS; fronting the new BPCS software with IBM Domino servers.
In addition, Alliance planned to upgrade its Microsoft infrastructure and provide centralised access to applications. It also wanted to consolidate its Internet connectivity and provide security from a single break-out point.
Gary Taylor, CIO for Alliance Plastics, recognised that the company’s existing WAN infrastructure could not accommodate such a significant shift in operations:
“All we had was a 64k frame-relay network for BPCS connectivity and nothing for centralised Internet or applications access,” said Taylor. “So if we wanted to do any of these projects we had to upgrade our WAN infrastructure as well.”
Following an introduction from Alliance’s sister company in the UK, Moss Plastics, Taylor appointed SAS to design, implement and manage its new WAN infrastructure.
“Initially I was sceptical about using a UK company to manage a WAN project in the US,” said Taylor. “But once I’d met the guys from SAS, I could see the depth of their knowledge and technical expertise in this area.”
SAS designed and installed an MPLS network based on BT’s IP Clear. It also installed and configured Cisco routers to terminate the network and these are now managed by SAS from its UK-based NOC, in West Sussex.
For Alliance’s Internet connectivity, SAS worked mainly with AT&T; all Internet access is provided centrally via core connectivity at the company’s headquarters, and public Internet VPNS provide a back-up WAN in the event of MPLS failure. A separate set of Cisco VPN security devices was installed to provide hardware resilience at each site, along with dual Internet circuits for extra resilience at Alliance’s headquarters.
SAS now provides 24/7 managed services for Alliance’s WAN and back-up circuits, as well as its firewalls, VPNS and all associated devices. The managed services include proactive monitoring and trending for performance and availability as well as incident management and service desk.
“Alliance now has a WAN infrastructure that supports, not only, its current needs for application development and Internet access but will also enable it to adopt next generation technologies such as IP telephony and unified communications,” said Charles Davis, CEO for SAS Global Communications.