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Large multi-site switch refresh

IT budget constraints increase risk of lower hardware/software standardization and no vendor support

Our client, a niche education authority, with national presence, were faced with both vendor support expiration date and resource constraints to complete time-sensitive work effort.

Having multiple network closets spread across a large multi-story corporate HQ facility in Philadelphia, PA, and a large number of switches close to having vendor support expire permanently, presented the organization with elevated levels of IT operational risk.

Early on in our pre-sales/discovery phase, we recommended the customer take the time to introduce an architectural guiding framework, which could serve as the de facto standard from which all other switches could be built to. 

In our experience when this lifecycle and operational management standard is developed and implemented successfully, ensures important factors such as, software image version, vlan numbers, ip addressing, key uplinks cabling, naming/description conventions, global settings like SNMP, ACLs, usernames/AAA etc remain consistent across the enterprise, and significantly reduce IT Operational overhead. 

The Initial conversations indicated customer preference towards replacing all of the switch stacks at HQ, with a current and capable platform, based on their business objectives for the next 3-5 year cycle.

So, with an idea on how to approach this project taking shape, an equipment list for procurement, along with building an accurate consulting services contract for the implementation work, WPG’s genuine desire in making sure an enterprise-wide network-layer standardization framework would be implemented successfully…

All good? ……..Well, not quite!

In the midst of this planning, our client’s leadership team advised their IT leadership to keep budget for this project within a certain amount – or at least for the current fiscal year – in order to minimize adverse impact to other IT projects. This curveball meant we collectively returned to the drawing board.

Final Outcome

Instead of just looking at the HQ network, WPG conducted a deeper dive into remote sites and determining user counts that were needed vs simply patched in. WPG’s final proposal called for refreshing the remote sites first as enough switches would be repurposed at HQ (as 2 years on vendor support was left). This way less switches needed procuring at this time, and would deliver standardization at the network layer, in reverse order. This allowed the business lower CapEx for a further 2 years!

WPG worked to expedite procurement, project and resource planning and implementation coordinated with all the different locations.

All of the work was successfully completed on time, and with an additional savings of ~$150,000.00 for our client.

WPG’s focus on truly understanding how our clients do business, and how IT can really help it to even higher height, by going the extra mile, WPG consistently delivers big on customer satisfaction.


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