Large Multi-Site LAN Switch Refresh Handled with Dynamic Vendor Process

Large Multi-Site LAN Switch Refresh Handled with Dynamic Vendor Process

Large Multi-Site LAN Switch Refresh Handled with Dynamic Vendor Process

When WPG Consulting’s client, a specialty education organization with domestic exposure, faced vendor support expiration looming, they knew they needed solutions. With several network interfaces located throughout a multi-story company headquarters and numerous LAN switches approaching the end of their vendor support, the elevated risk to the client was a concern. During our discovery phase, we recommended introducing an architectural guiding framework, which would provide a standard that all the other switches could be built to. However, several issues arose that needed to be handled during the process. Keep reading to discover how we handled the situation despite having to make changes mid-stream in the process.

Large Multi-Site LAN Switch Refresh Handled with Dynamic Vendor Process

The Plan

While we were starting the discovery phase, we recommended the architectural guiding framework to create an operational management and life-cycle standard, which we felt would ensure that factors such as software image versions, VLAN numbers, IP addressing, key uplink cabling, naming/description conventions, global settings including SNMP, ACLs, usernames and similar aspects remained consistent across the entire enterprise while creating a significant reduction in IT Operational overhead expenses.

During this process, the client indicated that they wanted to replace all of the switch stacks located at the headquarters, using a current, capable platform that was based on their business objectives for the next three to five years. With that in mind, we began the planning process, focusing on product selection, migration services consulting, and creating an enterprise network standardization framework that was well-documented and successfully implemented.

Unfortunately, as with many good plans, it didn’t survive contact with reality.

During the planning process, the client’s leadership team advised us that the budget needed to be kept within a certain amount for at least the current fiscal year, in order to minimize the impact the refresh would have on the client’s other IT projects without putting a strain on the client’s headquarters IT budget. This was a problem because the fiscal year didn’t close until the vendor support for the current switches expired, requiring a drastic change to the plans.

Changing Solutions

By taking a solid look at the review and future requirements for the remote sites, we were able to find a solution. Because of the partnership we have with this client, we were able to do a deep dive to understand their exact situation to find exceptional solutions. A thorough inventory of the company’s IT assets revealed that the switches at their remote sites, which were more current models that could be supported for one or two more years.

By working with the client, we were able to identify the actual port utilization in each stack at headquarters, as well as being able to identify the individual switches being used in these stacks which were the same models as those available in the remote locations. As it would happen, the remote sites had enough switches located across the various locations to be repurposed back at the headquarters.

Instead of replacing the switches at headquarters, the newer switches from the other locations were brought to headquarters. At the same time, the remote location switches were replaced with new switches, providing them with upgraded capabilities and better networks while standardizing the environment across all locations. This provided a lower switch count and switched to a migration project which allowed the standardization to be implemented and lowered the business’ capital expenses for two additional years.

Despite this rapid change in the plan, the procurement process, project planning, and implementation were still completed on time to great success, while providing the type of unique solutions that only happen with real partnerships and collaboration. Our deep knowledge of the client’s business, as well as our knowledge of the challenges they face, allowed us to not only provide them with better networks at remote locations and higher customer satisfaction but also delivered additional savings of $150K over the original plan.

If you’re ready for solid IT solutions that put your company’s needs at the forefront of the process, WPG Consulting can help. Please feel free to contact us today with any questions, for more information, or to schedule a consultation.

Picture of Hitesh Patel
Hitesh Patel
Hitesh Patel is an engineer turned business owner of WPG Consulting. He is a techie enthusiast who believes in finding creative IT solutions to solve consumer problems.

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