I spent the previous week visiting the most important people in my life (OK…. Besides family, friends and tax accountants) - customers. More specifically I visited a Service Provider (SP) and several regional service providers (RSP). For the sake of brevity of this blog I’ll use SP and RSP designations when talking about them. Let’s start off with the RSP’s.
The RSP’s I visited were in the South Central US. Both were located in small rural towns and offer Internet connectivity services to both business and consumers alike. Both RSP’s have POPs over a coverage area in the excess of several thousand square miles. For these RSP’s, a POP can be located in an air-conditioned building (size-wise think oversized outhouse) out on a dirt road. Both compete against a wider range of competition on service quality and price. And their customers have service level expectations that are no different than Fortune 1000 businesses do of their vendors.
What makes these RSP’s story interesting is they both tossed out legacy network design out the window in designing their services WITHOUT compromising service performance or reliability. Why? They had to out of necessity. The very nature of their market (rural) means lower density of both consumers and businesses requires ingenuity in delivering services in a cost-effective manner. Also, it’s a bit tougher to find, train and keep IT staffs in rural areas.
Both pointed to the Brocade MLXe and CER as offering superior OpEx but also helping reduce power and cooling costs (you can only drive so much power to an extremely remote shack) while providing reliable routing and capacity.
I also visited a SP whose primary business is to offer VOIP and SMS services for businesses throughout the US, Latin America and Asia. They are partnered with some of the largest vendors in the computer industry (e.g. Dell, IBM, Terramark) to deliver their services. They offer different levels of services to their customers and use Nagios to do monitoring and assist with management of their infrastructure
They are about to launch a new service via their website to enable customers to on-the-fly order services from them and have them enabled in minutes. They have design their infrastructure to be a fungible cloud with high-availability and performance that readily adapts to customer needs.
How are they able to do this?
This SSP has standardized on the following Brocade products to enable their cloud services:
Brocade MLXe and CER for core routing for improved reliability, performance and reduced OpEx
VDX and ICX for Layer 2 switching with Ethernet Fabric heavily relied upon to speed up deployment
vRouter and ADX to enable fast setup of routing and application control on customer premises
The SP started migrating to Brocade in early 2014 and is now closed to 90% complete in their overhaul. The migration to Brocade IP is enabling them to be more agile and gain competitive advantage.
Both the SP and the RSP’s specifically noted that Brocade field personnel (sales and systems engineering) have literally become part of their staff and learned their business and personnel inside and out. Continual consultation and along with understanding their business goals and needs have enable Brocade sales and systems engineering to help the SP and RSPs to drive their business operations. All 3 mentioned that they see Brocade as a partner and not just as a vendor.
I’ll be writing more about these customers soon.
Are you a RSP or SP using Brocade to make your business successful? Want to tell your customers about it? Bend my ear at firstname.lastname@example.org.