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January 10, 2012updated 22 Aug 2016 11:04am

British firm preps for VDI, VoIP with WAN appliances

Whiting & Partners looks to virtualisation appliances to accelerate voice and data networks

By Jason Stamper

British accounting firm Whiting & Partners is rolling out wide area network virtualisation appliances from Talari Networks of California, in an attempt to ensure high availability networks for voice and data applications.

The company is planning to adopt virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) which are both known to put a certain strain on corporate networks if not carefully managed. But the firm of general practice chartered accountants is said to have increased bandwidth by a factor of five, cut the cost per Mbps in half, and made the network more reliable for their real-time and interactive applications by deploying the Talari Networks appliances.

Talari says its WAN virtualisation appliances aggregate two or more network connections (e.g., DSL, cable, fiber and Ethernet over copper) into a single logical network, continuously monitoring the performance of every network path between six remote sites and the firm’s head office in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.

Measurements of loss, latency and jitter are used to detect and respond, sub-second, to congestion, for real-time traffic engineering decisions on a packet-by-packet basis.

Since 2005, Whiting & Partners has relied on a Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network with a single DSL-based tail circuit connecting each site. But the MPLS network, with no tail circuit SLA, was consistently unreliable, with sites sometimes going down for a week at a time.

With Talari, the MPLS network is still in place, and a separate DSL connection has been added at each site. "This gives us complete carrier diversity and, with Talari, the resiliency that we were looking for," said Chris Haydon, IT manager with Whiting & Partners.
Most incoming traffic is routed over the MPLS network because of the available bandwidth. However, outgoing traffic is typically directed by Talari over the DSL circuits. Now when the MPLS connection goes down, all traffic is instantly diverted over the DSL circuits, thus ensuring no detectable interruption of business-critical applications.

In anticipation of VDI and, eventually VoIP, Haydon has begun converting the MPLS circuits over to a new service from TalkTalk that will provide 10 Mbps Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) to all of Whiting & Partners’ office sites. Talari’s Mercury T730 and T200 appliances will provide resiliency in combination with these new circuits, according to the firm.

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Once VDI and VoIP are deployed, Whiting & Partners will have the flexibility to open a new office much more easily with less cost, Haydon said. "Today we’d need a file server and fat client PCs," he said. "In the future, all we’ll need is a dumb terminal on the desktop, an IP phone, a Talari T200, and some connectivity."

Do you have experience of WAN virtualisation or VDI roll-outs? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.

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