A thirst for the cloud

Competition is driving enterprises to adopt high-tech best practices to increase efficiency and gain a competitive edge. The beverage industry is no exception with new entrants and trends shaking things up, like moves towards nonalcoholic beverages such as enhanced waters, energy drinks and coffee and tea and their ready-to drink offshoots. Alcoholic beverages continue to hold their ground, accounting for 20% of the total, with beer representing 16%, and craft and foreign-import beers resulting in a 9% shift in market share away from the largest brewers. With competition from smaller, but formidable players, major brewers are upping their game to increase operational efficiency with cloud-driven solutions.

Industry: Food & beverage
Customer: U.S.- based multi-national, 30 locations including 2 headquarters in U.S., 20K employees in U.S.
Challenges: Connectivity to major locations, migrate mission-critical apps to the cloud, bandwidth scalability and performance, legacy compatibility, reduce high latency
Solutions: Cloud Connect, Wavelength Services
Results: Superior reliability, solid connections, reduced latency, increased bandwidth, rapid implementation, increased cost-effectiveness

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Drowning in data

As a Windstream Enterprise customer for the past 10 years, the company has seen the demand for its products increase as it continues to expand its offerings in response to changing consumer tastes. With massive amounts of data related to its brewing, packaging and distribution processes, the network was integral to their ability to build and maintain an IT infrastructure that would enable them to adapt and grow while achieving operational and cost efficiencies, and top-line revenue growth.

To fulfill those goals, the company was launching a large-scale effort to move the mainframe and hundreds of applications from the data center while continuing to maintain access during the migration. The current ratio was about 80% of applications stored in the data center and 20% stored with their cloud services provider (CSP).

Many of the current applications were homegrown legacy applications and created an even greater challenge to move to the cloud. Any plans to move infrastructure had to support these legacy apps.

Another challenge to the migration was the company’s slow-performing network. Their existing MPLS and broadband connections were not meeting their needs and required IT management. They had seen the use cases touting the value of using their CSP’s cloud platforms for key business applications, but these required a high degree of network performance. They needed better access, more reliability, higher bandwidth and more stability with greater economy.

“Other providers approached us with solutions to address the challenges we faced, but only Windstream Enterprise offered the creativity and ability to position Wavelength Services with Cloud Connect, and then successfully deliver on their promises.”

Brewing up a solution

During a regular quarterly business review, the company expressed their concern of not being able to move their mainframe and applications in their current network environment. “Unlike competitors who were selling layer 3 MPLS, only Windstream Enterprise offered a Layer 2 Wavelength Services solution that met their needs for LAN speed across the WAN. Layer 3 MPLS wouldn’t meet that need, but Wavelength Services provided the LAN speed with 100% performance.”

Windstream Enterprise delivered its Cloud Connect solution utilizing dual Wavelength Services, thereby providing the lowest transport latency, while delivering the overall solution to meet the customer’s unique requirements. With this solution, low latency is achieved in a cloud environment with the speed and performance they expected from a premises-based network infrastructure—but with high-capacity Wavelength Services vs. lower bandwidth MPLS.

“We appreciated the creativity and ability to deliver the right solution for us, and for keeping us well-informed with daily calls that included our CSP. Their approach and partnership exceeded our expectations when they had the solution fully implemented in just 19 days.”

Up and running

Today, a private optical network consisting of diverse 10 Gbps Wavelength Services and Cloud Connect links the company’s headquarters location with their CSP over one of Windstream Enterprise’s interconnection routes.

Moreover, the infrastructure improvements will facilitate the company’s long-term and preferred goal to buy ‘off-the-shelf’ apps available from their CSP where it’s economically feasible.

They also plan to expand use of CSP’s data centers to host systems and applications with the full confidence that the Wavelengths/Cloud Connect network is nimble and can be adapted to meet tomorrow’s unique network performance requirements no matter what’s brewing.

“The Windstream Enterprise team acted like a partner—not just another vendor. They took the time to listen and understand our business goals—what resources we needed and why, and our performance expectations. The team kept us well-informed with daily calls that included our CSP, they had the solution fully implemented in just 19 days.”

About the Author

Windstream Enterprise

Windstream Enterprise believes people should expect more from their service provider. Our mission: as network, security and application performance become continuously more critical, WE will be the partner that responds to unique customer needs—a pathfinder to help lead them through technology transformation. A trusted advisor to help them connect, transform and elevate their businesses.

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