Oracle/Talari Networks – Case Study – JTekt
JTEKT Steers Clear of Network Downtime with a Talari SD-WAN
Drivers across North America may not know it, but their vehicle performance and fuel efficiency depend on steering components manufactured by JTEKT North America. A major supplier to the auto industry, JTEKT manages 14 manufacturing facilities and employs more than 5,400 people in North America.
The steering systems and driveline components from JTEKT are a critical part of many automotive manufacturers’ supply chain, and carmakers rely on JTEKT shipments to meet their vehicle quotas. “We’re contractually obligated to ship certain products at certain times,” says Richard Bowling, senior network administrator at JTEKT North America. “If our network connectivity goes down and a plant ships our products three days late, we pay the expedite charges to make up for the lost time. We need reliable network connectivity to avoid those extra charges.”
Chronic Outages Threaten Business Cycles
In what had become too common, JTEKT’s MPLS connections between the data center and manufacturing plants were consistently unreliable. JTEKT’s network connects dozens of manufacturing facilities and technical and sales centers throughout North America. For many of these sites, unpredictable connectivity had become a serious pain point, with one plant experiencing outages 15 to 20 times a year. “We had chronic issues at several locations where the connectivity would go down for two to three days,” Bowling says. JTEKT’s first attempt to solve its WAN problem was to add backup VPN tunnels.
Creating redundant connections was the planned remedy, but the ERP apps were still problematic if an outage occurred. Employees continued to experience poor performance and dropped connections that forced them to log back in to get connected. JTEKT needed a more nimble solution.
After reviewing its SD-WAN options, Bowling realized that many companies were offering a false bill of sale. Products branded as SD-WAN did little more than provide redundant links, with no quality-based routing, intelligent load balancing, packet duplication or failover without session interruption.
Based on his research Bowling decided to move ahead with Talari’s SD-WAN solution. Talari creates a smart and responsive network that adapts in real time to bandwidth demand and actual network conditions. By creating a last-mile of failsafe network reliability, critical applications have priority over the network and all applications take the best quality path so business can get done. “Talari was the only company that came close to meeting our requirements,” says Bowling. “Talari has load balancing, QoS, full use of bandwidth, packet duplication, and I can see everything that’s happening over the links and conduits.”
Talari Wins Technical and Business Fans
From the very beginning, Talari improved JTEKT’s network reliability. JTEKT started with a proof-of-concept test at three sites, including a troublesome location that experienced an outage three to five times a quarter. Three days after adding Talari, JTEKT had a massive WAN outage that affected every branch except where the Talari appliances were deployed. As fate would have it, the company had scheduled a technology summit that day and the director of technology at JTEKT was so impressed with Talari’s resilience during the outage that he committed to purchasing the Talari appliances on the spot. Talari received more accolades at the manufacturing plants. “We got instant positive feedback on Talari. The plant manager struggling with chronic downtime refused to let us take Talari out and was willing to pay for the Talari appliances at the plant and the data center himself,” Bowling says. The proof that Talari is maintaining connectivity is easily visible throughout the WAN. Whenever locations go out of service, no one knows about the outages where Talari is deployed.
Talari SD-WAN appliances are in plant locations in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and Bowling expects the deployments will continue in South America and Europe. Getting the Talari appliances up and running was problem-free. “Talari is so easy, intuitive and straightforward. I only did the basic training and easily got it into production,” says Bowling.
Connectivity Ensures Supply Chain Thrives
Since adding Talari to provide failsafe network reliability, critical applications have not been impacted by network downtime. The ERP applications perform consistently, and it has avoided unnecessary expedited shipments due to network outages. Talari has also brought increased reliability to its wireless LAN. It has a centralized wireless controller in its data center that controls the wireless access points across the company.
“Talari has the added benefit of duplicated packets, which hardly anyone thinks about,” explains Bowling. “All of the wireless LAN control and management packets from the data center get duplicated so that if they don’t arrive by MPLS, they will get there over the Internet through Talari.” JTEKT can now make the most of its WAN bandwidth, whether MPLS or broadband. Before, the backup links sat idle until a primary link failed. Now, all circuits are active and all locations have access to the full aggregated bandwidth at all times. That reduces the need to overprovision and ensures the best bandwidth is always used.
Network planning is also more flexible. With Talari in the network, JTEKT’s network strategy is much bolder, especially around adding new systems, making upgrades and maintaining the network. “If I want to upgrade a firewall or router, I can do it and no one knows,” Bowling says. “I don’t have to do anything to prevent an outage. Talari automatically changes connections and the network stays up.” For future network improvements, this reliability will be an important asset because JTEKT won’t have to block out long periods of network downtime or schedule the staff to work during non-operation hours. JTEKT is now migrating its NEC VoIP phone system traffic to the Talari appliances. Looking forward, it will continue to deploy Talari appliances throughout the enterprise.
“Our business has come to rely on the connectivity that Talari provides,” says Bowling. “I expect all our sites will have a Talari appliance installed. Reliable, consistent network connectivity is too important to our business and our partners’ business. Talari gives us the confidence that our sites will stay up and running.”