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Sumitomo Bakelite High Performance Plastic Products Europe is a chemical industry group with three sites in Europe. To create a secure and fast connection between these locations, SBHPP opted for ease of installation and use of the VMware SD-WAN solution. Additional advantage: costs reduced by as much as 60% compared to the previous solution.
Sumitomo Bakelite Europe (SBHPP) has been part of the Japanese chemical group Sumitomo Bakelite Co. since 2000. It is the world leader in high-performance plastics solutions. For example, they produce phenolic resin that is used in the automotive industry. So, there is a good chance that parts from your car are made with their base material. The headquarters of this division is in Genk and SBHPP has two other sites in Europe: one in Ghent (also in Belgium) and one in Spain (Montornes). The connection between the sites could use an update.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the management asked every team to review their operations to see if cost reduction was possible. The IT team looked at where they could make savings without sacrificing quality. The MPLS connection they used to connect the three locations to came into the picture. Requirements for the new solution were – in the first place – cost reduction and secondly at least the same stability in data traffic, be redundant. SBHPP also wanted to be less dependent on a single provider.
VMware SD-WAN with local providers
One of the best options was VMware SD-WAN. This software-defined network ensures high-quality application performance and availability for end users while lowering networking costs. In this case it would reduce the monthly cost for the data lines by as much as 60%! On a yearly basis SBHPP saves now €72.000. The investment in the new solution – which includes the monthly subscriptions for the various lines, the hardware and the licenses for 5 years – will already have paid off in just 1 year and 8 months.
“But what won us over in choosing VMware SD-WAN was the greater independence it offered. We can now work with multiple providers simultaneously,” said Mark Renders, European ICT coordinator at SBHPP. Each site is redundant in terms of hardware with two SD-WAN Edges per site, and at each European site, SBHPP now works with at least two providers. In Spain, SBHPP works with Telefonica and Vodafone, while in Belgium, they work with three providers (Telenet, Proximus and Destiny). In addition, the IT team can also combine fibre optic and VDSL in one box. This allows the IT team to indicate which data line is used for which application.
More overview and scalable
The IT team has a better overview of the traffic and status of the data lines thanks to the VMware SD-WAN Orchestrator portal. “From anywhere and any device we can remotely control our SD-WAN Edges. In the past only the MPLS provider saw what was wrong. With this SD-WAN solution and the portal we have a great overview and notice immediately if something is wrong. And possible issues are solved more quickly because we are in direct contact with the local providers,” explains Mark Renders. This is a great advantage for a chemical company that must comply with the Seveso Directive. Companies like SBHPP that subject to these regulations comply with strict safety rules. A quick response when something goes wrong.
The order for the VMware SD-WAN Edges and the necessary licenses was placed through one trusted hardware partner. But SBHPP asked VMware Benelux for a technical partner who could carry out the project onsite.” That partner turned out to be Agisko. They took over the project at the end of June 2020 and were able to have the VMware SD-WAN solution live by September. “It was a great case for us to deploy with a smooth configuration and migration. This was not possible without the trust of the customer”, concludes Thibaut Noben, technical consultant at Agisko.