Case study: networking – why Hempsons switched from Cisco
Reliance on technology is a given, which can mean businesses could assume keeping up with future demands can be costly. So when Hempsons Solicitors took the decision to upgrade their five-year-old network into something they knew would take them not only to the next level but also the next decade, they were surprised to discover the cost savings and added value that Enterasys brought with them.
Moving very much towards virtualisation the health specialist lawyers needed more visibility and control of their complete Cisco LAN, which ran across their three main and one-satellite sites. Their entire infrastructure had been built on 2900,3500 and 3700 series switches – which at the time of installation met their needs more than adequately. Growth of virtualisation and the need for stringent regulation processes meant the business needed higher performance – 10GbE – as well as VoIP requirements for PoE and quality control.
Mike Batters, technical director of NETprotocol was called in as the long term IT consultant to Hempsons to look at upgrading their network and was told not to address just the core technology – but the big picture. “It would have been easy enough to look at upgrading the Cisco system because it was familiar technology and their IT management and staff understood how it worked. And also the brand is well known and trustworthy. But when we had looked at what they needed as a business not only immediately but for the development and growth of their activity we took a broader view.”
NETprotocol had been a long term partner of Cisco and so knew they could deliver the 10GbE storage although the scale and complexity was driving up cost – plus there was no single point of management when it came to adding wireless to the wired options.
Hempsons’ IT manager, Brett Raymond said the company had virtualised heavily but the existing Cisco system wasn’t coping.“We were getting so many slow-downs and lock-ups that the complaints were increasing – particularly when it was taking 10-15 seconds just to open an email. When I got the Enterasys proposal, it offered a much more feature-rich solution which was highly credible and came in at half the capital cost of upgrading the Cisco system – which was a particularly nice surprise. ”
It wasn’t only the initial cost saving that pleased him – the on-going management and maintenance costs will reduce considerably because of the simple delivery of the features. Plus the Enterasys system has some very contemporary features to make his life easier – such as social media interaction, which means he will get a Tweet if hardware fails.
“The system is interrogated through Twitter which means we can manage the system from a personal mobile phone. We have to make sure it is working 24/7 and to be able to do this through Twitter means we don’t need to carry around two devices all the time,” said Raymond.
An example of the simplicity of network management lies within the introduction of wireless – something they were looking at as a future project but were able to implement quickly because of the single pane of glass approach. “With the Cisco system there are two platforms for wired and wireless and they speak the same language but with Enterasys this is all within one screen. This means we can introduce wireless immediately.”
The firm is also looking at cost savings of around £80k in their first year with on-going maintenance costs reducing by £15-£20k per annum.
Raymond puts much of this economy down to NETprotocol’s meticulous planning – and matching the right product against the desired outcomes. “They looked at everything in detail and really interrogated the feasibility of the Enterasys system against what we needed to do. The fact that Enterasys has already worked in the health and NHS environment – at Bart’s Health NHS Trust – meant they understood our needs while NETprotocol managed the entire upgrade from start to finish.”