Network infrastructure transformation

As part of its strategy of migrating to a cloud environment and future-proofing operations, national food services distributor Bidfood has implemented VMware SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud and transformed its network infrastructure for high availability, scalability and performance.

Assisted by IT solutions provider BUI and VMware partner Redvine Networks, Bidfood needed to find an effective way of upgrading its IT environment to not only reflect the growth of its business, but also future proof the business with the latest technologies available.

“The wide area network (WAN) was one of the key components in this regard. With branches in South Africa and Botswana, retaining the existing MPLS infrastructure was becoming cost prohibitive. Furthermore, we needed to upgrade our capacity and gain complete visibility into our WAN environment,” says Johan Kok, IT executive at Bidfood.

Kok says the VeloCloud architecture provided it with direct internet links affording dedicated bandwidth to individual sites while also providing the scalability required to expand as operations grow.

Seamless SD-WAN

“For us, the seamless failover capabilities provided by VeloCloud and the ability to mix and match connectivity options depending on our needs is enabling us to provide the continuous access critical for our operations that run around the clock. Once the links were installed at the Bidfood branches, we could easily decommission the legacy system and migrate to the SD-WAN environment,” adds Kok.

According to Vaughan Rutherford, networking technical lead at BUI, the zero-touch deployment of VeloCloud made the project far simpler to complete, something that was essential as the implementation took place during COVID-19 Level 5 Lockdown conditions in the country.

“It was a matter of shipping the units to the sites, connecting them to the network, and having them configure themselves once connected to the internet. We have deployed VeloCloud at several companies in the past and have always had a great experience with the technology. Despite the lockdown, the Bidfood project was no different,” says Rutherford.

Even more impressive is the fact that the roll out took 10 days from start to finish.

“Even though the lockdown impacted our operations, we used it as an opportunity to overhaul our critical infrastructure through VeloCloud. The solution has halved our bandwidth costs while increasing our capacity 10-fold. It also provides us with complete visibility and manageability of our network so we can proactively engage with our service providers if the links are not performing adequately before they escalate into significant problems,” says Kok.

Rutherford says the success of the project could be attributed to the experienced team driving the migration.

Planning, people and processes

“It is not just about the technology but having the right people in place to drive it. Planning was critical as this provided the blueprint to ensure a smooth implementation,” says Rutherford.

For its part, Redvine provided the zero-touch support that enabled the plug-and-play deployment of VeloCloud across all Bidfood branches.

“We not only leveraged our experience on the architecture, but also remotely assisted with its deployment. Our status as a VeloCloud MSP enables us to run gateways across Africa to ensure customers like Bidfood get seamless failover across their regional footprint if there are any connectivity issues at their sites.

SD-WAN is a business enabler for any organisation and Bidfood is now well positioned to capitalise on this,” concludes Morne Vermeulen, senior core engineer at Redvine.