According to industry research, the global VoIP services market is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than seven per cent over the next three years1. Analysts have warned that the continued growth of the market could be threatened by the complexity of deployment, highlighting the need for service providers such as Excell Group to invest in simplified, reliable and scalable networks to meet these market demands.
With seven regional offices and a network of partners around the globe, Excell is a leader in the delivery of advanced corporate communications solutions. Its next-generation network provides feature-rich, robust technologies to address complex business and technology challenges across the voice, data, mobile, professional services, and SIP and hosting segments. Spanning vertical segments such as automotive, healthcare, transportation, retail, media and entertainment, and local government, Excell's customers demand always-on connectivity and service flexibility, hence the importance of a network foundation that can deliver on those requirements.
"In 2009, our three data centres were at full capacity, and we faced the choice of buying another rack in the existing data centres or extending the network," explained Stan Jackson, Network Architect at Excell Group. "We opted to extend the network, opening a new point of presence in 2009, and 11 more since then as customer demand has grown."
Following a thorough evaluation of solutions from a number of networking providers, including Cisco and Juniper, Excell Group selected Brocade equipment for its unmatched combination of highly flexible MPLS functionality and cost-effectiveness. A total of 15 Brocade NetIron CER routers are now in place across Excell's three data centres and 12 PoPs.
"The decision to deploy Brocade NetIron routers was simple: Brocade was the only vendor to offer MPLS per-port across 24 ports, each in a 1U device, and still come in at an attractive price point. Such a compelling price/performance value proposition was hard to ignore," added Jackson.
MPLS availability is key to service providers like Excell; being able to develop the scalable and flexible networks its customers demand is critical to the company's mission. Previously, setting up a private network for a customer would require Excell to provide an Internet circuit with a firewall and then build a number of VPNs. Excell's new approach is to put in a circuit and then run MLPS over the network, connecting all the points. Services such as IP telephony and site-by-site breakout to the Internet are then run for customers within this MLPS environment.
"Putting MLPS on a circuit enables connections to be used for multiple purposes, so that services like Internet access, voice and QoS can all be provided on a single circuit. Brocade NetIron routers, with 24 MLPS-enabled ports each, make this much more cost-effective. We have witnessed data traffic growth of more than 100 per cent in the last year, but IT budgets are increasingly under threat. Everyone is looking to maximise their benefits while spending less on services, so the ability to do so much with a single router -- far more than we could with competing products -- is a real asset for both us and our customers," Jackson continued.
In the three years since the first Brocade NetIron CER routers were deployed, Excell Group has not experienced a single failure: "Without Brocade's faultless reliability, we wouldn't have a business. The equipment is stable and offers fantastic functionality, as well as resilience that is second to none. Above all, Brocade has been an outstanding partner, offering attentive and immediate support that stands in stark contrast to that of other suppliers," stated Jackson.
The partnership between Excell and Brocade is set to evolve even further, with Excell having recently opened a fourth data centre at Metropoint, near Cockfosters. Excell has deployed Brocade TurboIron® 24X Switches at both ends of the two circuits linking to Metropoint. Excell has also deployed Brocade equipment to completely replace the edge technology that previously connected its network to the Internet.
"Brocade now runs Excell's entire Internet edge, and we are incredibly satisfied with the results. We look forward to working closely with them to provide the technology that will run our next data centres outside London when they go live in line with local customer demand," Jackson concluded.