Cable & Wireless Communications Adopts Packet Design's Traffic Explorer to Increase Data Center Service Quality

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Integrated Routing and Traffic Visibility Speeds Problem Resolution, Enables More Intelligent Network Planning

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Traffic Explorer is the only tool I have found that combines routing and traffic insight with a full forensic history, and allows us to quickly resolve issues.

Cable & Wireless Communications Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Bermuda (CWC, CIIMB), an international service provider based in Guernsey, has deployed Traffic Explorer, an integrated routing and traffic (e.g. Netflow) analysis system from Packet Design, Inc., to manage their IP network which provides its customers with retail broadband and mobile communications, as well as enterprise IP and data center services.

Since Cable & Wireless Communications installed Traffic Explorer, it has helped network engineers to:

  •      Monitor and ensure the healthy operation of its backbone network along with peerings and transit connections to other ISPs
  •      Speed troubleshooting of service availability and performance issues for data center services
  •      Offer more detailed network service quality information to key data center clients

According to Rik Toms, Head of IP/IT for Cable & Wireless Communications CIIMB, a key business challenge was the high diversity and volume of services that must be managed with a limited engineering and operations staff. “Our IP backbone network supports many diverse services across multiple islands, including residential and business broadband services, mobile phone and data services, an educational network, and a significant enterprise data center business. Our data center business is very large compared to the size of our island. Even though Guernsey is only nine miles long, because we diverted transatlantic fiber to Guernsey, we have more Internet bandwidth than some entire countries, for example South Africa. As a result, our data center business has grown from 20 racks of online hosting space in 2003 to over 500 racks of hosting space today. With all of these services, our limited staff really needed better management visibility to be able to keep up with the demands of our customers.”

In May of 2010, Cable and Wireless Communications CIIMB deployed Traffic Explorer, which provides an integrated view of network-wide IP routing and traffic flow operations, both internally, as well as to and from the Internet. Service providers gain an end-to-end, "topology-aware" view of network traffic that helps them find hidden network problems, speed troubleshooting and plan network capacity more accurately.

Traffic Explorer Helps Speed Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)

Traffic Explorer has made a significant impact on the time it takes to resolve problems, particularly with sensitive data center services. "Before Traffic Explorer, we had a limited view of how the network was operating at the present time, but had no way to troubleshoot historical or intermittent issues. Often, a customer would report a service fault where their hosted servers weren’t reachable from somewhere on the Internet, such as New York City, and by the time we looked at the problem it would have resumed normal behavior. We’d have no clue what had happened,” said Toms. “As a result, not only could we not identify the customer’s problem, but any underlying root cause for that problem was still lurking in the network and likely to happen again. With Traffic Explorer, we can rewind the routing and traffic history, examine the exact customer traffic that was affected and find the root cause. For example, at times we have found that certain Internet peerings experience intermittent problems in routing to certain destinations on the Internet. Upon finding these problems, we can respond by changing a routing metric to redirect traffic to another Internet exit router. At other times, the history helps us prove that in fact everything had been working properly and consistently over time. Traffic Explorer is the only tool I have found that combines this routing and traffic insight with a full forensic history, and allows us to quickly resolve these types of issues. The net result is a reduction of MTTR for network issues, which means that we can handle service growth more cost-effectively.”

Accurate Network Modeling and Planning Ensure High Availability

Toms and his engineering team were also attracted to Traffic Explorer’s modeling and capacity planning capabilities. “With Traffic Explorer, you can model network changes in advance of implementing them to verify that the network will behave the way you expect, and ensure that you don’t run into any problems that you didn’t anticipate,” said Toms. “We plan to use this capability in our routine maintenance processes. For example, if we’re going to take a router out of service for maintenance, we usually try to change routing metrics to redirect traffic away from the affected links before we take the router offline. With Traffic Explorer we will be able to model the changes based on the actual traffic and routing operation in the network and make sure that all traffic is diverted to other links before taking the router down.”

Traffic Explorer is the only IP network management system to combine traffic-flow data with network-wide "path awareness" to reveal the consequences of routing changes on application and service delivery. Users gain unprecedented visibility into layer 3 (routing) operations for troubleshooting problems, engineering networks for maximum efficiency, and planning for change and growth. Traffic Explorer consists of a small set of appliances that collect traffic-flow data (e.g., Netflow) at key points of entry into the network, aggregate and compute how those flows travel across the network topology, and monitor how traffic paths and loads change as routing changes. Historical traffic and routing data are stored in a database for analysis, diagnosis, modeling and planning.

About Cable and Wireless Communications, CIIMB
Cable & Wireless Communications is a full-service telecommunications business. We operate leading telecommunications businesses through four regional units – the Caribbean, Panama, Macau and Monaco & Islands. Our services include mobile, broadband and domestic and international fixed line services in most of our markets as well as pay-TV, data centre and hosting, carrier and managed service solutions. Our operations are focused on providing our customers – consumers, businesses, governments – with world-class service. We are the market leader in most products we offer and territories we serve. For more information visit http://www.cwc.com.

In the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Bermuda, Cable & Wireless is investing millions of pounds each year to revolutionise communications and deliver a new generation of services.

Sure, the innovative and exciting brand for services in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, is leading the introduction of choice for customers supported by an ongoing commitment to quality, value and customer care in all areas of service. Our offering includes mobile, broadband and fixed line services for consumers as well as advanced internet, hosting, security and international services for business customers. It’s good to be Sure.
For further information about Sure, go to: http://www.surecw.com.

About Packet Design, Inc.
Packet Design, Inc., pioneered the field of route analytics and is the leading supplier of network appliances that provide routing-layer visibility into IP networks. The company's products create an accurate layer 3 topology map, analyze routing events, and provide a unique end-to-end, "path-aware" view of network traffic (including MPLS-VPN customer traffic), letting network engineers quickly pinpoint network problems and accurately model changes. Packet Design solutions help manage networks in hundreds of organizations, including many of the world's largest service providers, global enterprises (financial, retail pharmaceutical and other firms), government agencies and educational institutions.

Packet Design was founded in March 2003 by serial entrepreneur and former Cisco Chief Technology Officer Judy Estrin and former Cisco Chief Scientist Van Jacobson. For more information, visit http://www.packetdesign.com.

Company contact:

Jeff Raice
Packet Design, Inc.
408-490-1034
jeff(at)packetdesign(dot)com

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