Running Behind ScheduleBy Kevin Fogarty Print
American States Water and other Baseline 500 companies find that leased-line wide-area networks are sometimes more reliable and secure—and less costly—than the public cloud.
Running Behind Schedule
The American States Water rollout has taken more than a year and a half, and will be done this year, Hefler says. The project is running behind schedule, mostly due to the time-consuming process of pulling out an ATM line, installing one for MPLS and deploying a menu of new gear in a list of locations that kept growing as the company won contracts to handle wastewater treatment at multiple military bases.
But a lot of time was also eaten up waiting for the telecoms to catch up with the company’s ambitions. In Arizona, for example, American States Water had to front the cost for Qwest to install MPLS to its location because no other customer had asked for the service. Qwest quickly repaid the money, but it wasn’t the only time the company had to wait for a telecom to offer MPLS, as well as straight IP or Internet connections, Hefler says.
MPLS is still not available in many parts of the country, according to Brian Washburn, network infrastructure analyst at Current Analysis. “MPLS is available at hundreds of [points of presence] nationwide, but in rural locations and some other areas, it’s a question of how far you want to carry the signal from the nearest POP, and that’s where a carrier might propose a frame-relay link,” he says.
This technology will support more than just teleconferencing and a planned migration to voice over IP, Hefler says. MPLS allows American States Water to dedicate enough bandwidth to prevent the relatively heavy communications of its JD Edwards business applications from slowing down.
Building a private network lets American States Water limit security risks from the Internet—a requirement of some military contracts. It also gives the company needed flexibility, which neither outsourcing management of the network nor connecting via the Internet would provide, Hefler points out.
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