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Citrix SD-WAN: Helping connect Ireland’s woodland

Coillte Forest is an Irish state-owned agency responsible for the sustainability and management of Woodland in Ireland extending over 440,000 hectares, about 7% of Ireland’s total land space. Coillte is responsible for managing the renewable resources of forestry, industrial development, infrastructure and tourism for the land under management.

To support this effort, Coillte operates 35 sites comprising of offices, nurseries and sawmill weighbridges across Ireland, often in very remote locations.

Technology plays a key role in managing forestry operations. To support its services, Coillte needs excellent communications and connectivity. This posed an issue in recent years as the dependency on technology has increased.

Most sites were connected via legacy MPLS over copper connections where available, delivering low and often insufficient bandwidth. Reliability and availability were poor leading to frustration, low efficiency and business implications. Even HDX delivered applications struggled under such conditions.

Coillte turned to Edge7 Networks, the leading EMEA based provider of Citrix SD-WAN to improve connectivity to sites.

As Ronan Murray, Director, states ‘With years of experience in delivering SD-WAN solutions to low bandwidth locations, we conducted a Citrix SD-WAN Pilot with Coillte to demonstrate Citrix SD-WAN's ability to optimise low bandwidth solutions and aggregate with other connectivity such as 4G. A Pilot was required to ensure we got adequate bandwidth to these remote locations.

Impressed with the results of the Pilot, Coillte not only received great feedback from users, but for the first time got real visibility into the traffic traversing the WAN and how their connectivity was being utilised.’

Following the Pilot’s success, there were several key challenges to address in a full deployment. Edge7 Networks were happy to design and deploy a solution that solved each one.

MPLS Circuits – No Choice

Coillte used MPLS circuits to connect its office sites which presented several business issues. Some sites had connectivity that had been either over or under-provisioned.

Citrix SD-WAN gives Coillte the ability to flex their network bandwidth up or down, aggregating different services and different providers to give burst capability to meet their needs, which wasn’t a possibility with MPLS.

Right-sizing connectivity offers the ability to adjust costs and moving away from reliance on a specific carrier’s MPLS environment give a site the option to avail of the best connectivity available from any provider in the area.

Lack of Business Continuity and Backup

Availability was also an issue. When MPLS suffered an outage, it would take time for the back-up connection to become active, resulting in downtime at both the offices and weighbridges which led to delays and poor customer service.

With no previous back-up line at the weighbridges, Citrix SD-WAN has provided them with better resilience and availability. By aggregating multiple circuits across copper, Fibre & 4/5G, bandwidth and diversity has also increased. Where staff could previously only use their core business applications, they now have capacity and performance to use UC and collaborate via Video and Teams, something they could never do prior to SD-WAN.

Adapting traffic delivery for the Cloud

Coillte operate a hybrid environment hosting high-end applications in their datacentre whilst running Office 365 and SaaS applications through the cloud.

This transition to the Cloud meant the business needed to modernise their traffic delivery. Rather than backhauling traffic through the datacentre, Citrix SD-WAN delivered local breakout to optimise application performance while still ensuring security and a consistent user experience.

Changes in access with any devices and any location requirements

Coillte wanted to right-size the connectivity at each site to avoid over-paying while ensuring they had the flexibility to cope with demand spikes when projects caused more people than usual to be working from any site.

Citrix SD-WAN provides Coillte’s offices with local internet breakout, so staff enjoy the best performance whether using private or public cloud applications. Connecting this into their Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops delivery ensures users have a consistent and secure experience on any device, from any location, whichever apps they need.

As Coillte adjusts to a post-COVID-19 work from home policy, Citrix SD-WAN’s reporting will enable it to further optimize bandwidth to meet new levels of in-office activity.

‘Citrix SD-WAN has made a real positive difference to both users and business operations for Coillte. For organisations facing connectivity challenges in rural, urban and global locations, we deploy Citrix SD-WAN to improve connectivity, enhance user experience and make the network work better in a hybrid world’ concludes Murray.


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