Groupama Rhône-Alpes Auvergne uses SD-WAN solution for its current and future networks

The Groupama Rhône-Alpes Auvergne (RAA) regional group employs 2,300 staff based in 340 agencies and at other administrative sites. Effective communication tools are therefore essential for ensuring that employees are able to do their jobs. For the group, using new technologies is non-negotiable: video and SaaS applications are an everyday fact of life. These new practices require ever-increasing bandwidth. “We also wanted to replace our obsolete IT equipment in order to share the workload more equally across our sites, improve our network service quality management and, in turn, manage our telecoms expenditure and operating costs,” explains Laurent Rognard, Infrastructure and Network Engineer for Groupama RAA.

The mutual insurance company therefore needed to find a simple, effective and scalable solution capable of meeting its present and future requirements. Following 18 months of market analysis, a call for tenders, training on the Software Defined concept and a two-month POC (Proof of Concept), conducted by service provider Anetys with support from consulting teams from Citrix, Groupama RAA found its solution. This real-time testing confirmed that the SD-WAN technology supplied by Citrix would optimally meet the company’s needs. It has the capability to virtualize the network by reducing the underlying transport technology (MPLS/internet) and use all available connection options (xDSL, fiber optic, 4G), as well as manage the company’s WAN network according to application or infrastructure requirements.

Rapid implementation

“The entire solution is rapid as well as easy to grasp and implement,” explains Laurent Rognard. You simply position the Citrix SD-WAN appliance on the LAN egress at each of the agencies. There are external connections on the Citrix SD-WAN: a telecom operator’s MPLS, an internet service provider or the 4G network as appropriate. After a few minutes, Groupama RAA’s centralized network management console, based in Lyon, will recognize the appliance and transmit its settings to it.

Groupama RAA’s 340 branches will have switched to this new technology by summer 2019. The first advantage of this solution is that none of the agencies’ hardware needs changing and no telecoms operator is required in order to install the appliance. The second advantage is the ability to safeguard branch operation. If the main MPLS connection is faulty, the internet connection takes over. And if a temporary branch opens or a branch relocates, communications are guaranteed by the 4G connection. However, the three connections can also be used in combination to augment the agencies’ bandwidth while monitoring the network using software, which provides the agility required to meet operational needs, such as occasionally increasing the number of employees at an agency.

Increasing speed while managing telecoms expenditure

By using the access packages available today, such as public 4G and the internet, Groupama RAA is now able to install connections of up to 60 or 80 Mb/s at its agencies. “If we had wanted to provide the same speeds conventionally using our MPLS connections, our telecoms costs would have increased by 80 percent,” concludes Laurent Rognard. Moreover, this would have been at the expense of the functionality and data that the Citrix SD-WAN solution provides. “We have regained control of our WAN network, and the time we lost dealing with relocation issues with telecoms providers is time that we can now spend developing our network; something which is invaluable.”

About Citrix
Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) aims to power a world where people, organizations and things are securely connected and accessible to make the extraordinary possible. Its technology makes the world's apps and data secure and easy to access, empowering people to work anywhere and at any time. Citrix provides a complete and integrated portfolio of Workspace-as-a-Service, application delivery, virtualization, mobility, network delivery and file sharing solutions that enables IT to ensure critical systems are securely available to users via the cloud or on premise and across any device or platform. With annual revenue in 2016 of $3.42 billion, Citrix solutions are in use by more than 400,000 organizations and over 100 million users globally. Learn more at www.citrix.com.

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The Citrix SD-WAN solution has allowed us to take control of our network, save time and manage our telecoms expenditure, while also increasing our bandwidths.
Laurent Rognard
Infrastructure and Network Engineer
Groupama RAA

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Key solution

  • Citrix SD-WAN solution allows Groupama RAA to manage its network and safeguard its regional branch operation by providing new services

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