Greif, a global leader in industrial packaging and services, was founded in 1877 and operates nearly 300 locations in more than 40 countries around the world. Greif produces steel, plastic and fibre drums, intermediate bulk containers, reconditioned containers, flexible products, containerboard, uncoated recycled paperboard, coated recycled paperboard, tubes and cores and a diverse mix of specialty products. The company also manufactures packaging accessories and provides filling, packaging and other services for a wide range of industries. Greif generates $4.6 billion in annual sales and has 17,000 employees. Maintaining global leadership in industrial manufacturing has required a dedication to excellent customer service.
Creating a modern network to ensure the best virtual desktop experience
Due to the nature of its business, it is critical for Greif’s that their manufacturing sites be strategically located in close proximity to its customers. To support their vast and distributed operational footprint across EMEA and APAC regions, a network transformation was critical to maintaining an exceptional level of customer service.
Greif is also running Office 365 applications on Citrix as part of the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops in their EMEA data centers. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops utilizes the Citrix HDX technology stack which includes optimizations based on the ICA protocol that no competing SD-WAN vendor has access to. As a result, Citrix SD-WAN delivers unique features for prioritization of HDX traffic streams and HDX fair sharing of session bandwidth over the WAN, as well as HDX session monitoring and reporting.
Simplifying the workflow eases deployment and management of SD-WAN
Haesevoets says, “the Citrix SD-WAN orchestration service’s configuration editor allows us to make changes to the network before pushing updates to change management.” The centralized management tool allows Greif to seamlessly add, configure and provision Citrix SD-WAN appliances, sites and connections.
With Zero Touch Deployment (ZTD), Haesevoets can provision SD-WAN appliances remotely with just an internet connection. By centralizing the deployment process, he can expedite rollout in large geographies and reduce the burden of having to travel to various locations just to setup the SD-WAN.
The reporting dashboard capabilities of the Citrix SD-WAN orchestration service will also give Haesevoets the ability to proactively monitor the health of the network links and tunnels as well as HDX traffic and users.
Superior time to failover and failover method
Before implementing Citrix SD-WAN, the MPLS was quite stable, but they had periodic outages that impacted internet VPN access. They created a process whereby switches checked periodically for outages by IP SLA tracking and addressed when there were too many timeouts. The process took 30-45 seconds which resulted in a noticeable interruption and froze users’ virtual desktop sessions. The clients would try to reconnect and, in some cases, would be completely disconnected from the network. “Now,” says Haesevoets, “with SD-WAN, both links are used together to provide sufficient bandwidth and, if the MPLS link fails, the SD-WAN virtual path keeps users connected because both links are active and that improves the user experience.”
In the future, Greif will use SD-WAN to evaluate bandwidth usage and plans to downsize their MPLS lines to further save on expenses. Since SD-WAN has helped Greif transform and modernize their network to deliver a more reliable application experience, they can continue to take full advantage of the best Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops experience now and in the future.