Recovering an old accounting document, obtaining a copy of a medical record, admiring an ancient manuscript online: the availability of documents is important for many companies and public bodies, and they can incur substantial costs for archiving services. Nowadays, these costs can be reduced by completely outsourcing document management – from digitization to storage of original documents – to specialized companies that offer clients guaranteed data protection and convenient online access to their outsourced archive. In Italy, one of the leading companies in this sector is Italarchivi which, in its 30-year history, has served hundreds of clients including banks, factories, hospitals, local authorities, and charitable organizations.
Italarchivi’s success is due to its capacity to ensure compliance with specific Service Level Agreements (SLAs) regarding the security of storage and digitization timescales, as well as complete nationwide coverage with five operational hubs located in Milan, Naples, Palma, Rome, and Venice. Italarchivi therefore requires an IT infrastructure and a WAN that are completely reliable, objectives that the company’s IT department has been working towards for several years, together with its partner, Gruppo Filippetti.
“The data traffic that passes through the WAN is essential for our business: often, for example, documents that are scanned in one of our operational hubs must then be worked on in a different hub,” explains Marco Ceneri, IT System Administrator for Italarchivi.
Until 2018 however, the company’s existing traditional MPLS solution was not able to ensure a level of availability that was sufficient to meet its needs. “As well as being expensive, the MPLS technology forced us to rely on cables from a single network provider, for both main lines and backup lines, and to use slow connections for certain operational hubs located in areas without fiber optic infrastructure. Faults due to broken cables or bad weather occurred 10 to 15 times a year on average and in some cases resulted in lengthy recovery periods. The resulting disruption to our business put us at risk of breaking the SLAs signed with our clients,” highlights Ceneri.
With this issue in mind, in 2018 Gruppo Filippetti suggested that Italarchivi switch to an innovative solution based on Citrix SD-WAN, which would allow it to combine connections supplied by several telecom operators with the use of different technologies. The Italarchivi management team was immediately convinced by the proposal; they then decided to embark on a project involving the comprehensive reorganization of the WAN. Within a year, the company had created a new solution in which the MPLS connections are only used for the main lines; it is supplemented by other connections based on different technologies (ADSL, LTE, wireless connections with parabolic antennae), supplied by other operators. The Citrix SD-WAN hardware installed in the datacenters and operational hubs manages, in an automatic and transparent manner, the routing of data via the various available lines, intervening not only in the event of a fault in the MPLS circuits, but also when the quality of the connections becomes inadequate for certain types of traffic. In the case of VoIP and video streaming, Citrix SD-WAN also prevents packet loss via redundant transmission over several different lines. The new solution also enables the direct exchange of data between the peripheral operational hubs.
With Citrix SD-WAN, Italarchivi has increased the availability of its own WAN to the level the business requires. “We have been using Citrix SD-WAN for a year and during this time we have not experienced any network disruptions,” states Ceneri, adding: “Naturally, over the course of this year there have been setbacks involving the MPLS lines, such as the accidental breakage of a cable, but this did not result in any business interruption.” The company has also improved the quality of VoIP audio connections and video conferencing between its offices with VoIP hosted by Filippetti Cloud, and plans to move to the public cloud in the future.
With Citrix SD-WAN, Italarchivi is now also able to avoid using backup lines based on costly MPLS technology, restricting the use to the main lines only; the direct transfer of data between the peripheral hubs also allows the company to use more cost-effective lines for connections with the datacenter. “We have reduced the costs of connectivity services by 12% and, as a result of these savings, we expect to receive a return on our investment in just two years. Plus, with more activities planned in the coming months, including a complete overhaul of the lines, we expect to reduce costs by close to 30%,” states Ceneri.
Thanks to the reduction in connectivity costs, Italarchivi is now considering optimizing its own WAN with the addition of new lines. The company is also assessing other Citrix solutions for use within a new branch of the business: outsourcing entire business processes and the provision of services such as digital signatures. These developments are being worked on by Italarchivi’s new IT Manager, Roberto Secchi. “Based on the extremely positive results we have obtained with Citrix SD-WAN, we feel that Citrix could be an important partner in our future initiatives, for example, with their desktop virtualization solutions,” concludes Secchi.
We have reduced the costs of connectivity services by 12% and, as a result of these savings, we expect to receive a return on our investment in just two years. Plus, with more activities planned in the coming months, including a complete overhaul of the lines, we expect to reduce costs by close to 30%.