Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) is India’s leading Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) and a Fortune Global 500 company. It is one of the premier integrated energy companies in India, engaged in refining of crude oil and marketing of petroleum products. The company has a significant presence in both the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry. BPCL has attained the coveted ‘Maharatna’ status accorded to only the top-performing PSUs in India.
BPCL has its offices, depots and installations dispersed across the country. The MPLS link (one primary and one secondary) connecting over 200 of these locations is central to the company’s operations as all its mission critical enterprise applications, are accessed over it. When it came to ensuring seamless connectivity for its MPLS link, the company decided to choose Citrix SD WAN.
The availability and quality of network connectivity determines the operations. For instance, the dispatching of trucks to the petrol pumps from the company’s depots and installations requires creating invoices in the enterprise application. If the application gets disconnected due to the MPLS link breaking down or any quality deterioration, the invoices are stuck and the dispatch of trucks gets delayed. Similarly, all the business operations conducted are impacted by the application’s availability across all locations, which is determined by the MPLS connectivity.
Hence, the goal for BPCL’s IT team was to ensure seamless connectivity for its users across all locations to help conduct the business operations smoothly while improving their productivity and experience. Given the very nature of BPCL’s business, many of its offices are located in remote parts of the country having poor connectivity because of which the MPLS link often faced quality issues and downtime. While in case of the link going down the failover took around one minute, in case of any quality deterioration/fluctuations the failover took an average of 3-5 minutes. During this intervening failover duration, the applications would be disconnected.
Imagine the wastage of time when an application gets disconnected mid-way due to poor MPLS connectivity, and the user has to log into the system and repeat the task all over again. Besides, performance lags can be a major experience and productivity killer.
With Citrix SD WAN, the company was looking to overcome the quality and disconnection issues it faced with the MPLS connectivity. Thus, ensuring seamless access to business-critical applications across all 200 locations as well as a great experience and productivity boost.
After conducting Proof of Concept (PoC) exercises with Citrix, BPCL’s trust in Citrix SD WAN as the right solution for its requirements was strengthened. The evaluation team was impressed by the provision for sub-second failover and packet-based load balancing.
For BPCL, Citrix solution’s packet-based load balancing capabilities proved to be the right fit as it ensures that all the links are used simultaneously. This, in effect, means that any of the business-critical applications will not get disconnected even if one of the packets gets dropped.
“The feedback that IT has received from business teams across all locations since the implementation of Citrix SD WAN has been great. It enables sub-second failover, which ensures that users continue to have seamless access to the applications even if there is a packet drop or the link goes down. And, it’s all so transparent to the end users that they don’t even realize there was any problem,”MR. Mohit Kumar Choudhary, SR. MANAGER (IS NETWORK DESIGN)
This has given a major boost to the productivity and experience of the end users while also ensuring there are no delays in business operations owing to connectivity issues.
Citrix SD WAN has considerably reduced the need for manual intervention. For the IT team that was earlier spending time monitoring, managing, and manually switching the MPLS link on and off, this has freed up the time for more productive tasks and ensuring uptime.
Citrix SD WAN has also given BPCL the ability to add internet links to its connectivity mix. This has helped in connecting those locations that were off the radar owing to the non-availability of MPLS connectivity.
“Citrix SD WAN being a link agonistic solution, it has taken off our dependency solely on the MPLS link. The flexibility to adopt internet links allows us to expand our operations even to locations where the MPLS infrastructure is not available, which was not possible earlier,” MR. Suri SK ,GENERAL MANAGER I/C (IS TECHNOLOGY)
This has also brought some cost savings in locations where the internet link has been deployed as it costs comparatively less than MPLS connectivity.
Meanwhile, BPCL’s Disaster Recovery (DR) has seen massive improvement with the Citrix solution coming into the equation. From five minutes to transfer 90% of the data changes to DR site, it has now come down to one minute to transfer 95% of the data changes to DR, which is a massive improvement of almost 80%.
Today, BPCL sees Citrix SD WAN as a very critical component of its network infrastructure to ensure business productivity and enable the IT team to meet its SLAs to the business.
Since BPCL has covered most of its locations on SD WAN, the next step is maintaining those with the support of Citrix. It also plans to continue adding new features and capabilities that Citrix brings in the future.
Citrix SD WAN being a link agonistic solution, it has taken off our dependency solely on the MPLS link. The flexibility to adopt internet links allows us to expand our operations even to locations where the MPLS infrastructure is not available, which was not possible earlier.