It’s a big decision for a company to switch out their core IT infrastructure from one manufacturer to another – just ask Computex Technology Solutions’ Senior Account Executive, Kurt Walker.
When it came time for longtime client Wenger Corporation to replace and upgrade their existing Cisco Systems data center core networking equipment, Walker recommended a switch to Juniper Networks. The Owatonna, Minn.-based provider of live performance, staging and acoustical equipment had been an exclusive Cisco Systems shop for years, so a switch wasn’t going to come easily.
“Computex has been our partner for over ten years, so we trusted their input, but we were still somewhat skeptical of making the switch,” says Pat Steckelberg, IT operations manager, Wenger Corporation. “We had a Cisco core, and wanted to go to a bigger and better Cisco solution. But when we saw the price tag we went back to Computex and said, ‘What are our other options?” he says.
Auditoning New Technology
Wenger’s core Cisco switching infrastructure was fast approaching end of life, Walker says, and he was hope¬ful that Steckelberg and Wenger would be open to alternatives to a Cisco solution.
After a number of meetings to determine what Wenger’s business and technology needs were, Walker and Computex delivered quotes on identical solutions from both Juniper Networks and Cisco.
The Big Break
“It really got their attention when they realized that with the Juniper Networks solu¬tion they’d see more than a $100,000 savings,” says Walker. “To overcome any remaining objections, we brought in a demonstration system and had them test drive the equip¬ment. They were sold – Juniper it is,” he says. Phase One of Wenger’s forklift core up¬grade consisted of ten Juniper Networks EX4200 48-port switches. The success of this project led to another opportunity to replace Cisco switching equipment in seven other Wenger Corp. data closets, Walker says.
Though price was the major consideration for Steckelberg and Wenger, ease of use, performance, manageability and the simplicity of training also were factors in the successful sale, Steckelberg says.
“Once we demo’ed the unit, we went with the Juniper solution. It was more than just the $100,000 savings,” Steckelberg says. “The JUNOS operating system let our team get up to speed so quickly rather than having to learn a new operating system and train on different OSes for each different, new component,” he says. “And because of Juniper’s virtual chassis technology, we are able to quickly configure a number of switches so they shared a common user interface, which made for greater ease of use and manageability. The Juniper management GUI (graphical user interface) is so intuitive and helpful for remote maintenance – it gives us flexibility we just didn’t have before,” Steckelberg adds.
Same Day Migration
In fact, Steckelberg’s team was able to get comfortable so quickly that the data center migration was almost completely seamless, he says.
“We started at 8:00 am on a Saturday and by 5:00 pm that same day we were up and running on the new Juniper Networks solutions,” Steckelberg says, and without having to send any team members to additional training.
“The success of this data center project has led to new opportunities to show Wenger and other customers how Computex and Juniper Networks are working together to simplify and secure their network, all while realizing significant cost savings and increasing performance, ” Walker says. “ And once they see the technology in action and note the cost savings, there’s really no debate. Nine times out of ten, the client makes the switch to Juniper Networks.”