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IT Enabled: IEL ramps up its communications infrastructure

June 10, 2013
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Infotech Enterprises Limited (IEL) provides product development solutions and life-cycle support as well as business process, network and content engineering. It caters to segments including aerospace, energy, medical, oil and gas, mining, heavy equipment, information technology, transportation, telecom and utilities. The company is present in over 36 countries and has established service delivery centres in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. It has six group companies – Infotech Enterprises Europe Limited, Infotech Enterprises America, Inc., Infotech Enterprises GmbH, Infotech Enterprises Japan KK, Infotech Enterprises Information Technology Services Limited and Infotech Geospatial (India) Limited. IEL is listed on the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange.

With business expansion, IEL upgraded its “limited” communications infrastructure. The move not only ensured business continuity, but also facilitated secure collaboration and inter-office connectivity.

tele.net traces the development of the company’s communications set-up…

The early days

According to Ramaswami Anantharam, chief information officer, IEL, the company’s legacy communication system was based on distributed architecture with a “collapsed core” platform. “Most of the firm’s offices used their own telecom system and the main offices were connected using a point-to-point communication system. However, this system had drawbacks such as low network availability and limited accessibility to central corporate resources and applications,” he says.

The company lacked a central system such as a service desk to provide IT support. “The limitations of the legacy system made it imperative to replace it in order to cater to the company’s growing technology requirements,” adds Anantharam.

The shift

The company began implementing its current infrastructure four years ago. It migrated to a centralised system architecture for improved network scalability, reliability, availability and security. This helped IEL access business critical applications such as file transfer protocol (FTP) servers from a central location. “In order to ensure network security, the company uses the centralised patch and unified threat management platforms. The infrastructure offers greater speeds as compared to the legacy system,” says Anantharam.

The IT major has also deployed a centralised, three-tier telecom network architecture. It tied up with several internet service providers (ISPs) to implement it. The company’s wide area network (WAN) comprises MPLS technology, a virtual private network (VPN) and ATM links. It uses full mesh MPLS links connecting all offices with dual local miles (connectivity from the multiplexer to the service provider’s points of presence) using the services of two operators. For secure data exchange, IEL uses an FTP link and VPN infrastructure. Multiple technology links, including MPLS and ATM links, are used for data exchange between the company’s development offices and clients.

For last mile access, IEL has deployed two technologies – Ethernet (including metro Ethernet) and an optic fibre network. With regard to enterprise applications, the company uses customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, a human resource management tool, a recruitment portal and a project management system. It uses an MPLS network for accessing these applications in a secure and reliable manner.

In order to secure its overall network, IEL has deployed a unified threat management solution at the network gateway level and multilevel firewalls. To ensure redundancy on its WAN network, there is an auto-failover mechanism and auto-load balancing WAN links, which include border gateway protocols.

Other components of IEL’s network include high-end servers and workstations for engineering applications, disk and tape storage as well as backup management tools. The firm has also implemented a grid e-computing system to meet its high performance computing requirements (analysis applications) and for server virtualisation; installed video-, web- and audio-conferencing equipment; set up a demilitarised zone to house corporate application servers; and deployed the “pretty good privacy” computer programme and FTP services for data encryption. IEL also has a disaster recovery and emergency planning system.

Challenges and benefits

According to Anantharam, the company faced several challenges in upgrading its communications infrastructure. These include testing various business applications to adapt them to the new infrastructure, ensuring the availability of highly secure applications at the company’s global locations, migration of services from one ISP to another, and changing the internet protocol address scheme.

Nevertheless, the benefits of an upgraded network outweighed these challenges. “Financially, the infrastructure upgrade entailed a high one-time cost. However, the return on investment was quick. The upgrade proved to be a good decision as it not only provided cost benefits, but also increased customer and employee satisfaction,” says Anantharam.

In terms of operations, the shift helped the company reduce the provisioning time for new projects. This was achieved by using internet links that are scalable with an auto-failover system, which provides secure connectivity for customers.

Going forward, IEL plans to provide its employees mobility applications and a unified communications infrastructure in a secure and reliable manner. Net, net, the deployment of new technology has helped the company ensure long-term business continuity and meet customer requirements.

IT Enabled: IEL ramps up its communications infrastructure

Infotech Enterprises Limited (IEL) provides product development solutions and life-cycle support as well as business process, network and content engineering. It caters to segments including aerospace, energy, medical, oil and gas, mining, heavy equipment, information technology, transportation, telecom and utilities. The company is present in over 36 countries and has established service delivery centres in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. It has six group companies – Infotech Enterprises Europe Limited, Infotech Enterprises America, Inc., Infotech Enterprises GmbH, Infotech Enterprises Japan KK, Infotech Enterprises Information Technology Services Limited and Infotech Geospatial (India) Limited. IEL is listed on the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange.

With business expansion, IEL upgraded its “limited” communications infrastructure. The move not only ensured business continuity, but also facilitated secure collaboration and inter-office connectivity.

tele.net traces the development of the company’s communications set-up…

The early days

According to Ramaswami Anantharam, chief information officer, IEL, the company’s legacy communication system was based on distributed architecture with a “collapsed core” platform. “Most of the firm’s offices used their own telecom system and the main offices were connected using a point-to-point communication system. However, this system had drawbacks such as low network availability and limited accessibility to central corporate resources and applications,” he says.

The company lacked a central system such as a service desk to provide IT support. “The limitations of the legacy system made it imperative to replace it in order to cater to the company’s growing technology requirements,” adds Anantharam.

The shift

The company began implementing its current infrastructure four years ago. It migrated to a centralised system architecture for improved network scalability, reliability, availability and security. This helped IEL access business critical applications such as file transfer protocol (FTP) servers from a central location. “In order to ensure network security, the company uses the centralised patch and unified threat management platforms. The infrastructure offers greater speeds as compared to the legacy system,” says Anantharam.

The IT major has also deployed a centralised, three-tier telecom network architecture. It tied up with several internet service providers (ISPs) to implement it. The company’s wide area network (WAN) comprises MPLS technology, a virtual private network (VPN) and ATM links. It uses full mesh MPLS links connecting all offices with dual local miles (connectivity from the multiplexer to the service provider’s points of presence) using the services of two operators. For secure data exchange, IEL uses an FTP link and VPN infrastructure. Multiple technology links, including MPLS and ATM links, are used for data exchange between the company’s development offices and clients.

For last mile access, IEL has deployed two technologies – Ethernet (including metro Ethernet) and an optic fibre network. With regard to enterprise applications, the company uses customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, a human resource management tool, a recruitment portal and a project management system. It uses an MPLS network for accessing these applications in a secure and reliable manner.

In order to secure its overall network, IEL has deployed a unified threat management solution at the network gateway level and multilevel firewalls. To ensure redundancy on its WAN network, there is an auto-failover mechanism and auto-load balancing WAN links, which include border gateway protocols.

Other components of IEL’s network include high-end servers and workstations for engineering applications, disk and tape storage as well as backup management tools. The firm has also implemented a grid e-computing system to meet its high performance computing requirements (analysis applications) and for server virtualisation; installed video-, web- and audio-conferencing equipment; set up a demilitarised zone to house corporate application servers; and deployed the “pretty good privacy” computer programme and FTP services for data encryption. IEL also has a disaster recovery and emergency planning system.

Challenges and benefits

According to Anantharam, the company faced several challenges in upgrading its communications infrastructure. These include testing various business applications to adapt them to the new infrastructure, ensuring the availability of highly secure applications at the company’s global locations, migration of services from one ISP to another, and changing the internet protocol address scheme.

Nevertheless, the benefits of an upgraded network outweighed these challenges. “Financially, the infrastructure upgrade entailed a high one-time cost. However, the return on investment was quick. The upgrade proved to be a good decision as it not only provided cost benefits, but also increased customer and employee satisfaction,” says Anantharam.

In terms of operations, the shift helped the company reduce the provisioning time for new projects. This was achieved by using internet links that are scalable with an auto-failover system, which provides secure connectivity for customers.

Going forward, IEL plans to provide its employees mobility applications and a unified communications infrastructure in a secure and reliable manner. Net, net, the deployment of new technology has helped the company ensure long-term business continuity and meet customer requirements.

 
 
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