SDWAN replaces legacy MPLS for Pan African law firm
Ken Davidson, Head of Information Technology, Bowmans

SDWAN replaces legacy MPLS for Pan African law firm

The business of Bowmans, a big five law firm based out of South Africa, with seven offices in Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia was limited by its legacy networking infrastructure, till CMC Networks created an end-to-end solution to enable flexible and seamless connectivity.

With over 500 specialist lawyers, Bowmans draws on its unique knowledge of the business and socio-political environment in Africa to advise clients on a wide range of legal issues. Its enviable track record of providing legal services to the highest professional standards spans corporate, finance, competition, taxation, employment, technology and dispute resolution matters.

Everywhere it operates, Bowmans offers its clients a service that uniquely blends expertise in the law, knowledge of the local market, and an understanding of their businesses. The firm’s aim is to assist its clients to achieve their objectives as smoothly and efficiently as possible while minimising the legal and regulatory risks.

CMC Networks has been selected by Bowmans to transform its legacy Multiprotocol Label Switching, MPLS network to a software-defined wide-area network, SD-WAN. Bowmans is one of the Big Five law firms in South Africa, with seven offices across Africa in Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. CMC Networks created an end-to-end solution to enable flexible and seamless connectivity between the different African markets in which Bowmans operates in October this year.

“Bowmans is continually looking at new growth opportunities across the continent, and we needed our network to match our pace of business,” said Ken Davidson, Head of Information Technology at Bowmans.

“The team at CMC Networks understood our specific requirements, assessed our current network, and developed a plan that worked alongside our growth roadmap. The entire process has been seamless from start to finish, and we look forward to making the full move from MPLS to SD-WAN with an expert team by our side.”

CMC Networks implemented the SD-WAN for Bowmans using a mixture of its IP Premier Direct Internet Access, DIA service and a third-party broadband Internet service. The solution delivered a hybrid network consisting of a fully meshed Juniper Session Smart Router, SSR SD-WAN with high availability nodes at each branch location, interconnected with Bowmans’ existing MPLS.

This will facilitate the long-term migration from MPLS to SD-WAN, enabling branches to be migrated in a phased approach to increase cost-efficiency, network performance, and customer experiences across markets.

CMC’s IP Premier was configured as the primary connectivity service, with the third-party broadband used as a backup or failover service. CMC also deployed an additional node in cold-standby mode at each SD-WAN branch to reduce the risk of operational downtime for Bowmans.

A high availability node was deployed in one of CMC’s Johannesburg data centres to facilitate interconnectivity with Bowmans’ existing MPLS network. An additional virtual appliance was then deployed in Microsoft Azure to connect the network to Bowmans’ workloads running in Azure South Africa North. To provide an additional level of redundancy to Azure, CMC deployed a MSFT ExpressRoute from the node in its data centre.

CMC is also providing Bowmans with rack space in its data centre to host its security equipment such as firewalls, VPN aggregators and DMZ switches.

The network is delivered as a fully managed service from CMC Networks, with a full suite of service management services including a dedicated service manager, SLA reporting, trend analysis and extensive consulting.

“Legacy MPLS networks can be very rigid and unable to keep up with the demands of flexible and cloud-first business landscape. Enterprises in Africa and beyond need to adopt new networking models like SD-WAN to move at the speed of the market,” said Marisa Trisolino, CEO at CMC Networks.

“The entire team at CMC have extensive experience across all the African markets Bowmans operates in, which has helped us to build a bespoke solution built on expert knowledge.”

Global business continuity

In July this year, CMC Networks launched its international business continuity solution to mitigate risks during the South Africa energy crisis. The solution enables businesses in South Africa and across the world to maintain their operations and optimise applications and services, even during extended power outages.

South Africa regularly experiences severe electricity blackouts due to ageing coal power plants. This loadshedding is estimated to cost the economy $51 million a day according to the country’s central bank estimates. CMC Networks’ business continuity solution combines satellite technology, software-defined wide-area networking, SD-WAN, and customised cross-border and data centre connectivity options to keep businesses functioning during extended power cuts.

“The energy crisis is no doubt causing concerns for all kinds of businesses in South Africa, but we want to take this stress away,” said Marisa Trisolino, CEO at CMC Networks.

Marisa Trisolino, CEO CMC Networks
Marisa Trisolino, CEO CMC Networks

“Both local and global businesses can rely on us to closely monitor their network and ensure uptime, even during unforeseen events. We are helping businesses to maintain revenues, reputation and trust from their customers, instead of shutting down during a crisis.”

CMC Networks collaborates with businesses to create strategies for business continuity that bypass the need to rely on local Internet connections, providing visibility and control even in the most challenging and extreme conditions. The solution is not limited to South Africa, but can be applied on a global scale to overcome different energy crises.

“The team at CMC Networks understands a customer’s operational environment, risk profiles and unique demands, then develops bespoke solutions to ensure business continuity,” said Geoff Dornan, CTO at CMC Networks.

“We have local and global digital infrastructure and a proven track record of enabling digital transformation wherever our customers operate. We are committed to taking the technical and operational stresses away from our customers, so that they can focus on their core business instead.”

Click below to share this article

Browse our latest issue

Intelligent CIO Africa

View Magazine Archive