When a large government agency decided to refresh its infrastructure down to Layer 2 switches, Forward Networks data delivered over $6 million in savings. Like many companies around the world, this organization had challenges getting full visibility and the structure of its network, which had grown organically over time.

Initially, Forward Enterprise played a key role in providing accurate information that saved hours of manual effort by eliminating the need to manually synchronize spreadsheets from various inventory tools and internal sub-organisations. While that was certainly valuable, the real cost savings occurred through the rapid insights the platform provided.

The company's IT team wanted to understand everything connected to its network switches in hopes of finding ways to cut costs. Specifically, the team wanted to understand why its network was dependent upon a large number of 100M interfaces, which are considerably more expensive than standardizing on the more common 1G Ethernet standard.

To answer those questions, Forward's Network Query Engine (NQE) was used to create a list of all the devices connected to the network switches by MAC and VLAN. That list was then cross-referenced with the manufacturer to determine what was actually connected to the company's network switches. The results showed that the IT team didn’t need to support the 100M interfaces because the devices connected would support 1G. As such, the network was upgraded to 1G across the board, saving the agency more than $6 million. 

The agency stated that without Forward Enterprise, the inventory would never have been done at all, resulting in device failures, support for unnecessary devices, and wasteful expenditures. NQE helps to solve common challenges in network automation when it comes to retrieving network device configuration and state to verify the network posture. Customers with large networks comprised of many different vendors, technologies, and deployments, including on-prem and cloud, find this functionality extremely valuable.

The agency was able to clearly understand its network topology because Forward Enterprise organizes network information like a database, including the number of devices, physical and logical topology, maps of all possible traffic paths, device state, and configuration. Using that data, NQE makes finding information in the network as intuitive and quick as performing a web browser search.

To learn more about how you can use Forward Networks to verify your networks and automate timely processes, schedule a demo today. Be sure to read our other blogs in this series about how Forward Networks is impacting enterprise networks around the world, including Six-Figure Savings: How A Financial Institution Banked On NQE For Massive Returns; From Days To Minutes: Digital Media Provider Uses Forward Networks To Overhaul Reconciliation; and Confidence In Action: Investment Bank Uses Forward Networks To Verify Automation Software.

As one large, global financial institution prepared for employees to return to the office, its IT team identified a significant issue with the company's more than 8,000 access switches. The switches in question were used to provide connectivity to IP Phones – a crucial part of people's work across virtually all areas of the company.

In many cases, the 8,000 phones in question had essentially been unused for almost two years, as the pandemic forced people to work from home using alternate communication devices. As some users returned to the office they found the IP phones were not functioning. The bank's IT team discovered that the recently upgraded access switches had a configuration that rendered the phones inoperable due to a software defect.

Identifying the misconfigured switches was a laborious process that required engineers to manually examine the configurations of all 8,000 switches. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the configuration wasn't consistent across the fleet of switches. This increased the complexity of identifying which devices needed to be rolled back.

At that point, the IT team turned to Forward Networks to determine whether its Network Query Engine (NQE) could simplify the process of identifying misconfigured switches and shorten the time for rolling back the configuration. NQE enables users to easily build verification checks – like those needed by the bank – that work across the entire fleet of devices in a network.

The IT team provided a list of requirements needed to identify misconfigured switches – checking for certain characteristics, ignoring others. Additionally, the IT team wanted a report of the findings so the third party could be tasked with repairing those switches.

By utilizing NQE, the bank's IT team was able to identify all of the switches that needed to be rolled back (6,000 of 8,000) in less than a day. Instead of manually trying to identify devices that were misconfigured, the financial institution's IT team was able to simply create criteria for doing so, and the Forward Networks platform did all of the work — at a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time. After the configuration was rolled back, the bank’s IT team was also able to use Forward Networks NQE to validate if the rolled back configuration was accurate.

Without NQE, it would have taken an average of about five minutes per switch to check for the misconfiguration. Manually checking 8,000 devices at five minutes per switch would have taken the bank's IT team at least 667 hours. By assuming a rate of $150 per hour, the bank would have spent more than $100,000 to manually complete the project. By utilizing Forward Networks and NQE to identify the misconfigured switches, the bank was able to lower the cost of the project significantly and save time.

To learn more about how you can use Forward Networks and NQE to automate labor-intensive, costly processes, schedule a demo today. Be sure to read our other blogs in this series about how Forward Networks is impacting enterprise networks around the world, including From Days To Minutes: Digital Media Provider Uses Forward Networks To Overhaul Reconciliation and Confidence In Action: Investment Bank Uses Forward Networks To Verify Automation Software.

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