of the secrets behind Digital GlobalSoft's wins is its
highly available infrastructure. The network infrastructure
at all its facilities has enough resilience built-in,
resulting in high availability. by Mahesh Rathod
a key player in the Infrastructure Management services
space, Digital GlobalSoft needed to build a tough service
delivery infrastructure for its 600 Indian employees
and to manage eBusiness platforms for its customer base
in India and abroad. This called for an investment in
a world-class, multi-service, robust & scalable
networking solution at Digital's 25-acre campus in Bangalore.
After a painstaking selection procedure, the choice
narrowed down to Cisco Systems, who along with Digital's
systems integration team designed, implemented and rolled
out an end-to-end network.
Building a robust campus network was crucial. "One
of the main factor was that in offshore service delivery,
we need to give our clients a high-level of comfort
that the infrastructure used from India is highly secure
and available," said A. N. Rao, Chief Information
Officer, Digital GlobalSoft.
Rao further added that the network infrastructure at
Digital's campus needed to have the flexibility to support
various forms of connectivity in terms of cost, traffic,
security and access, and be able to handle all kinds
of communications needs. While implementing the network,
care had to be taken that changes in technology should
not render the entire effort completely redundant and
that the infrastructure should be able to accept new
technologies in future.
Since the IT implementation was a mission critical one,
picking a solution provider was based on various specifications.
"The first criterion was how specific technology
vendors fitted in our business functionality. Secondly,
we looked at the credibility of the vendor in terms
of technology, solutions and their capability to integrate
voice services to data services," said Rao. Companies
like Cisco Systems, Enterasys Networks, Nortel Networks,
and a representative of Juniper Networks were called
to make their solution presentations. After a thorough
technical and commercial evaluation of all the vendors,
Cisco Systems was chosen to implement the network.
has a key role in the infrastructure management services
space and as a natural extension is setting up a state-of-the-art
Technical Support Contact Center. This mandates the
investment in a world-class, robust & scalable networking
solution. The Cisco solution is geared to provide just
that," said Rao.
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needed a network infrastructure to provide services
to two distinct sets of customers. One was to cater
to Digital's own developers at the Digital park campus
and at client locations. The other set were Digital's
customers in the US and Asia-Pacific.
On the campus, Digital went in for a five-tier switching
architecture. Starting at the user end, each set of
100 users are connected to the access switch, and all
the access switches land on to a building aggregation
switch in two paths. Access switches have a failover
controller card with an extra power supply.
All the building aggregation switches are connected
with dual home into two independent sets of campus aggregation
switches on two different fiber paths. Each fiber path
has two strands, if one strand goes down, the other
takes over. All the building aggregation switches dual
home into two data centers, each housing a campus aggregation
switch. The data center provides Internet Hosting Services
that manage eBusiness platforms for Digital's customers
in India and abroad
Campus switches are connected to server farm switches
in a criss-cross fashion. All the servers are on gigabit
connectivity and connected to the server farm switch.
The other side of the servers are connected to the fiber
channel switches on to which the SAN (Storage Area Network)
system and the tape-based back-up system are connected.
Digital has adopted various applications to suit its
business needs. "We are the first site in India
to go live with SAP 4.6. SAP is our transaction backbone,
which manages our financial and cost-management, sales
operations and HR management. Opportunity management
is managed on Digiport a Customer Relationship Management
product," said Rao. An intranet acts as the front-end
for a range of applications like the Knowledge Management
portal and Personal Manager.
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THE WIDER SIDE
operates out of four facilities in Bangalore and one
proximity development center in Houston, USA. The locations
in Bangalore are well connected by a robust fiber optic
MAN backbone (4/8 Mbps), and are backed up by a radio
link (2/4 Mbps) in case of failure. The connectivity
to Houston is a 256 Kbps IPLC (international private
leased circuit) link, which is backed up by an ISDN
On the wide area side, Digital has direct connectivity
to its parent company Compaq. For this purpose there
are dual fiber and satellite connections leading to
Compaq's network. STPI and AT&T provide the 2 MB
satellite connectivity, whereas VSNL and MCI provide
the fiber connectivity to Compaq. Digital customers
like GE and Unilever are also connected using a dedicated
IPLC link and a shared network a hub in Houston and
Bangalore has been set up for customers who are willing
to share network infrastructure.
COMMUNICATING THE EASY WAY
Multiple modes of communication have been set up to
cater to different needs. "Since we have people
spread out across faculties, we needed multiple modes
of cost effective and convenient communications. For
this we decided to introduce IP telephony on our campus,"
says Rao. Cisco's IP Telephony solution connects Digital
Park to the company's head office in Houston, Texas,
as well as Digital's other offices around the world.
All desks in the campus have IP telephony and videoconferencing
facilities. To make messaging easy, MS Exchange has
Company: Digital GlobalSoft
is a globally focused software development and services
company headquartered in Bangalore, India. Digital
is the only listed subsidiary of Compaq Computer
Corporation USA that is exclusively focused on software
The company required a service delivery IT infrastructure
to provide a range of professional services to
its clients in India and abroad.
The Solution: Building a multi-service,
scalable and end-to-end network with a comprehensive
array of networking solutions including IP Telephony,
VPN, Security and Network Management Solutions
at the Digital Park Campus.
The Benefits: The network implementation
has helped Digital to grow and acquire more customers
by leveraging on an available, scalable, reliable
and flexible infrastructure.
THE SAFER SIDE
With this kind of complex network, various management
tools for proactive monitoring have been implemented.
Spectrum is used for network and device monitoring,
Compaq Insight Manager for hardware health monitoring
and sniffers to analyze traffic patterns on the network.
A powerful three-tier virus management system is installed
to block virus attacks. Cisco's IDS (Intrusion Detection
System) and PIX Firewall provides a real-time security
system designed to detect, report and terminate unauthorized
activity both from within and outside its network.
The core which consists of fiber switches, server farm
switches, campus switches and the SAN sits in a physically
secure data center, which has multiple access controls,
24x7 surveillance, and is fireproof and seismic proof.
"The entire infrastructure is monitored on a 24x7
basis, and if any abnormal event is detected, the communications
tool pages cellular phones of members of the infrastructure
team, who then take appropriate action," said Rao.
Tape libraries with robotic arms, running Veritas NetBackup
are used to take backup on an hourly, nightly, monthly
and weekly basis.
Digital has spent crores of rupees on this new infrastructure.
But is the cost justified? What about the ROI and benefits?
having spent in the range of Rs 20 crore for the end-to-end
solution, we are able to boldly solicit customers since
we are sure of available, reliable and scalable infrastructure
at short notice. One of the secrets behind Digital's
wins is its highly available infrastructure. The network
infrastructure at all the facilities has enough resilience
built-in resulting in high availability. Our customers
and Digital employees are happy with the deployment,"
says Rao. "The infrastructure that we have built
along with a carrier-class data center, can easily scale
up to 4,500 users. The network will pay up as we use
services like voice, broadcast, multicast, streaming
video and videoconferencing," added Rao.
Mahesh Rathod can be reached at email@example.com