In the publishing world, just about everything revolves around deadlines. Writers, editors and graphic artists are all in a perpetually frenzied state, trying to meet the daunting demands of creating a quality product within a strict and often, non-negotiable, timeframe. The pressure is even more intense for magazines, newspapers and journals which require frequent and timely publishing.
Once the creative content is assembled, the pressure reverts to the printing company to turn out the physical product within a tight window and release the completed work to their supply chain for immediate distribution.
It's for those reasons and more that a large printing company such as Dartmouth Printing of Hanover, New Hampshire simply cannot afford any downtime, period.
“We are a printer of publications and a 24/7 shop.", says Jennifer Libuda, Dartmouth's IT Manager. "We have huge files coming in over the Internet and if we were down for even one hour, it would cost us thousands of dollars, not to mention what it would ultimately cost our customers. The stakes are very high."
To begin the printing process, Dartmouth relies heavily on the Internet to receive files from its customers. Having experienced Internet failures in the past, Libuda knew that she would have to come up with a solution that provided several layers of redundancy rather than relying solely on her single Internet Service Provider.
That solution came in the form of the Powerlink 200 WAN Optimization Controller from Ecessa Corporation (http://www.ecessa.com) of Minneapolis.
Ecessa provides Wide Area Network optimization products that enable automated link failover and recovery, as well as server and site failover features to avoid network, and ultimately, business downtime. The PowerLink 200 enables redundant WAN and ISP access to be actively used for both outbound and inbound sessions as well as automated and seamless ISP failover.
Says Libuda: "We looked at a number of companies and products as far as capability, experience and pricing, and Ecessa was the standout choice.
“We worked with their tech support people who were fantastic. They walked us through every step of the way. Now that we have two ISPs we never have downtime. That is a key point and factor for us. I can’t say enough about the product.”
“In fact, two of our sister companies have also implemented the Ecessa product and we now can do faster point to point file sharing between our sites by having our ‘Ecessas’ talk to each other across the multiple WANs. That’s a real key feature. We also use the DNS with our other sister companies, and if our site goes down we would still be able to receive traffic from our customers across their local WAN.”
John Addington, manager of Ecessa’s Technical Design team, elaborates: “Dartmouth Printing needed a solution where they could not only increase their bandwidth to pass large data files in between their office and sister companies’ locations, but also have uninterrupted failover in the event that one of the ISP connections were to experience an outage. Dartmouth Printing implemented our Site-to-Site Channel Bonding functionality with a PowerLink 200 at each location to let them combine the bandwidth between sites for these large transfers and to mitigate outages. They have since added a third office with this functionality.”
“The product does exactly what Ecessa says it will,” asserts Libuda. “You can do broadband sharing, you can switch between ISPs easily for both inbound and outbound traffic. One of our sister companies is looking into a third ISP to alleviate traffic to their FTP site. For us, Ecessa is versatile, it’s reliable, and it does exactly what it is supposed to do."
Along with WAN failover and aggregation, Dartmouth Printing and their sister company leverage a feature called Dual Role DNS to safeguard their business against an entire site going offline due to power outages, natural events, or a severing of their entire WAN infrastructure.
“Because their locations have inbound services hosted at each of the sites, Dartmouth Printing was looking for a way to leverage both locations to provide backup public DNS resolution for both companies’ domains,” comments Addington. “They took advantage of Ecessa’s Dual Role Authoritative DNS functionality (aka Site Failover) to allow the PowerLinks to share DNS zone file information with each other, as well as have their own backup configuration if the one location is unreachable. This protects them not only from ISP line failures for their inbound services, but also location outages.”
Libuda says her company is opening a satellite office in Virginia and is putting in the Ecessa product there as well. She adds: "As we grow, Ecessa can grow with us and I can see many options where we can expand our relationship with them. We are delighted and would recommend Ecessa to any enterprise like ours that just can't afford to experience downtime. Printing is an industry where the qualities of Ecessa come to the rescue."
These days no one at Dartmouth ever yells "stop the presses", because at Dartmouth, thanks to Ecessa, the presses never need to stop.