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Service King Auto Repair Centers Smooth Out Networking Bumps with SD-WAN

July 06, 2016

By Laura Stotler, SD-WAN Contributing Editor

Service King Collision Repair Centers is a rapidly expanding auto repair center chain with facilities in 23 states. The company needed an affordable and efficient solution for bringing new centers online quickly and providing broadband connectivity. With a traditional wide area network (WAN) footprint already in place, the decision to use SD-WAN to meet its networking needs was pretty much a no-brainer.

Derek Kramer, CIO of Service King, recently told CIO magazine that the company had previously been using MPLS for its networking needs. But as the number of locations grew at a rapid pace, from 100 centers in 2012 to more than 300 today, MPLS simply wasn’t fast nor efficient enough to meet the company’s needs.

"MPLS has done well, but can it grow as quickly as we're growing?" asked Kramer. "We found more times than not that was a challenge." For instance, setting up new branches using the MPLS network typically took several weeks or more. That pace was simply not fast enough for Service King, which was tasked with setting up 20 to 30 new centers in a single week in recent years, thanks to its phenomenal growth rate.

After consulting with technology partner Dell, the company turned to SD-WAN provider Silver Peak (News - Alert) and was in production with an SD-WAN solution by March of this year. More than 75 percent of the company’s branch offices are using SD-WAN today and Kramer estimates Service King has cut networking costs by 30 percent. New branches are also brought onto the network in a matter of days now, versus weeks or months.

"We saw a great uplift in our network bandwidth throughput and we saw a much more relaxed network at all of the locations that we tried it out with," said Kramer of the company’s SD-WAN implementations. An additional benefit is that Silver Peak offers endpoint-to-endpoint encryption, protecting customer data shared with insurance carrier partners relating to motor vehicle claims.

Service King is joining the ranks of other multi-site enterprises like private fitness club operator The Bay Club Company in turning to SD-WAN for its networking needs. According to Gartner Group, 10 percent of enterprises are slated to replace traditional WAN routing with SD-WANs by the end of 2018. An IDC (News - Alert) survey goes farther, showing nearly half of enterprises are considering migrating to SD-WAN over the next two years. And at least five global carriers will integrate SD-WAN into their managed network service designs by the end of 2017. Clearly SD-WAN offers a compelling value proposition, and as more enterprises report on its efficiencies and benefits, deployments will continue to rise.

Edited by Maurice Nagle