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Norco, Inc. has been a Syringa Networks customer since 2009. Together, Norco and Syringa Networks have created more than a stable, flexible network—we created a lasting business partnership. Norco is the largest and most profitable private welding company in America, and continues to expand into the medical market.
Norco currently operates over 40 branches in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Utah, and Wyoming, has revenues of $250 million annually, and over 800 employees. Given Norco’s large operations, business continuity and minimizing downtime are primary goals, and a stable network is critical.
When Norco’s network carrier went out of business and gave them 30 days to find a new provider, they turned to us to provide a new WAN connection within a short time frame.
“We were in the hot seat, needed somebody to save us, and Syringa Networks was there,” said Chris Dominiak, Director of Information Services and Technologies at Norco, Inc.
Norco needed a solution that could be flexible, yet also allow business operations to continue as normal. “Syringa Networks was the only company that could keep our network up and in business without downtime,” Dominiak said.
We were able to provide a solution that is comprised of our MPLS network at its core, and a mix of T1s, bonded T1s, DSL, and Ethernet services at the endpoints. The Norco WAN is also highly complex in terms of the multiple vendors Syringa Networks manages on Norco’s behalf, because no provider has access into all of the states that Norco does business in.
After we gained more knowledge of the Norco network, we met to reevaluate the infrastructure and determined that a fiber build into the headquarters location and the disaster recovery site in Meridian, Idaho was the logical next step.
Previously, Norco’s disaster recovery site was a “cold site”—the data environment would have to be replicated manually in the event that the headquarters location was compromised. With the new fiber build and the continuous ring created between the disaster recovery site, the headquarters, and the remote sites, the disaster recovery site is always replicating and all of Norco’s locations can pull new data into the site continuously.
“We’re consolidating in some areas and handing them to Syringa Networks, and the result is to give Norco a better disaster recovery plan,” Dominiak said.
The new network solution provided immediate benefits for Norco, including:
Decreased outages by 20%
Lowered operating costs by 10%
Norco’s mission-critical sites always need to be up, so the new fiber optic network configuration will minimize downtime and increase service levels. We manage the network end-to-end, which allows us more visibility into the network, and constantly monitor the network to prevent downtime and respond quickly to any issues.
“Norco no longer has to rely on other vendors when it comes to network issues,” said Gabe Gomez, Syringa Networks sales engineer on the project.
When the new fiber build is complete this fall, Norco’s network will be ready for the future.
“Most carriers don’t offer flexibility,” Dominiak said. “The Syringa Networks model is completely different. They say, ‘What can we build to improve your network?’”
The Idaho Department of Correction plays an integral role in the safety of Idaho communities. Comprised of 36 facilities throughout the state and over 1,500 employees, the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) relies heavily on communication systems both internal and external to their organization.
The staff at the IDOC utilizes these systems to manage a number of day-to-day activities including inmate management, parolee tracking, and sex offender registration— all of which are critical elements of public safety.
The department operates a central administrative office, eight correctional institutions, four community work centers, and 22 probation/parole district and satellite offices.
Beginning in 2007, the IDOC began experiencing network outages with their service provider—sometimes as many as five outages in given month. The IDOC IT team attempted to work through the issues with their provider, but was frequently left on hold without answers.
“An outage means that parole officers can’t track offenders with ankle bracelets, correctional officers can’t utilize gang affiliation systems, and those under house arrest are not able to be tracked,” said Mike Griffin, Senior Integration Analyst for the IDOC. “These systems are mission- critical for us and we count on our service provider to be there for us.”
In the spring of 2008, the IDOC experienced a massive outage with all 36 sites down for 48 hours. During the outage, a number of critical services were unavailable including CIS, a multi-state prisoner management system hosted in Idaho. This system is used to administer movement of prisoners within and between facilities and includes critical data such as gang affiliations.
“An outage like this starts to add up in dollars as well. Entire prisons are frozen and field officers are unable to perform their duties,” Griffin said. “We knew it was time to find another service provider.”
After many months of evaluation and planning, the IDOC identified Syringa Networks as their new service provider in February 2009. Although smaller in size than the IDOC’s previous provider, Syringa Networks has an established regional network that was purpose-built just for the IDOC’s mission-critical applications.
“We were a little concerned at first about the size of Syringa Networks, but their network has been completely world-class,” Griffin said.
Syringa Networks provided the IDOC with a Gigabit Ethernet connection at their main facility and took the lead on managing their circuits to the other 35 sites, resulting in substantial cost savings.
In the first six months of service, the IDOC saved over $100,000 in network service. Other savings were realized as a result of network uptime, avoiding the lost man- hours the IDOC had been experiencing with their previous service provider.
“Since we have moved to Syringa Networks we have had ZERO outages— and when we need to reach someone, we have a direct contact with their engineering staff,” Griffin said.
Syringa Networks facilities-based fiber optic network is a self-healing ring that is dual-protected by both SONET and DWDM technologies, meaning that a complete fiber cut takes only 50 milliseconds to recover. Additional safeguards include 100% buried fiber routes that reduce the chances of vandalism and weather-related outages, as well as diverse routes that remove single points of failure. This level of reliability makes Syringa Networks an ideal provider for businesses and agencies like the IDOC with mission-critical applications.
“We were surprised to learn that such a robust network was right here in Idaho. It’s a bonus that Syringa Networks is an Idaho company. The performance and cost savings make it an easy choice for us. They have been a great partner for us,” Griffin said.
Syringa is an outstanding company, capable of meeting the needs of the Idaho Transportation Department now and for the foreseeable future. With their client oriented approach and technical knowledge, Syringa has become a valued member of the ITD team.
Syringa provides established infrastructure and engineering expertise allowing us to develop cost effective solutions tailored to OUR requirements, instead of forcing us to buy packages of capability and options we don’t need. Solutions that can be implemented in our most remote locations as effectively as in downtown Boise.
Jeff Morris is the key to our relationship with Syringa. Jeff and his team have saved us time and resource, working with each of the service providers to ensure we have the best, most reliable service.
Syringa has far exceeded our expectations when it comes to customer service, technical solutions, cost effectiveness, and flexibility. Their personal and professional dedication to the emerging Idaho Transportation Department mission is directly responsible for improved telecommunications for the citizens of Idaho.
Infrastructure and Operations Manager
Enterprise Services Technology
Idaho Transportation Department
This letter is to state our level of satisfaction with Syringa Networks. In 1995 we had 19 branches all interconnected with T1 lines using Qwest as a provider, even though we did not have any particular issues, we received a proposal from Syringa Networks to be our Internal WAN Provider.
The cost of operations was substantially lower than with Qwest, but at the time we had our doubts (Syringa Networks being a younger company) of the quality of service that could be provided. We decided to give them a try and switched all our connections to them. To our delight, our doubts were unfounded and the quality of service provided to us has been exceptional.
Through a successful partnership with Syringa Networks, we have been able to reduce our costs of operation and at the same time implement a more robust Wide Area Network infrastructure. The reliability of their Network is well above average and their customer support is one of the best we deal with.
We strongly recommend Syringa Networks to anyone trying to implement a WAN.
D. L. Evans Bank of Idaho
We partner with each customer to meet their unique business requirements.
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