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Guitar Center's Dual WANs Keep Traffic in Tune

 
 

The company last year beefed up the frame relay network with compression and QoS (quality of service) to ensure the POS and inventory applications got priority, which was cheaper than expanding capacity. To get those new features, Guitar Center installed Packeteer PacketShaper QoS and compression appliances (see "The Hard Sell"). "We wanted to protect the point-of-sale system at all costs," Hill says. "We didn't want a customer waiting at the register."

To avoid disturbing the busiest retail seasons for Guitar Center stores--its current 41st anniversary celebration and the upcoming holiday rush--the company is phasing in the VPN pilot slowly. If all goes well, most Guitar Center stores will be online by January with NetScreen 5GT VPN appliances and DSL VPN connections, Hill says. "Our goal was to leave everything in place as much as possible," he says. "That prevents us from tampering with mission-critical stuff. ... The goal is maximum uptime and minimum disruption."

But configuring the new IP VPN as a backup transport for the POS traffic has been tricky (see "Lessons Learned").

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