A U.S. government organization that provides goods and services to military veterans throughout the world, needed to replace 1,400 Cisco routers at hundreds of locations that spanned twenty-five (25) countries. The customer was informed by Cisco that routers they had deployed only one (1) year prior contained a manufacturing defect that required their immediate replacement. Cisco turned to GDT, who had prior experience deploying large-scale solutions for the customer, to complete the extensive router replacement project. To add to the level of complexity, the customer, due to the nature of its business, had a self-imposed moratorium on network deployments during their 3-month holiday shopping season.
GDT Project Management
A worldwide router replacement project that doesn’t combine the stringent demands the customer placed on GDT’s Project Management professionals would be more than most OEMs or network integrators could handle. But when the deployment needs to be completed within a tight, four (4) month installation window, encompasses twenty-five (25) countries, requires each asset be individually staged, customized and configured, the task takes on otherworldly, Titanic proportions. GDT’s project management professionals crafted a detailed plan that incorporated practices from Labs and Staging, Logistics, Engineering and Field Operations to successfully deliver on its “One GDT” approach and philosophy.
Staging and Integration
First, GDT’s Integration Lab and Staging Center, a 1.7 million cu. ft. state-of-the-art facility staffed by talented, tenured engineers, received empty chassis from Cisco, within which various components and routers, each requiring customization, were installed. The customer utilized one (1) of three (3) different Cisco integrated routers (4321, 4331 and 4351), two (2) of which required an immediate memory upgrade upon receipt. After all equipment was tested and burned-in to ensure power and operability, GDT’s Logistics practice ensured that each of the locations received the assets prior to the arrival of field technicians, who installed and testing each piece of equipment.
Technicians both in the field and at the customer’s Network Operations Center
GDT’s field installation technicians were deployed in the Continental United States and worldwide to install and test each piece of equipment. To add to the complexity, government regulations prevented configurations from being sent ahead of time. As a result, GDT’s field technicians had to configure each router on-site. Two (2) international field technician teams, divided between Europe and the Pacific Rim, worked through disparate time zones and, when a location was in a restricted travel zone, required a technician to be on-hand at the customer’s NOC to ensure there were no implementation and/or connectivity issues. The replacement of 1,400 Cisco routers was literally an around-the-clock project.
When it all comes together―that’s “One GDT”
The coordination of a router replacement project encompassing dozens of time zones and countries, requiring the customization and testing of 1,400 routers, and deploying a team of field installation technicians to install and test each device is a daunting job. But when it’s accomplished, and the customer is both happy and amazed by the collective work of, and collaboration between, GDT departments and practices, it’s testament to the “One GDT” approach.