Consolidating a network to provide access to remote locations and managing a
converged network service has always been crucial for companies that have
scattered branch offices. The problem is compounded when a branch office is
located in a topographically difficult region, over hilly mountains or icy
This was exactly the case with Blue Star, which has offices spanning across
29 cities. The company needed remote presence at its manufacturing units. It was
looking for 24/7 connectivity across all these locations and therefore, decided
to bank on its long time IT service provider-HCL Infinet.
To solve the problem, HCL Infinet planned, designed and recently provisioned
network consolidation and collocation solution for Blue Star, which is deemed to
be a pioneer in India’s air-conditioning solutions space.
Rahul Mehta, Senior GM-IT, Blue Star said, “We had three major needs-EDM
connectivity with adequate bandwidth, total outsourcing of the data center and a
holistic approach to our networking solutions.”
The company was in an urgent need of a complete turnkey solution, offering a
single trustworthy network service provider for an end-to-end WAN VPN
Infrastructure and a host and support applications in the HCL Infinet data
The project posed a lot of challenges for HCL. Working in a widespread
network environment with remote connectivity was no mean feat. Also, HCL said
that provisioning for connectivity at Blue Star’s remote location, like Kala Amb
was a major hindrance to the project as no other ISPs were feasible at such a
remote location and mapping of each of the 29 office locations and then
implementing the actual media (radio frequency, leased line) as per the location
was was difficult too.
Additionally, migrating Blue Star’s servers, routers and security equipments
to HCL’s data center in Mumbai was another task at hand.
The collocation solution
HCL, instead of implementing a linked networking solution, decided to create a
separate network environment solution, a MPLS-VPN solution and a collocation
solution for the company’s needs.
Different bandwidth and local loop solutions were then configured for
different Blue Star divisions as specified by their quality of service (QoS)
requirement and also primary link on certain locations was provided on leased
line while secondary link was provided on RF or ISDN. Also, in some of the
locales, RF was provided as primary link subjected to the feasibility in the
On remote location like Kala Amb, HCL offered a ‘mix and match combination’
based on RF and Leased line, wherein from HCL Chandigarh POP BSL’s link was
terminated on leased line to Bharati’s Base Transmission Station and from
Bharati’s end, BST Link was terminated on RF to Blue Star’s location in Kala Amb.
On the data-center solutions front, collocation services formed a major part
of the overall solution proposed. In case of this deployment, initially, HCL
implemented the Baan ERP for all its divisions and at all locations in phases,
under a project named ‘Manthan’. Currently Blue Star has a total of three
applications across Baan, Bid Estimation and Sales Force Automation. The company
is using Microsoft Exchange as the e-mail platform for inter-office
communication and has central server hosted by Blue Star and number of site
servers. These servers communicate to each other using VPN through Internet.
In its unique project of offering three different solution portals co-related
with its network integration mapping, HCL co-located a total of 48 servers in
the Mumbai data center which includes Baan Server, SAP Server and Production
server. Also, HCL has facilitated provision for efficient back up services
including daily log backup, Baan DB backup on Single DLT, daily full Informix
data backup, monthly OS, Informix, Baan and SFA application backup and more than
4 unscheduled backups to be carried out in a year.
An efficient precision and redundant air-conditioning system, with add-on
temperature stability, humidity control and five micron dust filtering system
has been provisioned in this process of collocation. Also, fire detection and
suppression systems equipped with a phased approach to fires using early-warning
fire detectors, pre-action water sprinklers and FM200 gaseous fire suppression
system has been set-up.
On the maintenance front, HCL Infinet as a part of its state-of-the-art
collocation facility provided to Blue Star’s Server has provided a redundant
power supply from 2 different grids with a dual true on-line 15KVA UPS systems.
Besides, a two DG set with 24 hours running capacity has also been provided.
Power conditioning facility with less than 1V between neutral and ground AC
power with 230V with tolerance of +/- 20V has also been provisioned. Apart from
having manned security installations, the collocation is also having proximity
detectors and access card security with logging facility.
Satisfied with the installation and the solution offered by HCL, Mehta said,
“We look forward to enhancing our relationship with HCL on a long-term basis.
When we decided to go for this networking project along with collocation of the
data servers, HCL was a natural choice.”