Founded in 2000, New Seasons Market is a natural grocery retailer that brings delicious, healthy food from local farmers, producers, ranchers and fishermen to communities throughout the Pacific Northwest and northern California.
Early in business, New Seasons relied on T1 lines for Internet connectivity. Each store got its Internet from a local ISP and had a dial up connection designated as the backup system. As New Seasons Market began to add stores and employees, as well as leverage cloud services, the company’s broadband demands grew as well. Looking for a more reliable and sophisticated Internet solution, New Seasons Market reached out to Bigleaf Networks for help.
Bigleaf Cloud-first SD-WAN.
New Seasons Market is a premier natural market retailer with its roots in Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The innovative natural grocery store has been expanding over the last 17 years and currently has 30 locations and nearly 4,000 employees. The company is passionate about high-quality food and has received numerous awards for its products and commitment to the community. This includes being named one of America’s Best Grocery Stores in 2017 by the Daily Meal. New Seasons Market was also named as one of Oregon’s Most Admired Companies by the Portland Business Journal in 2016.
For the first 10 years in business − from approximately 2000 to 2010 − New Seasons Market relied on regional ISPs to provide Internet connectivity for the company’s first 10 stores. New Seasons Market had T1 lines for each grocery store, which provided connection speeds around 1.5 megabits/per second. While those T1 contracts did have impressive SLA guarantees, they came at a premium of about $500 per month per store.
Sean Teisher, VP of IT for New Seasons Market, explains that as the company began to scale the number of stores, they started to notice slower Internet speeds and overall network congestion. The IT team was also looking to move critical applications to the cloud. Looking for a better alternative, New Seasons Market reached out to Bigleaf for help.
“When we discovered Bigleaf’s Cloud-first SD-WAN solution, we were very impressed with the features,” said Teisher. “It wasn’t just talk like we’d heard from some other vendors; the platform was actually seamless in improving broadband speed and reliability. Implementing Bigleaf was a win-win solution, because it significantly lowered our monthly telecom costs, while significantly improving user experience. Accounting was happy to see lower expenses while the end users were thrilled with improved performance.”
For the initial deployment New Seasons Market installed Bigleaf Networks’ plug-and-play SD-WAN routers at 10 of the company’s grocery store outlets with the plan to roll out additional routers over several months. The routers came pre-configured and sit outside the firewall so installation was extremely simple and fast. The New Seasons Market IT team was also pleased that they got to keep their preferred firewall solution which includes, anti-virus, content filtering, intrusion detection, and VPNs for private networking, while Bigleaf was able to provide support and traffic shaping capabilities all in complete solution.
“The Bigleaf SD-WAN routers come to us completely configured, so whenever we’re opening a new store we basically tell Bigleaf what two local carriers we want to use, and the router is shipped and literally just needs to be plugged in,” said Teisher. “Two minutes later we have affordable Internet that’s exponentially faster and more reliable than our previous solutions.”
Bigleaf’s SD-WAN works by optimizing New Seasons Market’s multiple Internet connections and automatically re-routing application traffic based on circuit conditions and application needs. This is done with Bigleaf’s built-in Intelligent Load Balancing, which monitors changing conditions and performance data to adapt and load balance traffic in real time. Unlike other multi-WAN solutions that monitor only a tiny subset of Internet paths, Bigleaf measures each Internet connection from the store’s location, all the way across the Internet path, to Bigleaf’s network. This provides a complete picture of the performance of each circuit and helps insulate Internet experience from common ISP issues such as peering disputes, unplanned maintenance, traffic congestion, and more.
With end-to-end circuit visibility and advanced monitoring, the Bigleaf SD-WAN service prioritizes mission critical applications across the Internet and protects connections with seamless failover, delivering high-performance access to critical SaaS business apps. As a result, New Seasons Market employees have ‘always-on’ access to all the cloud-based applications they need to do their job, including the company’s FirstData payment processing system, customer analytics solution, time and attendance platform, and the company’s payroll system.
“It’s hard to believe but after nearly three years of running our first Bigleaf SD-WAN service, there’s been zero Internet downtime,” said Teisher. “That’s pretty incredible! Now we’re up to 30 locations and each has the Bigleaf service. The remarkable part is that if one carrier does go down, Bigleaf automatically re-routes traffic so we never lose our connection to any applications. And when, and if, connectivity switches to the other circuit, service isn’t impacted, so users wouldn’t even know.”
New Seasons Market continues to grow rapidly throughout the Pacific Northwest and is also planning to add new stores in northern California over the next several months. The New Seasons Market IT team appreciates Bigleaf’s ongoing support and expertise. When questions have come up, Teisher recalls that Bigleaf has responded immediately with outstanding customer service. New Seasons’ leaders like that the Cloud-first SD-WAN solution from Bigleaf gives them an extremely smart, cost-effective way to scale the business as they continue to grow.
“If you think about all the ways we rely on Internet connectivity, it really touches everything,” said Teisher. “If Internet goes down, we can’t accept payments from customers, receive products, take inventory, clock employees in or out, or even play music from our Internet radio station. It’s all the little things that add up and shape what the New Seasons Market brand is about. We want 100% reliability and fast connection speeds to all the applications that we rely on to provide our customers with the best experience possible. Bigleaf delivers that.”