Hamstrung by slow connections and bandwidth bottlenecks with the bundled T1 lines Axis41 had been using, the company found a move to the cloud facilitated by Comcast Business and Ciena to be the answer to its problems. In the process, it increased its bandwidth by a factor of 10 for about the same cost as it had been paying for the T1 lines and realized several additional benefits.

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Axis41 is a leading digital marketing agency providing strategic planning, brand management, social media campaigns, graphic design, CMS platform integration, web development, and other services to a nationwide client list that includes Adobe, the Utah Jazz NBA basketball team, Outside Magazine’s Outsideonline.com, Iron Mountain, and other high-visibility organizations. With its prior technology plan, Axis41 was dependent on in-house infrastructure and faced increasing hardware and software costs along with worries about security and frustrating delays for creative teams and clients caused by the T1 bundle’s slow connection speeds. The firm’s IT infrastructure was a growing headache, requiring multiple servers, attached RAID devices, and back-up power units to provide the processing power, storage capacity, and redundancy it needed. Infrastructure and power costs were “extremely high,” says partner and co-founder Reed Wright, and since Axis41 is a growing company, those costs would only continue to climb in the future. Security in the server room was also a constant worry, but lack of bandwidth was the most urgent issue.

A Serendipitous Turn of Events

When Axis41 contacted Comcast Business in search of a cost-effective solution for a faster connection, the carrier proposed a unique small-business solution based on Ciena technology. The proposed solution would provide 10 times the bandwidth Axis41 was getting from its T1 bundle at about the same cost and was built around Ciena’s LE-311v Service Delivery Switch, which provides scalable Ethernet connectivity to the firm’s office and can be configured remotely by Comcast Business to ramp up available bandwidth on demand. Axis41 started out with 50MB connectivity but quickly doubled it to 100MB with just a 15 percent cost increment. In a touch of serendipity, it turned out that Ciena was a longstanding client of Axis41. “At the time, we had no idea that the underlying technology for the solution came from Ciena,” Wright recalls.

With the Ciena equipment, Axis41 can increase available capacity to 1G or more, which Wright expects it will need to do soon as it continues to grow. Much of that growth is being driven by large-scale content management website work, which requires huge amounts of data transmission. “The beauty of our current solution is that we can increase the pipe as needed without any rip-and-replace,” he says. “All it takes is a phone call to Comcast.”

Since deploying the Comcast Business-Ciena solution, Axis41 has continued to find new ways to leverage the cloud to make its business more efficient and cost-effective, with benefits flowing to both its creative teams and its clients. The speed and reliability of its Internet connection prompted the firm to move much of its development work, calendaring, and email to the cloud, and it’s been able to replace clunky FTP file-transfer processes for clients with easy-to-use tools like Sendmail and Dropbox. It also does large-scale data back-up to the cloud every night, eliminating the need for costly infrastructure and time-consuming processes on-site. “Staying ahead of the technology curve is always a constant struggle, but finding so many new ways to use our expanded pipe is making it easier,” Wright says. “That means more peace of mind and less stress, and that’s always a good thing.”

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