S SOON AS I GOT THE FIRST BIG bill from Etisalat, I started planning to change!” Eyas Khashan, director of information technology resources at Pan Emirates Home Furnishings is quite clear about what prompted him to improve his inter-store connectivity: the high charges for excess data he was receiving while using standard ADSL connections.The furniture retailer has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years, and now operates 11 branches across the UAE, Qatar and Oman, and is set to launch a number of new outlets in the near future, taking advantage of the region’s boom – and not least the large number of new arrivals to the Middle East, a large proportion of which tend to buy furniture from new when setting up home. Established in 1991, the firm runs its operations from its head office in Sharjah in the UAE.
Pan Emirates has connections from each of its branches to its head office, which handle all its data, from ERP and point-of-sale systems to e-mail, warehouse management, and VOIP. The firm is currently in the process of changing from ADSL connections to an MPLS (Multi-Protoocol Layer Switching) network for all its locations.
“So around six months ago, we started looking for the best solution – we saw Juniper, Cisco and Blue Coat, had them give demos, and decided to go for the Juniper product. This was based on both performance and price – performance-wise it was the best. The technical people were also the best. When Blue Coat came to do the demo, it was a complete failure – how can I go for the full project if the demo doesn’t work?” asks Khashan.The other major element of the WAN accelerator deployment was the choice of East Meets West (EMW) as integrator. Khashan had first worked with EMW during Pan Emirates’ VOIP deployment 18 months ago, when Avaya, vendor of the IP phones for the project, recommended the integrator.“I‘m very happy with the support from EMW – its technical staff are very good. I decided that even if there were a lower-priced product, I would go with EMW because of its service and support,” says Khashan