Long Island Railroad

Topic : Team Efficiency
2500+ Employees
Networking

Build a path to the future. Avaya’s advanced fabric networking technology takes SDN networking and cloud services to the next level. Reduce network outages, enjoy quicker access to information, and easily integrate new communications channels and applications. If you wish, do it all with your existing infrastructure.

Benefits

Network Scalability
Reduce Cost

LARGEST US COMMUTER RAILROAD STAYS ON TRACK WITH ITS HIGH-PERFORMANCE NETWORK

Fabric Networking Solution Handles High-Traffic, 24/7 Requirements

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), publicly owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, serves the length of Long Island, New York, stretching from Manhattan to the easternmost tip of Suffolk County. It is the only commuter passenger railroad in the United States to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a significant off-peak, weekend, and holiday service.

The rail system employs over 6,000 people, with 124 rail stations distributed throughout a network of 11 lines and 594 miles of track. It interconnects with other transportation systems, including New York City Transit, the Metro-North Railroad, and Amtrak.

Long Island Railroad

Introduction

The network infrastructure requirements of LIRR are extensive and complex. Michael LaChapelle, Senior Manager - Network Computing Technology, states, “Our challenge is providing an infrastructure that serves all our various customers. These include our internal business units, such as train operations, marketing, and engineering; and our external customers, such as vendors, contractors, and passengers via the Web, digital signage, and ticketing systems. Our data network needs to be robust enough to give us the availability, scalability, flexibility, and security that our systems require to serve these customers on a 24x365 basis.”

For over 10 years, LIRR operated successfully using a data network comprised primarily of Avaya Ethernet Routing 8600 Switches. However, future plans indicated the need for even larger capacity than could be achieved with that network. The following were identified as particular areas of interest:

  • Accommodating video applications on the common network, rather than running them on a separate platform
  • Optimizing both current and future requirements of credit card processing systems for ticket purchasing, to support Payment Card Industry (PCI) security compliance
  • Providing additional capacity in the network to support each of LIRR’s individual services in a multi-tenanted architecture
  • Being prepared to implement new applications that would be beneficial to LIRR, especially those that facilitated a move to virtualization
  • Enabling maximum uptime, with hitless system upgrades and Multicast-based services

Why Avaya?

LIRR selected the Avaya Virtual Services Platform (VSP) 9000 as the foundation of its new network architecture because they felt it provided the best technology, reliability, service, and flexibility, along with a superior competitive cost structure.

According to LaChapelle, “Moving from Gigabit to 10 Gigabit, with scalability up to 40 Gigabit, was a huge step for the organization—one that we could expect to live with for the next seven to ten years. So, clearly, we had to put a lot of thought into our vendor decision. Avaya emerged as the right choice for all our needs. From previous experience we knew that we would receive outstanding vendor support from Avaya every step of the way.”

“We felt that Avaya VSP technology would meet our current challenges, and also be the right platform for virtualization and other future goals.”

Michael LaChapelle, Senior Manager – Network Computing Technology, Long Island Rail Road

LaChapelle recalls, “The cost-benefit considerations were also outstanding, because Avaya delivers a very superior cost structure compared to competing solutions.”

A Near-Perfect, Faster-Than-Expected Deployment

LaChapelle comments, “I think the two essentials for creating a successful deployment are an engaged vendor account team that’s aligned with your vision and a good internal support team that understands your requirements and the challenges of your business. From there, you develop a timetable that allows for prepping the systems, testing them on-site, and planning for the environmentals, such as infrastructure, cooling, power, redundancy, and all the other factors that may seem trivial yet in fact are important for a successful implementation. Basically, you try to eliminate as many ‘unknowns’ as possible so there are very few things left that are unexpected. Our Avaya team worked with us throughout this whole process and was very invested in our success.”

After several months of planning and preparation, the LIRR team felt confident as the time approached to cut over from the legacy network platform to the new platform. However, they realized that there might still be a few “unknowns,” so they announced to their internal and external customers that a 12-hour outage period would be in effect.

“We knew that if all went well, the cutover would not take nearly that long, because we were well prepared and had done a great deal of contingency planning,” LaChapelle adds. “However, we felt it was best to anticipate a worst-case scenario in order to cover any unexpected developments. In reality, on the day of the cutover, we were able to take the new network live in just over two hours.”

“The executives who were present for the deployment of our new network core were very impressed by the speed and efficiency of the installation, and the fact that the new Avaya equipment performed flawlessly right from the start.”

Michael LaChapelle, Senior Manager – Network Computing Technology, Long Island Rail Road

Business Results

  • 100 percent uptime since deployment of the VSP 9000
    • “I can’t stress enough how important the system’s reliability is to us,” LaChapelle explains. “We are not like a typical business that has evening and weekend downtimes for maintenance and troubleshooting, and where minor service interruptions would not be devastating to the organization. We run 24x365, providing a vital service to many thousands of people every day, so the reliability of our network is a critical benefit.”
  • Reliable, scalable bandwidth that enables moving video applications from an independent platform to the main administrative platform
    • LaChapelle comments, “Video is becoming more and more important to the Long Island Rail Road. We needed the availability of reliable bandwidth to transport live video through our main network when necessary. The fact that Avaya partners with major video suppliers is very appealing to us.”
  • Anticipated increase in operational speed
    • “Based on what we are experiencing with our core system, we anticipate about 30-40 percent increases in operational speeds for a lot of our back-end systems, database transactions, backups, and the like,” LaChapelle states.
  • Operational efficiencies—including the capability to do hitless Multicast, in-service system upgrades, and greater ease in performing encryption, control, auditing, and logging
  • Future readiness

Long Island Railroad

As an example, LaChapelle mentions, “Avaya Fabric Connect technology, based as it is on a standard [IEEE’s Shortest Path Bridging], is intriguing because we are moving toward a nodal network where, basically, loops and configurations would not be an issue. We’re looking forward to that as a plan for the future. We are also looking forward to virtualization as a way to achieve efficiencies of scale and magnitude—being able to use the same piece of hardware to do multiple things.”

Having successfully completed the first phase of the overall deployment— establishing the core—the LIRR team will move on to the final two phases, which are to complete the top-of-rack deployments for the data centers, and finally extending to user switches in the field.

LaChapelle concludes, “We believe that the Avaya Virtual Services Platform 9000 will help us be successful in meeting all the new challenges and needs going forward, including operational or administrative improvements, customer service enhancements, and security and compliance requirements.”

“With this solution, we have what we need to extend services and also be able to virtualize and use our platform in a multitude of ways—while at the same time being cost-conscious and flexible in order to support new initiatives and needs”

Michael LaChapelle, Senior Manager – Network Computing Technology, Long Island Rail Road

CUSTOMER PROFILE
Long Island Rail Road
  • Headquarters:

  • United States

  • # Employees:

  • 6000

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), publicly owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, serves the length of Long Island, New York, stretching from Manhattan to the easternmost tip of Suffolk County. It interconnects with other transportation systems, including New York City Transit, the Metro-North Railroad, and Amtrak and is the only commuter passenger railroad in the United States to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a significant off-peak, weekend, and holiday service.

What our Customers are saying
“The executives present for the deployment of our new network core were very impressed by the speed and efficiency of the installation, and the fact that the new Avaya equipment performed flawlessly right from the start.”

Read more testimonials >
  • Michael LaChapelle

  • Long Island Rail Road