Jarden Consumer Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jarden Corporation (NYSE: JAH). While Jarden Consumer Solutions may not be a household name, the company's brands certainly are: Bionaire®, BRK¨, Crock-Pot®, First Alert®, FoodSaver®, Health o meter®, Holmes®, Mr. Coffee®, Oster®, Patton®, Rival®, Seal-a-Meal®, Sunbeam®, and VillaWare®. Jarden Consumer Solutions has a hybrid network consisting of a blend of frame relay and IP VPNs that currently connects 28 sites with a 'network consolidation' project in place that will bring the total to 36 sites, so the ability to monitor remote sites is critical. Jarden deployed an Riverbed® SteelCentral? AppResponse at each of their two main data centers. The combination of business groups with the ability to drill down within those groups to individual IP conversations, made a huge difference in their oversight of Jarden's global network.
- Inability to quickly troubleshoot performance problems, no real-time data
- Difficulty discerning which parts of the global network were involved in issues
- Hard to manage network consolidations following acquisitions
- Little insight into flows and conversations on network
- Two AppResponse Xpert Appliances: one in each main data center
- Monitor performance and utilization for all critical applications, user groups, resources, and links
- Real-time and historical view of a wide range of application and network metrics
- Much faster problem localization and resolution
- Real-time overview of global network, deep insight into flows and conversations
- Better control of network consolidation projects
- Better use of existing tools
Household Names Worldwide
Jarden Consumer Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jarden Corporation (NYSE: JAH). While Jarden Consumer Solutions may not be a household name, the company’s brands certainly are: Bionaire, BRK ̈, Crock-Pot, First Alert, FoodSaver, Health o meter, Holmes, Mr. Coffee, Oster, Patton, Rival, Seal-a-Meal, Sunbeam, and VillaWare. The company’s operations span 10 countries with close to 13,000 employees in approximately 25 offices.
Challenge: Keeping Track of a Growing Global Network
Jarden Consumer Solutions has a hybrid network consisting of a blend of frame relay and IP VPNs that currently connects 28 sites. However, due to Jarden’s recent acquisition of another company, Jack Nelson, IT Manager for Network Service Operations (NSO), is driving a “network consolidation” project that will bring the total to 36 sites, so the ability to monitor remote sites is critical.
In addition, like virtually every enterprise IT department, Jack’s team was continually dealing with user complaints about network performance, but their existing tools either couldn’t deliver real-time data or were too network device-centric and thus incapable of monitoring actual application performance. “It was just like the slogan - ‘It’s not the network!’” says Jack. “We were wasting far too much time chasing down problems that often weren’t the network at all.”
Solution: Global Insight From the Data Center
Jarden deployed an Riverbed® AppResponse Xpert® Appliance at each of their two main data centers in Orlando and Boca Raton, Florida. “One very attractive aspect of the product,” says Nelson, “was that its flow-based technology meant we wouldn’t have to worry about deploying and managing probes or agents at all the remote sites.” The path from shipping box to useful data was very short. “In less than a week and a half we’d configured the box, added our business groups, and were doing real troubleshooting.”
Key to this troubleshooting was their newfound ability to perform complex, deep analysis of all aspects of network and application performance no matter where the problem originated. “The [AppResponse Xpert] box really filled a gap in our toolset and actually extended the usefulness of our other tools by completing their view of the network, “says Jack. “It’s a real force-multiplier.”
Benefits: Drilling Down to Those Devilish Details
Jack notes that the combination of Business Groups—sets of IP addresses or AS number representing logical groupings of users or resources—with the ability to drill down within those groups to individual IP conversations, made a huge difference in their oversight of Jarden’s global network. “We can look at specific time-slices where a problem was reported and pinpoint where network or application problems occurred, even if it’s halfway around the world,” he says.
“And then the thorough drilldowns the box gives us lets us zero in on the root-cause very quickly. Even if we have to use another tool to really pinpoint the source, without the [AppResponse Xpert] box, we wouldn’t know where to look. It’s a real time-saver.”
Mr. Nelson also singles out the usefulness of the flow-based view furnished by the AppResponse Xpert appliances for a growing company like Jarden. “When we acquire a new company, we don’t know how they’ll have instrumented their network, and doing it the old way would mean waiting a long time to get any useful data from the new network integrated into our oversight. But with the AppResponse Xpert solution, changes in the network don’t really affect the data we get, so we can see immediately a lot of what’s going on, and keep on seeing it even as things change. This is a huge help in integrating the new sites into our global network.”
A Word to the Wise
Asked what he’d say about AppResponse Xpert to a peer, Jack says, “I’d tell them to think of it as a great power tool that makes the network craftsmen able to make his judgment calls faster and more accurately.”
“When we started using the [AppResponse Xpert] appliances to monitor our network’s health it was like adding a next-generation power tool to our tool chest. Their unprecedented flexibility gives us the ability to analyze the network deeply, easily, and in real time.”