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Appleby, a global provider of specialized offshore legal, fiduciary, and administration services, was looking to increase performance while avoiding the operational costs of additional bandwidth. With Riverbed, the company was able to reduce approximately 80 percent of replication traffic shipped over the WAN.



  • Offshore legal, fiduciary, and administration services


  • Improve replication frequency for offshore locations without increasing bandwidth
  • Improve response times for enterprise applications


  • Deploy Steelhead appliances to each location
  • Replicate all sites every 15 minutes
  • Virtualize servers in offshore locations


  • Over A 12X improvement in opening Sharepoint portals
  • A reduction of approximately 80 percent in replication traffic shipped over the WAN
  • Annual bandwidth savings of over $500,000
  • Reduced server costs and enhanced data center consolidation


Company Profile

Appleby is a global provider of specialized offshore legal, fiduciary, and administration services. The group strives to provide commercially sound, objective jurisdictional guidance based on in-depth knowledge of the legal and regulatory environments of its key offshore jurisdictions.

The Challenge

With over 800 lawyers and professional specialists, Appleby has offices in offshore business centers, including Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Mauritius, and the Republic of Seychelles. It also has offices in several prominent international financial centers, including London, Hong Kong, Zurich, and Bahrain.

The offices are connected over a private MPLS network, and bandwidth in some of its offshore locations is extremely expensive so increasing performance while avoiding the operational costs of additional bandwidth was a major priority.

Because Appleby operates data centers in several geographic regions, replication for disaster recovery (DR) purposes is one of the company’s top concerns. However, the company’s previous decentralized storage infrastructure was a patchwork of diverse storage systems that had grown through acquisitions and case-by-case deployments, which made multi-site replication prohibitively costly and complex. Appleby considered several DR and business continuity alternatives, but most were based on a licensing structure that would have made replication extremely costly.

The Solution

Appleby installed a storage area network (SAN) solution from Compellent and deployed Riverbed Steelhead appliances, which provide the highest level of WAN performance across the broadest range of applications. Available in a wide range of sizes – all powered by the Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) – Steelhead appliances are also the most scalable approach to application acceleration across the WAN.

Appleby installed modular, highly scalable Compellent Storage Center SANs in its Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Jersey locations. These SANs include dual clustered controllers and support for automated tiered storage. Appleby also installed more cost-efficient SANs with a single controller and SATA drives in smaller offices in Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands. Appleby installed Riverbed Steelhead appliances at each site to accelerate WAN performance for replication as well as for a broad range of business applications.

The Benefits

The company relies on Sharepoint for web-based collaboration, and the Steelhead appliances allow Appleby to dramatically reduce the HTTP traffic carried over the WAN. “Before we installed Steelhead appliances, our WAN connections were slow, and we wanted to improve productivity in all locations by providing better response times for Sharepoint portals,” said Jack Fleming, Appleby’s IT manager.

“Once we installed Steelhead appliances, our users immediately saw a major performance improvement for HTTP traffic and we found that the average portal page opened in less than 4 seconds. Previously, an average portal took over 50 seconds to launch, so we realized over a 12X improvement in HTTP performance.”

Each Appleby location now replicates traffic every 15 minutes to the data center in Jersey, and Appleby now averages a reduction of approximately 80 percent in replication traffic shipped over the WAN. “The Steelhead appliances allow us to replicate each location every 15 minutes while ensuring there is enough bandwidth on the existing access links to support HTTP traffic, as well as VoIP traffic and even video,” he said. Appleby now sets a 35 percent limit on replication traffic during business hours, ensuring that 65 percent of each link is always available to support other business applications.

“The main focus of my job is business continuity, and Riverbed consistently delivers highly reliable WAN optimization and enables consistent and dependable replication around-the-clock,” said Fleming. “We’re now able to guarantee each location that replication will be completed within 15 minutes, and that other important business applications will continue to deliver rapid response times.”

The Riverbed Steelhead appliances maximize Appleby’s network resources, leaving plenty of room in the company’s pipeline for more than just DR. “The average size of a mailbox in our firm is approximately 9 GB,” explained Fleming. “That’s a lot of data — but our Steelhead appliances are giving us improvement rates of up to 85 percent and allow us to accelerate WAN performance to complete replication in under 15 minutes.”

“I estimate that by deploying Steelhead appliances, Appleby is saving over a half-million dollars annually that we would otherwise have to spend on increased bandwidth,” said Fleming. “If we did not have Steelhead appliances, we would also have to drastically cut back on our replication strategy to contain bandwidth costs.”

Appleby is now making plans to deploy the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP), which provides customers with the capability to run up to five additional services and applications virtually on VMware in a protected partition on Steelhead appliances. This will allow Appleby to deploy local services in all their offshore offices without the need to deploy and maintain dedicated servers to run the applications. “With RSP, we’ll be able to minimize the hardware needed at offshore locations so we can further consolidate data center resources,” said Fleming.

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