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Manufacturing company consolidates data backup and disaster recovery (DR) systems to private cloud, and improves employee productivity with Riverbed ® Steelhead ® appliances


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Manufacturing

Challenges

  • Improve the performance of centralized applications over the WAN and enable further consolidation of IT systems; build robust DR capabilities

Solution

  • Riverbed Steelhead appliances
  • Riverbed Steelhead Mobile

Benefits

  • 12x improvement in file download speeds, which has improved employee productivity
  • 3x reduction in bandwidth utilization
  • Data backup and recovery systems consolidated to a private cloud infrastructure resulting in increased data security and integrity
  • Branch office back-ups eliminated
  • Data backup window reduced by 80% from 220 hours to 48 hours
  • Return on investment delivered in six months

KTR Kupplungstechnik GmbH

Manufacturing company consolidates data backup and disaster recovery (DR) systems to private cloud, and improves employee productivity with Riverbed Steelhead appliances

KTR Kupplungstechnik GmbH (www.ktr.com) based in Rheine, Germany is a global leader in the power transmission industry and a major manufacturer of couplings, clamping sets, torque limiters, torque measuring systems and hydraulic components. The company has 800 employees and more than 40 offices throughout Europe, Asia and Americas. In addition, KTR works with partners and subsidiary companies providing coverage in over 50 countries.

Challenge: Improve application performance in remote locations and consolidate backup systems to private cloud infrastructure

KTR Kupplungstechnik GmbH had begun to centralize its IT systems from five branch offices to a private cloud infrastructure in order to reduce the management and licensing costs associated with a distributed IT system, and improve data security and integrity. KTR had already centralized some of its IT services, in particular SAP, and users based in remote locations began to complain that it was taking too long to access information over the wide area network (WAN).

Mike Kellner, KTR’s project leader and IT system administrator explains: “Our long term goal is to consolidate as much of our IT infrastructure as possible and have no local resources in our remote offices. However we couldn’t continue the consolidation project until we had resolved the problem of poor application performance over the WAN.”

KTR mainly relies on Microsoft Sharepoint, Citrix ICA for its Product Lifecycle Management application, SAP and Symantec Backup Exec.

Solution: Riverbed Steelhead appliances and Steelhead Mobile accelerate key applications

KTR decided to evaluate a WAN optimization solution based on recommendations from its technology partner. After evaluating the products from Riverbed Technology, Citrix and BlueCoat, KTR decided to test the Riverbed Steelhead appliances and Riverbed Steelhead Mobile. “We tested Riverbed as it offered us the most comprehensive range of solutions and the Steelhead appliances were very straight forward to install,” explains Kellner.

For the test environment Steelhead appliances were set up in the Polish and USA offices, and Steelhead Mobile was installed in offices with less than five employees. “With Riverbed implemented we saw an immediate improvement in the time taken to access SAP files, and a 3x reduction in bandwidth utilization,” says Kellner. “From these successful tests we decided to roll-out the Riverbed WAN optimization solution across our branch office network.”

Benefits: 3x improvement in file download speeds, employee productivity improved, data backups centralized and data backup window reduced by 80%

KTR has deployed Riverbed Steelhead appliances in its offices in The Netherlands, UK, India, China, Poland, USA, and Germany, and Steelhead Mobile licences to its smaller offices. KTR has experienced, on average, a 12x improvement in file download speeds across the WAN. “With Riverbed installed applications, such as SAP, are now performing at LAN-like speeds. Prior to Riverbed users would wait minutes to complete a transaction through the SAP GUI. Now the same type of transaction takes just a couple of seconds, which has improved employee productivity dramatically,” notes Kellner.

KTR has also been able to continue its consolidation strategy and has now centralized its backup and DR systems to its private cloud infrastructure. “Before installing Riverbed a member of staff at each of our offices would perform a manual back-up at the end of each day.

Relying on employees meant that data integrity was always a concern and the back-up procedure itself would take around an hour to complete. With data backed up to a central location we can ensure data security and integrity, and our employees can now work on more productive tasks,” explains Kellner.

“In addition we’ve experienced an 80% reduction in the data back-up window. Prior to Riverbed, it would take over 220 hours to complete a full data backup, now we can complete this over a weekend, something that was unthinkable before Riverbed.”

KTR also estimates that replacing the IT hardware at each branch office with a Riverbed Steelhead appliance has resulted in a return on investment (ROI) in just six months. “Without Riverbed, the alternative option was to install a rack of various servers at each branch office location and continue with manual back-ups. The cost of managing and maintaining this additional infrastructure as well as the continued cost of employees performing manual backups was twice the cost of the Riverbed solution.” explains Kellner.

Looking Ahead

KTR now plans to consolidate all its CIFS file servers to its private cloud infrastructure and extend Steelhead Mobile to its remote employees, enabling them to benefit from the same improvement in application speeds over the WAN as their office based co-workers relying on Steelhead appliances in the branch offices.

As Kellner concludes: “With Riverbed as part of our IT strategy we can now work towards a truly server-less branch office infrastructure. Riverbed has enabled us to complete our consolidation plans, improve our data integrity and security, reduce our back-up window, eliminate man hours spent on manual back-ups, and improve employee productivity. Without a doubt, Riverbed has to be one of the best IT decisions that we’ve made.”

SUMMARY

KTR had consolidated most of its IT systems to a private cloud infrastructure based at its central data center in Germany, and wanted to further consolidate its data backup systems. However, users in remote branch offices began to complain of poor download speeds over the WAN for critical applications, such as SAP. KTR chose to implement a WAN optimization solution from Riverbed and installed Steelhead appliances and Steelhead Mobile across its offices.

KTR has now experienced a 12x improvement in file download speeds, and a 3x reduction in bandwidth utilization. The company has seen a dramatic improvement in employee productivity and transactions using the SAP GUI now take seconds instead of minutes. In addition, KTR has centralized its backup procedure and reduced its backup window by 80%.

“The consolidation project was in danger of stalling as our employees were unable to access critical applications such as SAP over the WAN.”

 “With Riverbed as part of our IT strategy we can now work towards a truly server-less branch office infrastructure.”

“We saw an immediate improvement in the time taken to access SAP files, and a 3x reduction in bandwidth utilization.”

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