Flughafen Zürich AG is a private company that operates Zurich Airport, Switzerland’s national and international transport hub. It has around 1,500 employees and works with more than 270 airport partners, and their 25,000 employees. Almost 90 domestic and international airlines operate from Zurich Airport, serving over 22 million passengers annually.
“With such a complex network infrastructure, issues invariably arise, and we were spending a lot of time and manpower trying to resolve them,” explains Stefan Thoma, senior network engineer at Flughafen Zürich AG. “Sometimes, a customer would report that an application wasn’t running properly, or that a server wasn’t responding to a request. It was very hard to find the root of the problem. Many of our customers’ data centers, for example, are based on another continent, so it was difficult to know whether the problem was due to our network or theirs.”
Configuring the airport network for new applications was also a complicated process because there was no comparable network monitoring system in place. This made it difficult to determine whether connectivity issues originated at the airport LAN or the customer’s network.
As part of the network troubleshooting process, Flughafen Zürich AG network engineers used Wireshark network protocol analyzer to capture traffic data, but the procedure was both complicated and time-consuming. “A network engineer would have to walk around the airport with test equipment to set-up traces at hot spots, such as a data center.” says Thoma. “Other engineers might be working on the same problem in other parts of the airport, and the customer’s own engineering staff could be coordinating with us from another continent. Solving an issue would take hours. We needed a solution that was faster and more efficient.”
“It used to take us hours to resolve network issues, now, thanks to Riverbed, we can do it in minutes.”
Stefan Thoma, Senior Network Engineer
Flughafen Zürich AG
Energy and Utilities
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