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Founded in 1930, Aura Light produces sustainable lighting solutions that enable businesses to reduce their costs, energy consumption, and carbon footprint.


Aura Light

Riverbed Makes Application Centralization Work for Aura Light

Founded in 1930, Aura Light produces sustainable lighting solutions that enable businesses to reduce their costs, energy consumption, and carbon footprint.

Challenge: Speed access to centralized applications to improve staff productivity

Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Aura Light has a manufacturing facility in Sweden, along with subsidiaries and local sales teams in many European countries. Its workforce consists of approximately 250 people.

Aura Light had centralized all of its applications in an outsourced datacenter a few years before IT manager Peter Lindgren joined the company. After he started, he quickly learned that centralization was not considered a success by the end users. Compared to having local servers and good application performance, centralization had dramatically slowed the performance of applications delivered from the outsourced datacenter to remote users, to the point that at some remote sites, certain applications were nearly unusable.

“Our main offices in Sweden have large WAN links, so application performance for the people there was not OK, but they could live with it,” recalls Lindgren. “But at smaller sites it was almost impossible for them to work.

They would try an application a few times, then say, ‘This is too slow,’ and do their own thing. It really affected their productivity and it was stressful for them in their day-to-day work. It also made it hard for me to roll out standardized systems and get users to use them. This was a major issue at the smaller sites.”

The applications that were especially problematic were some of the most critical: the ERP system (Microsoft XAL) and file sharing (especially the large files used by marketing and sales teams). Other critical applications included Microsoft Exchange and SuperOffice CRM, although Lindgren said he considers all of the applications critical. He wanted to improve the performance of all existing applications and ensure satisfactory performance of any applications he might deploy in the future.

“I wanted to look at the root of the problem and fix that,” Lindgren continues. “One option would have been to add more systems to the Citrix farm, but I wanted to get away from that and just focus on the issue that was affecting the users. And I wanted to create a stage that would allow us to implement new systems, whatever they are, and have them work well right away.”

IN BRIEF

Challenges

  • Improve poorly-performing centralized applications to boost employee productivity
  • Support mobile employees’ use of shared files and applications
  • Create a future-ready IT infrastructure

Solution

  • Seven SteelHead WAN optimization deployments in all facilities
  • 50 SteelHead Mobile solutions for sales teams

Benefits

  • Download time for large shared files cut in half
  • Increase user happiness and productivity
  • Set foundation for future applications
  • Cover cost of WAN optimization with renegotiated network contract

Solution: SteelHead WAN optimization; SteelHead Mobile

Lindgren didn’t bother trying to add bandwidth to solve these problems. Some sites already had more bandwidth than they were using. “The issue wasn’t really bandwidth, it was latency,” he says. “I knew I needed something to address that.”

Lindgren had learned about Riverbed SteelHead WAN optimization at a previous job with Dell. He didn’t feel the need to evaluate other WAN optimization solutions for Aura Light. “I felt Riverbed was the biggest and the best play in the market, so I didn’t check into others,” he says.

Another reason he felt comfortable going with Riverbed was the availability of Riverbed SteelHead Mobile, which would extend the benefits of WAN optimization to quite a few salespeople who use laptops exclusively.

Riverbed put Lindgren in contact with Curitiba, the fastestgrowing Riverbed specialist in Sweden. Curitiba’s assistance was helpful, Lindgren explained, because he has a small staff and no IT professionals at many of the remote sites. Curitiba handled the configuration and installation site-by-site, for a problem-free deployment.

Aura Light has seven SteelHead deployments installed in its datacenter and six remote sites, and 50 SteelHead Mobile licenses.

Benefits: Shared files download twice as fast; stage set for additional applications

“The Riverbed solution is doing what it’s supposed to do, speeding up communications with the datacenter, and that affects all applications,” says Lindgren. Users in remote locations now open large shared files in about half the time it took previously, and other actions such as logging in and accessing email take less time as well.

For the end users, the change means less frustration with their applications and higher productivity. And in some cases, users can now take advantage of shared files that they couldn’t access when it took so long to download them. “I remember one woman who works in Marketing in the France office told me that, for the first time, she could access some of the files she needed,” Lindgren says. “She was really happy.”

“We’d been saying to the end users, ‘Things will get better.’ But they never did until we put in Riverbed,” Lindgren adds. He was able to bring these benefits to Aura Light at a very reasonable cost by renegotiating the company’s network contract. “That was part of the deal I had with the CFO – that we could get happier users and a system that worked fine, and we could cover a large portion of the cost by reducing what we pay the WAN supplier,” Lindgren says. In the end, he was able to get that bill reduced by 35 percent.

Not only is he happy solving the application performance problems and improving the lives of Aura Light’s employees, Lindgren also appreciates the fact that the Riverbed solution provides a foundation for the future. Previously, he felt somewhat locked in due to the poor performance. “Now I have the freedom to implement new solutions to the business, knowing the speed will be OK,” he says.

SUMMARY

Aura Light’s experience with centralization was not positive when IT manager, Peter Lindgren joined the company. Users at remote sites found the centralized applications so slow that they had given up trying to use them. In addition to a productivity hit, poor application performance over the WAN made it difficult for Lindgren to roll out standardized systems.

A Riverbed SteelHead deployment of seven appliances and 50 mobile licenses greatly accelerated the applications, to everyone’s relief. Users could finally share large files (download time was cut in half) and use the centralized ERP, CRM, and email systems, improving their productivity and bringing a new level of standardization to the organization. Aura Light was able to pay for the performance improvements by renegotiating the contract with its network provider.

 “I felt Riverbed was the biggest and the best play in the market so I didn’t check into others.”

“We’d been saying to the end users, ‘Things will get better.’ But they never did until we put in Riverbed.”

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SteelHead offers industry-leading secure optimization of all applications across networks. Learn how Riverbed can help improve your hybrid WAN performance.
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