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Road management government agency had centralised its IT systems to its data centre but remote workers were struggling to access files and applications. There was also a requirement to backup data to the data centre to improve data security and integrity.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Transport

Challenges

  • Employees unable to access key applications over the WAN, resulting in reduced productivity
  • Data backups managed by employees at the branch offices, resulting in risks to data integrity and security

Solution

  • 17 Riverbed Steelhead appliances
  • Riverbed Central Management Console
  • Riverbed Services Platform
  • Riverbed Steelhead Mobile

Benefits

  • 4x increase in application performance speeds
  • 5.5x reduction in bandwidth utilization
  • Data backups centralized and 17 tape backup systems removed
  • Windows 2003 installed on the Riverbed Services Platform and 17 Windows servers removed
  • Avoided an increase in bandwidth capacity, estimated to cost around €48,000 per year
  • ROI in seven months

Estradas de Portugal

Riverbed Technology solutions improve application performance over the WAN, enable further IT consolidation, and deliver a seven month ROI for transport company

Estradas de Portugal (www.estradasdeportugal.pt/) is a government-owned company responsible for the finance, planning, development and maintenance of most of Portugal’s road network system. The company has 1200 employees based in 17 offices across Portugal, one for each district of Portugal.

Challenge: Improve time taken to access critical applications over the WAN, and centralize data backup systems

Estradas de Portugal had centralized a number of applications to its central data center including document management, CRM and intranet applications. Estradas de Portugal has 17 offices across Portugal, and the company uses a 2Mbps Frame Relay link between its data center, based at its Lisbon headquarters, and the majority of its branch offices. “Our remote users were having a lot of problems accessing centralized applications over the wide area network (WAN), and were complaining of long delays in downloading files and documents,” explains Rui Ribeiro, IT manager at Estradas de Portugal.

In addition employees at each branch office would backup data to tape, with little or no IT support. “We wanted to improve the security and integrity of our data by backing it up to a central location. This would also improve the management of our data as our IT staff are based in our data center, However, just backing up critical data over the WAN was taking too long to complete, so we couldn’t extend this process to all of our data,” says Ribeiro.

“In order to improve application performance over the WAN we investigated increasing the bandwidth at all our branch offices from 2Mbps to 10Mbps. However we discovered that this would cost us more than €48,000 per year. We couldn’t justify this expense back to the business and we realized that we really needed a solution that would allow us fast access to our consolidated IT infrastructure in a cost effective and efficient way,” says Miguel Tabanez, head of infrastructure at Estradas de Portugal.

Solution: Riverbed WAN optimization solution results in 4x increase in application performance speed and 5.5x reduction in bandwidth utilization

Estradas de Portugal decided to investigate WAN optimization as a solution to the issue of poor application performance over the WAN. The company looked at products from both Riverbed Technology and Blue Coat, and decided that the Riverbed suite of WAN optimization products offered the most advanced solution. “We decided to run a pilot between our Almada and Porto branch offices,” explains Ribeiro.

Steelhead appliances were installed at both the Lisbon and Porto locations, and application performance was monitored. ”With the Steelhead appliances installed we immediately saw a 4x increase in application performance speeds for critical applications and an average 5.5x reduction in bandwidth utilization. Based on these results we didn’t consider any other vendor and decided to move forward with the Riverbed products,” says Ribeiro.

Benefits: Application performance improved, IT infrastructure simplified with RSP bandwidth upgrade avoided, and an ROI realized in seven months

Estradas de Portugal has installed 17 Steelhead appliances at its data center and branch offices and employees can now access documents and files in seconds instead of minutes, making them more productive.

With the Steelhead appliances deployed, Estradas de Portugal has centralized its backup systems and removed 17 tape backup units from the branch offices, resulting in reduced management and maintenance costs. Data is now backed up over the WAN and held centrally making it more secure, while employees no longer spend time backing up data, enabling them to concentrate on tasks that deliver greater value back to the business.

Estradas de Portugal has also deployed Windows Server 2003 on the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP). The RSP allows companies to deploy up to five additional services and applications virtually on VMware in a protected partition on the Steelhead appliance including Windows 2003 for DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, print serving, or streaming media.

Other applications that can be run on the RSP include security, video, edge services, and networking and management solutions. This has enabled Estradas de Portugal to deploy local services at the branch office layer in a secure environment and remove 17 Windows mail and file sharing servers, reducing the costs associated with the management and maintenance of local servers.

Estradas de Portugal also invested in Riverbed Steelhead Mobile client software for its company directors. Steelhead Mobile provides mobile workers the same LAN-like access to corporate files and applications, as their counterparts using the Steelhead appliances in the branch office, from anywhere in the world. “Our directors often need to access our network when they are away from the office, and we wanted to greatly improve this facility,” says Ribeiro.

“The Riverbed products have been a great solution for us. We were able to avoid a costly bandwidth upgrade, simplify our IT infrastructure and our data is now more secure; our remote users have access to our systems regardless of where they are based, and employee productivity has increased. None of this would have been possible without Riverbed, “says Luis Sousa, networking manager at Estradas de Portugal. “In addition we’ve calculated that the Riverbed solution has delivered a return on investment (ROI) in a little over seven months. We couldn’t be more pleased with this result.”

SUMMARY

Employees based in Estradas de Portugal’s remote office locations found that key applications were running slowly over the WAN, which was reducing their productivity. The company also used a network of local servers and backup systems, which was difficult to support and maintain.

Estradas de Portugal deployed Riverbed Steelhead appliances across its data center and branch offices. The result was that key applications could be accessed much faster, and cost savings were achieved by removing a number of local servers and backup systems. Considerable savings were also made by Riverbed’s WAN optimization solution negating the need for Estradas de Portugal to purchase additional bandwidth.

“We calculate that the ROI for the Riverbed solution was a little over seven months. If we had increased the bandwidth in all our branch offices, it would have cost us more than €48,000 a year.”

“We needed a solution that would allow us to consolidate our IT infrastructure in a cost effective and efficient and way.”

“When we tested Riverbed, the results were so convincing that we didn’t consider any other solution.”

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