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Liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer chose Riverbed Technology to improve application performance over the WAN, without an expensive bandwidth upgrade.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Oil & Gas

Challenges

  • Less than adequate application performance over the WAN
  • Improve application performance

Solution

  • 10 Riverbed Steelhead appliances
  • Central Management Console (CMC)

Benefits

  • Avoided costly bandwidth upgrade
  • 80% reduction in bandwidth utilization
  • 80-90% improvement in file download speeds
  • Data backup time reduced by 70%

Qatargas

Riverbed Steelhead appliances improve application performancefor liquefied natural gas company.

Qatargas is the pioneer in liquefied natural gas (LNG) production in Qatar. The company operates seven onshore locations within a plant campus based in Ras Laffan Industrial City, a further six remote offices throughout Qatar and three offices in Japan, Korea and the UK. The company plans to become the leading producer of LNG by the end of decade.

Challenge: Improve employee productivity without an expensive bandwidth upgrade

Qatargas employees working outside of the main plant campus were experiencing delays when downloading documents and files over the wide-area network (WAN). The company maintained a centralised IT infrastructure with its data center and six offices based at its plant campus in Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar. Offices in the plant campus are connected to the data center via a local area network (LAN). In addition to the main campus, Qatargas also has six remote offices in Qatar, as well as three additional offices overseas, all of which are connected to the data center over WAN via 30Mbps VPN and 100Mbps MPLS links.

Mohammed Abu-Nejim, head of data networks at Qatargas explained the magnitude of the challenge that the company was facing, “Due to rapid expansion, including an increase in the number of branch offices, we had effectively outgrown our current IT infrastructure and users working outside the plant were faced with application performance challenges. We considered upgrading our main MPLS link from 100Mbps to 300Mbps, but the cost was prohibitive and would not solve the latency problems which were a major contributor to the application performance issues. Also, we could not guarantee the quality of service (QoS) over the VPN link even with an upgrade.”

Solution: Riverbed Steelhead appliances optimize WAN performance

Having ruled out an expensive bandwidth upgrade Qatargas began to investigate alternative solutions and ultimately concluded that WAN optimization was the best option. After a detailed study of the space, Abu-Nejim invited Riverbed, along with other companies, to perform a proof of concept (POC).

“From the tests it was clear that Riverbed would meet all of our requirements,” explains Abu-Nejim. “We also took into consideration that Riverbed is the clear market leader in the WAN optimization space with a well established solution, and could manage our QoS requirements.”

Qatargas has now deployed Riverbed Steelhead appliances at its six remote branch offices in Qatar and the three international sites. Abu-Nejim recalls, “The installation process was incredibly straight forward and very easy to undertake.” In addition, the company also installed the Central Management Console (CMC) to further simplify management, configuration, and maintenance of all of the Steelhead appliances from the data center. Abu-Nejim. had similar praise for the CMC noting that, ”The CMC is a great tool, and we can ensure that all traffic is now optimized for all of our remote users.”

Benefits: Avoided costly bandwidth upgrade, improved employee productivity and accelerated data backups

Since installing Riverbed, Qatargas has seen a 3x improvement in bandwidth utilization and an improvement in excess of 80% in file download speeds. Abu-Nejim comments “Before implementing Riverbed it used to take over 20 minutes to download a 100MB file. Now it takes less than five minutes and our 2,000 Microsoft Exchange users across our global operations are also reporting substantial performance improvements. This has resulted in a significant improvement in employee productivity. ”

In addition to the application performance improvement Abu-Nejim found a number of other benefits as well, “We’ve also optimized data back-ups between the production site and our disaster recovery site. The time taken to back up data has been reduced by 70% and data is now more secured. Most importantly for us, Riverbed has given us the flexibility to pursue further expansion without the need to increase bandwidth. In fact we are now looking to reduce our bandwidth costs, which will reduce our overall operating costs. Riverbed has essentially enabled us to do more with our existing IT infrastructure.”

SUMMARY

Employees at Qatargas were faced with application performance challenges when accessing files and data over the WAN, particularly Microsoft Exchange. The company looked at increasing bandwidth, but found that the cost to do so was prohibitive and would likely not have solved many of the performance challenges. Instead, Qatargas chose to implement a WAN optimization solution from Riverbed.

The result is a 3x improvement in bandwidth utilization and an over 80% improvement in file download speeds. For users, documents which used to take over 20 minutes to download can now be accessed in 3-4 minutes. Not only has this led to vast improvements in employee productivity but also allowed Qatargas to avoid an expensive bandwidth upgrade project.

The CMC is a great tool, and we can ensure that all traffic is now optimized for all of our remote users

From the tests it was clear that Riverbed would meet all of our requirements

...it used to take over 20 minutes to download a 100MB file. Now it takes less than five minutes.

Riverbed has essentially enabled us to do more with our existing IT infrastructure.

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