Sappi replies on its wide area network (WAN) and a number of key applications for the efficient running of its business operations. With Riverbed SteelHead and Cascade, Sappi gained both major data reduction and greater application and network visibility.
- Gain greater insight into network and application behavior to improve efficiency and performance
- Riverbed Cascade
- 39 Riverbed Steelhead appliances
- Riverbed Central ManagementConsole (CMC)
- Application and network issues identified and resolved in minutes instead of hours.
- Over 50 percent data reduction across the WAN
- Improved application performance
Riverbed Technology enables paper and pulp company to monitor applications and improve efficiency and performance.
Sappi (www.sappi.com) was founded in 1936 as the South African Pulp and Paper Industries Limited. Today, it is a global paper and pulp group, and the leading producer of fine paper and chemical cellulose. The company has 15,600 employees worldwide and sales in more than 100 countries. With headquarters in South Africa, it also has one data center in Austria and offices across Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Australasia.
Challenge: Improve application performance through WAN optimization and monitoring
Sappi replies on its wide area network (WAN) and a number of key applications including Microsoft Office, SharePoint, and SAP, for the efficient running of its business operations. Sappi also uses a mix of fat clients and thin clients for mobile and non-mobile use, respectively. Both types of clients use Citrix ICA in an office environment for running Windows applications.
Sappi was using a WAN optimization solution provided by Peribit Networks (now owned by Juniper Networks), but the company was not satisfied with its performance, says Peter Marbler, Sappi network infrastructure manager. “Peribit didn’t support many of the protocols we use, and in particular, Citrix ICA, so when the Peribit system came to the end of its working life, we looked for an alternative.”
Sappi tested products from Cisco and Riverbed Technology and decided that Riverbed offered the best solution. “Riverbed Steelhead appliances gave us much better data reduction for major protocols like ICA,” says Marbler. “When you consider that ICA represents up to 90 percent of our network traffic, you can see why this was important for us.”
Sappi deployed 39 Steelhead appliances in its data center in Austria and branch offices across the globe, and installed the Riverbed Central Management Console (CMC) at the data center. The CMC simplifies the process of deploying, managing, configuring, monitoring, and upgrading Steelhead appliances distributed across the WAN, through a single web-based interface.
After deploying the Riverbed solution, Sappi employees noticed a big improvement in application performance across the network, with data reduced by 50 percent. However, Sappi was looking for even further improvements in performance. “The Steelhead appliances and CMC did a great job for us,” notes Marbler, “but we wanted to deploy a solution that gave us even greater application and network visibility. The good news for us is that Riverbed has the right solution for this: Riverbed Cascade.”
Solution: Riverbed Cascade offers an integrated, effective and simple-to-use solution for application and network monitoring
Sappi had been using open-source monitoring software that provided some useful basic information on performance management on specific devices, but they were not integrated and were unable to provide complete visibility into applications, servers, and users on the network.
Cascade fulfils this need with network monitoring, network traffic recording and analysis, dependency mapping, and performance management capabilities that collect traffic data on the network, calculate performance metrics, and alert IT teams to problems before end-users are impacted.
Riverbed Cascade is also an integrated solution that combines flow analysis, packet analysis, and retrospective packet capture to provide an integrated, top-down, application-aware performance monitoring and management solution. This enables network managers to deal with priorities such as performance management, IT consolidation, WAN optimization and analysis, and security.
Benefits: With Riverbed Cascade application and network problems are now identified and resolved in minutes
With Cascade deployed, Sappi has been able to quickly resolve a number of issues. In one case, a 2 Mbps link at a remote location was congested. Cascade soon revealed the source of the problem: a printer was repeatedly sending a 6 MB email with error data that was not being detected by the mail server.
“In the past it would have taken us hours just to identify the cause of the problem,” says Marbler. “However using Cascade we were able to locate and resolve the issue in around 30 minutes. That’s a fantastic result for the business.”
In another case, a user was accessing a local webcam in the branch using an IP address rather than the hostname. As a result, traffic was being sent twice over the WAN connection, which was having a detrimental effect on other applications.
“On this occasion users were complaining that they couldn’t access key applications as bandwidth utilization was almost at 100 percent,” recalls Marbler. “With Cascade we resolved the problem in minutes, which certainly pleased our employees.”
“The great thing about Cascade is that you have greater control over your network, and greater confidence that you are getting the optimum performance from your applications,” concludes Marbler.
Sappi deployed Riverbed Steelhead appliances in 37 offices across the globe, and at the company’s data center in Austria, to improve application performance across the WAN. This resulted in a 50 percent reduction in data traffic. Soon after installing the Steelhead appliances, Sappi deployed Riverbed Cascade, a network and application visibility solution. By using Cascade, Sappi has been able to identify application and network issues and resolve them in a matter of minutes.
“Riverbed Steelhead appliances gave much better data reduction for major protocols like ICA.”
“In the past it would have taken us hours just to identify the cause of the problem...using Cascade we were able to locate and resolve the issue in around 30 minutes.”
“The great thing about Cascade is that you have greater control over your network.”