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Overview

Industry

  • Manufacturing: connecting and assembly technology

Challenge

  • Due to increased IT complexity within the organization, identifying and resolving network issues had become time-consuming and difficult

Solutions

  • Riverbed Cascade Profiler
  • Riverbed Cascade Gateway
  • Riverbed Cascade Shark
  • Riverbed Cascade Pilot Software

Benefits

  • Identification and resolution of issues now automated and dealt with immediately
  • Network monitored continuously and IT team proactivly alerted when problems occur
  • Employee productivity improved (from the network department through to the end user)

Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG

Leading specialist trader in professional assembly and fastening materials improves application performance and network transparency

Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG (www.wuerth.de) is a leading trader in assembly and fastening materials for professional use. The company offers a sales portfolio consisting of over 100,000 products: screws, screw accessories, dowel pins, chemical and technical products, furniture and building fittings, tools, supply and removal systems, as well as occupational health and safety, are distributed to tradesmen and industrial clients by the field sales team.

At the same time, Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG is continuously expanding its nationwide network of sales offices. User-orientation, reliability and speed are crucial for business success. Würth won the German Award for Supply Chain Management 2009 from Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL) for its modular system logistics concept that can be specially tailored to individual client groups. Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG is the largest individual company in the globally active Würth Group.

Challenge: Increasing complexity results in sporadically slow network and application performance

Würth employs around 1,000 members of staff at over 400 sales offices, all of whom use Citrix to access data and applications, e.g. the enterprise resource planning system, in a central computer center. Over time, the continuous growth of the network, the introduction of VoIP and the restructuring of the network infrastructure (from layer 2 to layer 3) have all considerably increased the complexity of the network and the demands made upon it.

Employees in the offices occasionally complained about lost connections, slow performance and other problems. Due to the increasing complexity of the network, it was very difficult and time-consuming for the network team to localise the problems. Particularly for problems that occurred sporadically, the team often had to wait until they occurred again in order to find and rectify them. Troubleshooting took a great deal of time for the IT department, and often this was also time in which the employees were unable to work productively.

The network department team therefore asked themselves how they could significantly reduce the “mean time to fix” and identify any problems (e.g. resulting from a lack of bandwidth or a lack of prioritisation) at an early stage. It also needed to be possible to analyse network data up to packet level. As a result, it was decided that a solution for network monitoring and troubleshooting was needed. “Sometimes employees would come to us and say that the network was slow and connections were being lost”, says Andreas Mayer, network administrator at Würth.

“We therefore decided to make our network more transparent so that we could not only find and resolve problems more easily, but also know straight away where and when the bottlenecks or causes were.” To do this, Würth chose the Cascade product family suite from Riverbed Technology that gives IT departments all the performance information they need to quickly find and resolve network problems, and thus ensure business continuity.

Solution: Efficient troubleshooting and improved network transparency

Würth decided to use Riverbed Cascade products to ensure comprehensive monitoring, with detailed packet capture and analysis for proactive alerting, and rapid rectification of problems in the network. “We chose a Riverbed solution because it enables us to identify the causes of problems in the network and in the various systems involved in the most efficient way”, explains Mayer. “The transaction sequence diagram particularly impressed us, as it allows us to determine precisely which components are causing a problem.

Alongside troubleshooting, network monitoring will also play an important role for us in the future. Cascade products allow us to localise any problems very quickly, and often show that the network is not the cause. The error pattern can then be supplemented with important detailed information and forwarded to the responsible party, who quickly rectifies the problem”, says Mayer.

After the network team, the application and security teams and the hotline are also set to benefit from Cascade products. “Cascade products simply offer us an incomparable insight into our network and the performance of business-critical applications. In this way, we can ensure that network performance is always optimal and our employees can work without any problems”, continues Mayer.

Benefits: Faster, automated troubleshooting with improved network monitoring

With the Riverbed Cascade product range the network team was soon able to enjoy success: for instance, the integration of a CRM system from Microsoft occasionally led to slower performance. Using the dependency mapping function the culprit was identified as not the network but instead the dependency of various servers on each other. This meant that in rare cases communication connections between servers were not permitted across countries, causing significant communication delays.

In another example following a system change-over, e-mail and faxes could no longer be sent to customers. The Cascade products immediately alerted the network team to this issue, which enabled the problem to be quickly localised and resolved. With the Cascade system’s proactive alerting, it is now also possible to avoid this problem in future or nip it in the bud.

The combination of Cascade Shark applications and the Riverbed Cascade Pilot Software also enables the analysis of sporadic errors that would otherwise cause IT quite a headache, such as overloads and lost connections. This is even possible retrospectively, as the solution collects data continuously and can access historical data. Würth now plans to use the Cascade products to monitor its shop systems, websites and VPN connections.

SUMMARY

Continuous growth of the network, new quality requirements through VoIP and restructuring of the network infrastructure led to isolated complaints about network and application performance at Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG. Employees in branch offices that access business-critical applications via Citrix were particularly affected.

The complexity and size of the network made localising the problem laborious and difficult, especially where problems occurred sporadically. Troubleshooting took a great deal of time for the IT department, affecting employee productivity. Würth chose a Riverbed Cascade solution to ensure comprehensive monitoring, with detailed packet capture and analysis for proactive alerting, and rapid resolution of problems in the network.

“We needed to find and resolve network problems quickly and easily, and be proactively alerted whenever issues arose.“

“We chose Riverbed because it enables us to identify the causes of problems in the network and in the various systems involved in the most efficient way.“

“Cascade products allow us to localize any problems very quickly, and often show that the network is not the cause.“

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