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B/E Aerospace is a leader in commercial and military aviation design with 30,000 employees working in a network of operations spanning 150 countries. From cockpit to cabin, the company’s expertise in aircraft electronics, cabin design and more helps pilots safely navigate the planet while keeping passengers comfortable and connected.

Challenges 

  • Slow performance of centralized applications
  • Budget concerns prevented bandwidth expansion
  • Identifying sources of app slowdowns took hours to days

Solution

Benefits 

  • Users now satisfied with centralized apps; log-in time for one dropped by 50%
  • 60% reduction in WAN traffic
  • Troubleshooting applications and network performance problems in minutes instead of hours or days
  • Development response time to business unit ‘vastly improved’ 

WAN optimization and NPM improve productivity while minding the budget

B/E Aerospace is an aviation industry leader in the design and manufacture of interior cabin components such as oxygen systems, comfortable seating, cabin lighting, galley systems (including food and beverage preparation), advanced lavatories, and more. Operating in 50 locations around the world, B/E Aerospace specializes in bringing comfort and safety to air travelers.

B/E Aerospace houses all of its major applications in a co-lo data center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and delivers them across an MPLS network to the remote sites. Major applications include Oracle and three ERP systems along with NX design software and Teamcenter product lifecycle management (PLM) software from Siemens PLM Software. B/E Aerospace also relies heavily on a number of proprietary .NET applications and has adopted some cloud-based SaaS applications such as SAP SuccessFactors and SharePoint, as well.

Making sure the applications work efficiently at all 50 locations is the job of Chris Elder, senior manager of enterprise networks and data center operations for B/E Aerospace. He recalls that when the applications were centralized in the co-lo, “Everything took a lot longer to respond. Engineers would click on a drawing and then wait for it to download. Logging into Teamcenter took 60 seconds,” Elder explains. “We can’t have six-figure engineers sitting around half the day waiting for things to happen on the network.”

Purchasing more bandwidth wasn’t always an option. “Our locations are fairly autonomous,” Elder continues. “So some locations, because of budget considerations, choose to have small circuit sizes.”

With productivity taking a hit, B/E Aerospace decided to deploy Riverbed SteelHead WAN optimization appliances throughout the organization (with the exception of a few of the smaller offices). “The SteelHead appliances overcame the constraints of the small circuit sizing,” says Elder. “And we gained an average 60% traffic reduction across the WAN with some applications seeing more than that.” Logging in to the Teamcenter dropped by half, which Elder says will drop even further once they replace some older hardware.

Elder also decided to improve visibility into the network to more quickly identify and resolve issues. He selected Riverbed SteelCentral AppResponse, a network-based application performance management solution that is integrated with the SteelHead appliances. AppResponse passively monitors the network and collects packet, application, and transaction data for continuous monitoring and fast troubleshooting.

“We get very detailed analytics of anything we need to look at. I’m a big fan of Riverbed,” says Elder. “We used to get a lot of complaints about network performance from the users and we don’t hear than anymore. I would never want to give up AppResponse.”

Transaction traces and analytics identify problematic components in minutes

With network issues resolved, B/E Aerospace turned to other application performance issues. “We are primarily a .NET shop,” says Derek Turner, senior .NET and SharePoint developer for B/E Aerospace. “We have 12 custom high-availability, internal and external facing .NET applications, and nine times out of 10, when I’m troubleshooting, it’s a .NET issue.”

One .NET application is a portal between buyers and suppliers where internal and external parties come together to share ERP data such as upcoming purchase orders, build time, delivery date, quality specifications and much more. “When we get reports of slowdowns, it can be a shot in the dark just to identify the problem component,” Turner explains. “Then it can take hours to days before we can begin to troubleshoot down to code level. A true fix can take an unknown amount of time.”

As a developer, Turner was familiar with application monitoring tools. After evaluating several industry-leading tools, Turner choose Riverbed® SteelCentral™ AppInternals. “From a .NET perspective, I felt like we were getting more of the information that we needed with AppInternals versus the other products.”

AppInternals helps improve application performance and optimize end-user experience by tracing every transaction from the user to the back-end while capturing system metrics every second. This complete application visibility allows IT to reconstruct incidents in the detail needed to quickly diagnose problems. Powerful analytics helps pinpoint issues down to code level allowing for faster problem solving.

“Now if I get a report that something is timing out (which generally means it’s taking longer than 90 seconds to respond) with the information available to me with this tool, I can isolate the offending component in minutes,” Turner says. “This is the power of AppInternals.”

B/E Aerospace also uses AppInternals to a limited extent in development. “I don’t even need to know anything about an application, but with the granularity available, I can tell a developer where his problem is,” Turner notes.

Turner is very satisfied with his choice of AppInternals. He says, “I can't explain how good AppInternals really is. There’s nothing that I can't see or explain [with it]. Having a tool like this is life changing. Our development response time to deliver a solution to the business unit has been vastly improved.”

We used to get a lot of complaints about network performance from the users and we don’t hear than anymore. I would never want to give up AppResponse.
Chris Elder
Senior Manager, Enterprise Networks and Data Center Operations
B/E Aerospace
I can't explain how good AppInternals really is. There’s nothing that I can't see or explain. Having a tool like this is life changing
Derek Turner
Senior .NET and SharePoint Developer
B/E Aerospace

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