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CDC IXIS is an international bank headquartered in France that provides institutional investors, companies, and local and regional governments with financial services such as capital markets, financing, banking and securities services, asset management, and financial guaranty. OPNET AppResponse Xpert's ability to rapidly zero in on the origin of problems not only greatly accelerated troubleshooting at CDC IXIS North America, but delivered a major improvement in inter-departmental collaboration and cooperation.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Financial Services

Challenges

  • Inability to plan effectively for network expansion
  • Difficulty defending against “the network is slow” claims
  • Hard to pinpoint and resolve issues across application, server, and network “silos”
  • Time lost to inefficient collaboration between teams

Solution

  • AppResponse Xpert Appliance deployed in New York data center
  • Ability to quickly pinpoint the source of response problems
  • Accurate, highly granular measurements of network performance and usage
  • Business groups defined to support the needs of each department

Benefits

  • Much faster problem identification and resolution
  • Greatly improved collaboration between management teams
  • Better capacity planning for new office rollouts
  • Reduced expenditures on network management products

CDC IXIS North America

Global Financial Services

CDC IXIS is an international bank headquartered in France that provides institutional investors, companies, and local and regional governments with financial services such as capital markets, financing, banking and securities services, asset management, and financial guaranty. A subsidiary of Compagnie Financière EULIA and Caisse des depots, CDC IXIS boasts 29 billion in assets and employs more than 5300 people worldwide, more than 40% of them outside of France in its many international offices, which account for more than half of its business.

Challenge: A Business-Critical Network

CDC IXIS North America, based in New York, oversees the bank’s steady expansion into the American market. The IT staff in New York play a critical role in that expansion, as well as day-to-day operations, keeping the bank’s battery of applications running over its LANs, WAN, and VPNs and making sure that the network can support new offices as they come on line. Because all of the bank’s important applications are hosted in the New York data center and accessed via VPN, network performance and utilization are critical issues.

For instance, all remote office emails must be received and scanned by servers in New York to assure compliance with various SEC regulations; other critical applications include the transmission of trading information, position analysis reports, and the like.

IT relied on a variety of third-party products and open-source tools, but found that many problems went undetected, or, as is usual in any enterprise, were ascribed to the network regardless of their cause. As well, these tools were not useful in capacity planning either, because they delivered the wrong type of information, or could not gather granular enough data.

Solution:Immediate Results

The IT staff saw the difference immediately when they installed the Riverbed® AppResponse Xpert® Appliance. “Within the first week of evaluation the [AppResponse Xpert] appliance box caught two problems,” says Henry Yiin, Manager of Network Administration at CDC IXIS North America. “Both were rather subtle—an RPC bug in an Exchange server and a misconfigured IP address in another office, but the [AppResponse Xpert] appliance saw the changes in response time and let us zero in on the offending devices right away.” He adds, “That alone confirmed our feeling that the the [AppResponse Xpert] flow-based approach could save us time and money.”

Benefits: Defending the Network

AppResponse Xpert’s ability to rapidly zero in on the origin of problems not only greatly accelerated troubleshooting at CDC IXIS North America, but delivered a major improvement in inter-departmental collaboration and cooperation. “We have a much better relationship with the systems managers and the application developers now,” says Yiin. “We don’t waste time deciding whose responsibility the problem is because the [AppResponse Xpert] appliance gives us all the information we need to pinpoint the source of a problem, which means the right team can get on it right away.”

First Things First

Mr. Yiin also notes the ability of the AppResponse Xpert appliance to group network flows in terms of business groups—which can represent users, applications, business services, data centers, servers, or practically any other business-relevant grouping—is a major advantage. “It helps us prioritize our response to problems: rather than responding to the loudest complaints, we can identify the problem that’s hurting the business the most.” He also looks forward to investigating setting up a bill-back system for better accounting of IT services and their use by each department.

Growing the Network

The continuing success of CDC IXIS North America has put capacity planning in the forefront of the IT department’s priorities. Here, too, the AppResponse Xpert appliance has made a big difference. “With our previous tools, we either couldn’t read WAN and VPN usage, or couldn’t get a detailed enough picture without running the sampling rate so high that we couldn’t store enough data to be useful,” says Yiin. “And at the lower resolution we had to work with, we were losing the data we needed to accurately judge peak usage. But with the [AppResponse Xpert] solution, we get an accurate reading on both peak and average usage. This has greatly improved our capacity planning.”

CDC IXIS North America has used the AppResponse Xpert appliance in particular to monitor WAN and VPN usage to the bank’s Los Angeles office as it grows, giving them the information they need to provide adequate network connectivity for new offices as they are established.

A Tool for All Reasons

Mr. Yiin and the IT staff at CDC IXIS North America are still discovering new uses for [AppResponse Xpert] “The longer it gathers data, the more useful we find it,” he says. “The AppResponse Xpert appliance has become one of my main tools, and one with a larger proportion of useful features than anything else I use. In fact, now that we have it, I can’t think of any other tool that I need to add.”

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