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Kamstrup, a technology company headquartered in Denmark, wanted to centralise its IT systems and its data backup system to a central data centre.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Energy

Challenges

  • Consolidate IT systems from 15 remote locations to a central data centre in order to reduce costs, improve data backup and simplify IT management

Solution

  • 17 Riverbed Steelhead appliances
  • Riverbed Management Console (CMC)

Benefits

  • Consolidated IT Servers and backup system to a central data centre
  • 50-70% increase in file download speeds
  • Currently removed five local servers with plans to remove all local servers
  • 7x reduction in bandwidth utilisation

Kamstrup

Energy Company Removes Local Servers and Centralises IT Systems Without Affecting Employee Productivity

Kamstrup A/S (www.kamstrup.dk) is a technology company with its headquarters in Denmark. The company manufactures systems solutions for energy metering and has around 700 employees. Its turnover is DKK 1 billion (134 million). Kamstrup has offices in 15 countries across Europe, Middle East and China, and operates in over 40 countries in Europe and Asia.

Challenge: Consolidate IT and backup systems without affecting employee performance

Kamstrup A/S wanted to centralise its IT systems to a central data centre based at its headquarters in Denmark, and remove local servers from 15 branch offices, in order to reduce costs and simplify its IT infrastructure. The company also wanted to consolidate and centralise its data backup system, which was also to be located at its headquarters. Kamstrup employees rely upon Microsoft SharePoint, Dynamics and Exchange to conduct day to day business activities.

Consolidation can bring many benefits, but the challenge is to reduce the IT infrastructure without adversely affecting employee productivity. For many distributed organisations moving from a local area network (LAN) to a wide area network (WAN) can result in poor application performance with employees losing time whilst waiting to access files and data. So it was vital that Kamstrup’s branch offices would not be adversely affected by the company’s IT consolidation plans.

Solution: Riverbed Steelhead appliances enable consolidation of IT and data backup systems

Kamstrup identified that a WAN optimisation solution would enable it to remove local servers and centralise its IT systems without adversely affecting employee performance, but the challenge for Kamstrup was to find the best solution for its needs. The company evaluated systems from both Cisco and Riverbed. As Jesper Lasthein Hansen, IT manager at Kamstrup explains, “We decided not to test the Cisco product as it was deemed to be too complex to set up. We really needed a solution that would be straight-forward to install and manage.” He continues, “In contrast the Riverbed solution was ideal for our requirements. It really was a ‘plug and play’ solution.”

Benefits: IT and backup systems centralised, employee performance unaffected and 7x reduction in bandwidth utilisation

Kamstrup has deployed 17 Riverbed Steelhead appliances across its operations in Europe and Asia, and the Riverbed Central Management Console (CMC) at its data centre. “Deployment has been a very easy and smooth process with even non-IT staff able to set up the appliances,” says Hansen. “We’ve also found the maintenance of the appliances to be straight-forward using the CMC.”

With the Steelhead appliances installed Kamstrup has been able to consolidate its IT and data backup systems to its data centre. The company has already removed five local servers and plans to remove more as the consolidation project continues. Time taken to download files and applications has improved by an average of 60% and employees have remarked upon this improvement as Hansen explains, “There has been a great amount of positive feedback from employees working in the branch offices, and we have had no complaints from users when we’ve removed the local servers.

In fact we now have employees telling us that since the centralisation project they’ve noticed a reduction in the time taken to access key applications such as Exchange, Dynamics and SharePoint.”

Moving to a centralised system has also resulted in substantial cost savings for the company as it no longer needs to manage and maintain local servers. Recently Kamstrup opened two new sales offices in Europe and the Middle East. In the past each new office would have required at least one local server, but instead Kamstrup has installed Steelhead appliances at these two offices, so avoiding the costs associated with local servers.

Kamstrup also has a secure data backup system with data being backed up over the WAN and then replicated. By centralising this process the organisation no longer needs to rely upon local staff to backup data as Hansen notes, “In Norway and Sweden we relied upon local employees and an external company to manage our data backups.

Now with Riverbed in place, those employees can focus on their day jobs and not IT, and we have been able to terminate our agreement with the external agency. Riverbed has enabled us to deliver greater business efficiencies and savings back to the company.” The company has also seen a 7x reduction in bandwidth utilisation, which means Kamstrup does not need to upgrade its bandwidth requirements for the immediate future.

Looking Forward

Kamstrup plans to remove all local servers from all of its sales offices, starting with its offices in China, and as part of that policy will look to exploit further the opportunities around the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP). The RSP enables organisations to run up to five applications on a virtual platform, and allows companies to further consolidate at the branch office layer by removing the need for file/print and DNS and DHCP servers.

SUMMARY

Kamstrup wanted to centralise its IT and data backup systems in order to reduce costs and simplify its IT infrastructure. However the company was concerned that moving from a decentralised system to a centralised one would result in poor application performance for users trying to access data and files over the WAN.

By choosing a WAN optimisation solution from Riverbed Kamstrup has been able to centralise its IT systems without affecting employee performance, increase application performance speeds by an average of 60%, reduce the number of local servers, see a 7x reduction in bandwidth utilisation and reduce overall IT management costs. In addition users have commented that since the centralisation project they can now access key applications, such as Microsoft SharePoint and Dynamics, in far less time than previously.

“The Riverbed solution was ideal. It really was a ‘plug and play’ solution.”

“There has been a great amount of positive feedback from employees and we’ve had no complaints when we’ve removed local servers.”

“Riverbed has enabled us to deliver greater business efficiencies and savings back to the company.”

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