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A leader in database marketing services, AccuData Integrated Marketing uses a full range of data resources, powerful marketing analytics, and database technologies to accurately target qualified buyers and increase ROI.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Marketing Services

Challenges

  • Reduce IT expenses through consolidation and centralization of IT infrastructure
  • Maintain vital services in remote sites without deploying additional servers
  • Reduce disaster recovery back-up times
  • Overcome latency of Microsoft applications over the WAN

Solution

  • Steelhead appliances deployed in the two data center and in three remote offices
  • Running Riverbed Services Platform (RSP) in one remote office, on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 with Active Directory, DNS and print services

Benefits

  • Windows Server technology deployed without additional server footprint
  • Microsoft office documents transferred 5x faster
  • Cut disaster recovery back-up windows from 12 hours to less than an hour
  • Bandwidth costs reduced by $100,000/year
  • IT consolidation reduced costs by $60,000/year
  • Payback in four months

AccuData Integrated Marketing

Riverbed Helps AccuData Cut over $160,000 in IT Expenses per Year and Consolidate Remote Servers

A leader in database marketing services, AccuData Integrated Marketing uses a full range of data resources, powerful marketing analytics and database technologies to accurately target qualified buyers and increase ROI. For nearly 20 years, AccuData’s industry experts have been dedicated to helping clients develop lead generation strategies and develop customized marketing solutions. AccuData has delivered results to more than 5,000 clients across the printing, agency, travel/hospi- tality, financial services, healthcare, ecommerce, energy/utility, retail and telecom industries.

Challenge: Reduce expenses, consolidate IT infrastructure, and increase application performance

AccuData was in the midst of server consolidation from its Wickford, RI office into its Providence datacenter. With a collaborative work environment between its five offices scattered throughout Florida and Rhode Island and North Carolina, AccuData needed to streamline operations and optimize its network to ensure workers were able to meet client data requests.

The main problems were slow application performance for remote workers, and an expensive distributed IT envronment. Bandwidth was congested between two central offices contributing to the poor end-user performance. This was due to long DR windows taking over 12 hours to replicate every day consuming bandwidth, as well as “chatty” applications and protocols.

Also remote offices were requiring more IT resources and local services, causing an increase in IT budgets. After attending a trade show in 2005, Jeff Wilhelm, vice president of information technology, came across Riverbed Steelhead appliances and realized they could help address these challenges.

IT Environment: Microsoft Office applications and file transfers (FTP / CIFS / NFS) over an MPLS network

AccuData has five offices that include two data centers and three remote offices connected by an IPSec network. It uses Microsoft technology for most of its critical applications and 80% of its network traffic is CIFS traffic. Other applications include Microsoft Office, HTTP applications such as AccuLeads.com (a proprietary application), which is one of its proprietary applications, and database technologies such as Microsoft SQL Server and Database Studio. Because of high latency over the WAN, many of these applications were slow for users to access from the central data center in the remote offices, causing delays in worker productivity.

Solution: Riverbed Steelhead Appliances running RSP with Windows Server

AccuData evaluated several companies before deciding on Riverbed. At the Network World conference, Wilhelm met with representatives from Riverbed and several competitors. Wilhelm also heard from industry analysts and IT professionals who had deployed technologies from these vendors.

To do a proof of concept, AccuData evaluated WAN optimization products from Riverbed and two other competitors.

The products were configured and dropped into production for two weeks of live tests – one at the remote office in Wickford and one at one at the datacenter in Providence. In the initial testing with Riverbed, AccuData cut its off-site backup window on the first day by roughly 60%, and there was an 8 - 9x capacity increase over the WAN due to data reduction between Providence and Wickford.

In one test, transfer time for a 100MB Excel file from Providence to Wickford decreased from 200 seconds to 49 seconds with the Riverbed Steelhead appliances in place on the first transfer (or “cold” hit). Subsequent transfers were reduced even further to 10 seconds (or a 20x improvement in transfer time). Over time, AccuData saw an average capacity increase of 4.4x between the two test sites, at one point pushing over 200Mb/s of data over the 10Mb/s connection.

AccuData was also able to take advantage of the new Riverbed Services Platform (RSP) which allows customers to virtualize local services directly onto the Riverbed Steelhead appliance. AccuData used this capability in one of their branch offices to host virtual domain controllers (AD / DNS) and print services using Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2.

“We no longer need a dedicated IT resource at that office, nor do we need a dedicated server because of the Steelhead appliance. We can virtualize the few services that did need to be local, and then consolidate the services that can operate from the data center, while still allowing a relatively seamless level of access due to the acceleration capabilities of Riverbed,” said Wilhelm.

Benefits: Consolidation, cost-savings and application acceleration

Choosing Riverbed made a big difference at Accudata. “Steelhead appliances completely impressed us with the ease-of-implementation of the Steelhead appliances and RSP and the immediate results we encountered. Our end-users instantly saw an increase in overall application performance, Microsoft Office traffic was greatly accelerated and our IT footprint at the branch was reduced. We did not need to add bandwidth, and we no longer need servers at the branch to run local services such as Windows Server active directory and DNS,” says Wilhelm.

A significant benefit from deploying Riverbed Steelhead appliances was the consolidation of over 100 servers from remote offices to the main data center. The combination of application acceleration with virtualization from RSP allowed a smooth transition for the consolidation and cost-cutting efforts.

AccuData’s overall results were impressive. Disaster recovery back-up windows were cut from 12 hours to less than an hour, Microsoft office documents transferred 5x faster, bandwidth costs were reduced by $100,000 per year, and IT consolidation reduced costs by $60,000 per year. AccuData’s payback period was only four months, and they are saving over $160,000 per year in expenses. Wilhelm commented that “the cost savings and optimization of our overall IT infrastructure has exceeded our expectations. I am able to allocate funds to other projects and more easily manage my entire network.”

“We no longer needs servers at the branch to run local services such as Windows Server active directory and DNS.”

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