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Liquigas decided to consolidate its IT resources to its headquarters in Milan, in order to simplify its IT systems and reduce the costs associated with managing a decentralized infrastructure. However, employees soon began to complain that it was taking too long to access applications over the wide area network (WAN). ? We had only begun our consolidation process and removed servers from our larger branch offices - nine in total,? explains Riccardo Salierno, head of information systems at Liquigas. ?We couldn?t go back to a decentralized IT infrastructure so we had to overcome the issue of poor application performance over the WAN.?


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Oil and Gas

Challenges

  • Poor application performance over the WAN resulting in reduced employee productivity

Solution

  • 40 Riverbed Steelhead appliances
  • Riverbed Central Management Console

Benefits

  • 3x improvement in application performance
  • Employee collaboration improved

Liquigas

Riverbed Steelhead appliances accelerate applications and increase productivity for energy company

Liquigas (www.liquigas.it) is Italy’s leading distributor of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and is part of SHV Gas, the world’s largest private distributor of LPG. Across Italy, Liquigas has 11 branch offices, more than 50 sales offices, 40 manufacturing plants and warehouses, and a network of 8500 retailers. The company has 1200 employees, and in 2007, had a turnover of around €700 million ($1 billion).

Challenge: Overcome poor application performance as a result of consolidating nine data centers to one location

Liquigas decided to consolidate its IT resources to its headquarters in Milan, in order to simplify its IT systems and reduce the costs associated with managing a decentralized infrastructure. However, employees soon began to complain that it was taking too long to access applications over the wide area network (WAN). ” We had only begun our consolidation process and removed servers from our larger branch offices - nine in total,” explains Riccardo Salierno, head of information systems at Liquigas. “We couldn’t go back to a decentralized IT infrastructure so we had to overcome the issue of poor application performance over the WAN.”

Solution: Riverbed Steelhead appliances overcome latency associated with Windows file sharing applications

Liquigas decided to initially increase its bandwidth to overcome the issue of poor application performance. While this approach improved performance for some applications, it did not completely eradicate the problem for Windows file sharing applications, in particular Microsoft Office and email. This is because these applications are more prone to application latency, which cannot be overcome by increasing bandwidth.

As a result Liquigas’s IT partner proposed a WAN optimization solution as an alternative. “We decided to test two WAN optimization systems, Blue Coat and Riverbed Technology,” recalls Salierno. “The result was no contest: From the very start of the test we found the Riverbed Steelhead appliances simpler to install. Within a matter of minutes the appliances were up and running with no disruption to our existing network.

We deployed Steelhead appliances in branch offices where we were experiencing major performance issues, and we immediately noticed a 3x reduction in the application response time. We were fully convinced with the Riverbed solution and decided to deploy them in most of our branches.”

Benefits: Consolidation project completed without affecting application performance or employee productivity

Liquigas has deployed Riverbed Steelhead appliances in 40 of its branches across Italy, and completed its consolidation project. The impact was instantaneous: “Our employees in the larger branch offices saw an immediate improvement in the time taken to access applications over the WAN.

This meant we could consolidate servers from the other branch offices and with Riverbed deployed, those users never experienced a delay in accessing files and documents. Thanks to Riverbed, our aim of improving application performance, and hence employee productivity, has beenachieved,” says Salierno.

In addition, Liquigas has also been able to make even better use of its current bandwidth: “We estimate that Riverbed has reduced our bandwidth utilization. As a result of this, we are now looking at adopting a new CRM system based on VoIP. We could never have considered this move without Riverbed,” says Salierno.

SUMMARY

When Liquigas decided to consolidate its IT system, employees soon noticed that application performance deteriorated, and began to complain that it was taking too long to access files and documents over the WAN. Liquigas increased its bandwidth capacity to solve the issue, but the benefits were limited. In particular, employees saw no improvement in the time taken to access Windows file sharing applications as these applications are more prone to latency.

Liquigas was then advised to adopt a WAN optimization solution and chose to deploy Riverbed Technology. With the Riverbed solutions installed Liquigas employees immediately saw a 3x improvement in file download speeds, which has resulted in increased employee productivity.

“We couldn’t go back to a decentralized IT infrastructure.”

“We immediately noticed a 70% reduction in the application response time.”

“We could consolidate servers from the other branch offices and with Riverbed deployed, those users never experienced a delay in accessing files and documents.”

 “We estimate that Riverbed has reduced our bandwidth utilization. As a result of this, we are now looking at adopting a new CRM system based on VoIP.”

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