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San Francisco—June 18, 2015— Riverbed Technology, the leader in application performance infrastructure, today announced that Northwest Pipe Company was able to modernize its IT environment by choosing Riverbed® SteelHead™ and Riverbed® SteelFusion™, thus improving corporate productivity, data protection and network visibility for faster issue resolution. With the Riverbed solution, the company was able to remedy many of the difficulties in its IT infrastructure that arose in the last few years, such as: servers and other equipment coming to end-of-life, a growing amount of network traffic, manufacturing data that needed better protection, low bandwidth at some manufacturing sites, and a lack of network visibility. Northwest Pipe says it implemented the Riverbed solution for approximately $1 million less than it would have cost to solve those issues separately.
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Since 1966 Northwest Pipe Company has been a leading manufacturer of welded steel pipe. Headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, the company operates nine manufacturing facilities in the United States and one in Mexico. Key components of the company's IT environment had begun to reach end-of-life, including server hardware and software at the manufacturing plants and the Cisco WAAS WAN optimization appliances the company had previously used. This was happening at a time when an increase in network traffic was starting to cause bandwidth saturation, leading to "people complaining about applications not running the way they should," recalled Jonathan Harris, network engineer at Northwest Pipe.
Northwest Pipe didn't want to add bandwidth due to the recurring cost, but Harris felt he had no choice at some of the manufacturing sites with smaller connections. The company's IT organization was also dealing with the fact that the manufacturing plants were generating more data than ever before and it needed to be protected like the rest of the corporate data. "With the automation and integration of more systems at the plants, as well as demands from the executive group for more of that data, we needed to do a better job of protecting it," Harris explained. Also, he needed better visibility into the MPLS network traffic for capacity planning and troubleshooting."
Harris calculated the cost of separate solutions -- replacing the WAN optimization appliances, adding bandwidth to selected sites, replacing file servers, adding a disaster recovery (DR) solution for the manufacturing data and additional bandwidth for that data replication. He discovered that resolving these issues independently would be expensive and disjointed.
Instead Harris opted to purchase a single solution from Riverbed consisting of SteelFusion Edge appliances running at the manufacturing sites, along with a SteelHead CX appliance and SteelFusion Core storage delivery controller in the data center. Harris went with Riverbed in part because of the company's reputation. "I had already known that Riverbed was a very strong solution provider in WAN optimization," Harris recalled. "They have the lion's share in that market and for good reason. Their technology is very solid and well made."
The SteelHead and SteelFusion combination provided a single, much more affordable solution to the issues Northwest Pipe was facing. SteelHead addressed the bandwidth saturation and application performance issues, and eliminated the need for additional bandwidth. SteelHead also provided the higher level of visibility into application and network performance that Harris wanted. SteelFusion, which integrates server, storage and network infrastructure, eliminated the need for new servers at the manufacturing sites -taking the IT infrastructure out of the branch. It also secured the manufacturing data by allowing it to be stored and managed centrally in the data center, without compromising any performance and capacity requirements.
"There isn't anybody else out there that offers a solution that could do all this," Harris said. Northwest Pipe now has a solution in place that ensures good application performance over the network, even as network traffic continues to increase by up to 35%. "The end users are not affected. The applications are running the same or better than they did in the past," Harris noted. "And we have all the protection we need for our data since it's safe in the data center."
Harris also appreciates the visibility he now has into application and network performance. "Having better visibility puts me so much further ahead of where I was," he added. "I'm able to troubleshoot much more clearly and see what's going on. It's wonderful!"
Riverbed SteelHead, SteelFusion and the Riverbed Application Performance Platform
The Riverbed Application Performance Platform™ gives CIOs end-to-end visibility, optimization and control across the enterprise. A key part of the platform, Riverbed SteelHead is the industry's #1 optimization solution for accelerated delivery of all applications across the hybrid enterprise. SteelHead provides increased visibility into application performance and end-user experience and the ability to ensure business performance SLAs through an application-aware approach to hybrid networking based on centralized business intent-based policies. Riverbed SteelFusion is the first and only hyper-converged infrastructure solution that is designed to enable zero IT at the branch. SteelFusion consolidates 100% of data and servers out of branches and into the datacenter where it can be properly secured, managed and protected, while ensuring fast local performance of branch applications and services. SteelFusion extends the full power, security and resiliency of the datacenter out to each branch site resulting in complete data security, increased business agility and superior business continuity.
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