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American Suzuki Motor Corp (ASMC) was looking to reduce costs for hardware, software maintenance, IT support, and bandwidth, as well as improve application performance for its employees. ASMC's IT team supports data-intensive applications for 300 laptop users frequently on the road.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Automobile distribution

Challenges

  • Reduce costs for hardware, software maintenance, IT support, and bandwidth
  • Improve application performance for all 500 employees
  • Accelerate data-intensive applications for 300 laptop users frequently on the road

Solution

  • Four Steelhead appliances deployed: one at the California data center and three at remote distribution center locations in Georgia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania
  • Four Steelhead appliances with the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP) running Windows Server 2003 with DNS, DHCP and print services
  • Steelhead Mobile software (300 licenses)

Benefits

  • Reduced bandwidth costs by $36,000; hardware and software costs by $30,000; and maintenance and support costs by $30,000 annually for a total of nearly $100,000 in annual savings
  • Achieved payback in four months
  • Accelerated file transfers over the WAN up to 50x
  • Improved Exchange email performance by 10x
  • Improved performance of Siebel over the WAN by 15x
  • Improved application performance for Microsoft applications, including SQL for mobile users
  • Experienced smooth installation and responsive Riverbed support

American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC)

Riverbed Enables IT Consolidation that Saves Nearly $100,000 Annually for Auto Distributor

American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) (www.sukuki.com) was founded in 1985 by parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation. Suzuki Motor Corporation manufactures and markets cars, motorcycles, ATVs, and marine engines. The Brea, California headquarters of the U.S. subsidiary serves as the executive headquarters for the Automotive, Motorcycle, and Marine Operations of ASMC. From three main distribution sites in the U.S., ASMC serves approximately 500 auto dealerships in 49 states including Alaska.

Challenge: Reducing costs and accelerating application performance

As ASMC planned to consolidate its IT infrastructure to reduce costs, preserving LAN-like performance of applications over the WAN was critical.

Tom Hanwinyoo, network systems manager at ASMC described the situation. “We wanted to consolidate file servers and data storage from our three remote sites to the main data center, which would also help us reduce IT support requirements at those sites. Cost reduction was the primary driver. We knew that limited bandwidth capacity could cause slow application performance, so we started to evaluate either a WAN upgrade or implementing a WAN optimization solution.”

An effective solution for mobile workers was also vital. ASMC district sales managers travel frequently to meet with Suzuki dealers across the U.S., and there are 300 laptop users among the 500 employees. These users complained about slow email and delays with SQL-related and data-intensive applications including Siebel. Hanwinyoo and his team wanted a solution that would improve productivity for employees on the road and in home offices.

IT Environment: Applications from Microsoft, Siebel, and JD Edwards

ASMC has a hub-and-spoke architecture with T1 circuits linking its headquarters’ data center and three distribution centers across the U.S. At the data center, there are two, three-megabit MPLS pipes providing a VPN for the headquarters offices. ASMC uses NetApp storage solutions and IBM Tivoli for backup. There are two Cisco 6000 switches running at the main site and a variety of other Cisco switches including Cisco 2900s at the three remote sites.

Naming the top applications used by ASMC’s employees, Hanwinyoo listed Exchange email as number one. “In addition, we run a lot of other Microsoft applications, including SQL applications and Windows Server 2003; we also use Siebel and JD Edwards. We wanted to optimize them all,” Hanwinyoo stated.

Solution: Riverbed Steelhead appliances and the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP) running Windows Server

A reseller recommended Riverbed to ASMC, and the company also tested several competitors.

“Improving performance was critical, and our users experienced faster application performance with Riverbed than with other competitive products. Ease of configuration was another reason we chose Riverbed,” Hanwinyoo said.

ASMC deployed four Steelhead appliances and Steelhead Mobile software. “We didn’t separate the mobile decision from choosing a WAN optimization solution: it just happened that Riverbed had the best solution in both categories,” Hanwinyoo stated. There is one Steelhead appliance at the main data center and one in each of the three remote sites. For its remote workers, ASMC deployed Steelhead Mobile software.

Integrating the Riverbed technology with the Cisco routing infrastructure was very smooth for ASMC. “The only thing we did was change the IP address on the device.” Hanwinyoo said. “Riverbed technical support has been very responsive and helpful,” he added.

ASMC also deployed the RSP, which enabled them to run applications virtually on a protected portion in the Steelhead appliance. At ASMC’s three remote locations, the RSP enabled them to run Microsoft Server’s DNS and print services on the Steelhead appliance, eliminating the need for standalone servers for these services.

Benefits: Faster application performance and reduced costs

“Riverbed has proved to be a very cost-effective solution, and the results were immediate,” Hanwinyoo said. “I calculate the payback period at about four months.”

By choosing Steelhead products, ASMC eliminated the need to increase bandwidth, which Hanwinyoo estimated would have cost approximately $36,000 per year for the three remote sites. “Combining annual savings on bandwidth, hardware purchases, software licenses, and support, the consolidation project saves ASMC about $100,000 per year,” Hanwinyoo stated.

Application performance is also significantly improved. “Performance is much better. File transfers over the WAN are ten to 50 times faster depending on file size; email is ten times faster; and Web applications are 15 times faster with Riverbed,” Hanwinyoo stated.

“The speed increases were very noticeable to our end users. A majority of our employees work with Microsoft Access applications, and they have experienced at least a ten times improvement in speed.” Hanwinyoo said. “Our mobile users reported a significant improvement in Siebel performance, saying that with Riverbed there is a ‘remarkable difference’ in the way it loads the pages.”

Finally, technology from Riverbed and Microsoft delivered a powerful combined solution. “Riverbed working with Microsoft allowed us to consolidate effectively and efficiently. The result is faster applications for users at our remote sites, and for employees working on the road or at home,” Hanwinyoo said.

SUMMARY

When American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) planned to consolidate file servers from its branch offices to the main data center, application performance over the wide area network (WAN) was a major concern. In addition, mobile workers were complaining of poor performance of data- intensive applications on the road.

ASMC deployed Riverbed Steelhead appliances, Riverbed Steelhead Mobile software, and the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP) running Microsoft Windows Server. The results were immediate, and the payback period was only four months. ASMC has saved money on bandwidth, hardware, and software licenses. End users, including mobile sales managers, are experiencing improved application performance.

“We didn’t separate the mobile decision from choosing a WAN optimization solution: it just happened that Riverbed had the best solution in both categories,”

“Riverbed has proved to be a very cost-effective solution, and the results were immediate. I calculate payback at about four months.”

“Riverbed working with Microsoft allowed us to consolidate effectively and efficiently.”

“Combining annual savings from bandwidth, hardware purchases, software licenses, and support, the consolidation project saves ASMC about $100,000 per year.”

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