BOBST Group is a leading global supplier of equipment and services to the packaging and label industries. Its main markets are flexible materials, folding carton and corrugated board. Headquartered in Switzerland, BOBST has around 5,000 employees around the world, a presence in more than 50 countries, and twelve production facilities across three continents. BOBST provides machines, services, workflows and consumables for packaging and label producers, and brand owners. A leader in innovation, BOBST was the first company to introduce digital printing to the industry.
A highly successful growth strategy has seen BOBST acquire many companies. This huge expansion resulted in many new sites being integrated into BOBST’s IT infrastructure. Each site had its own physical and virtual servers, local storage, services and backup, making the vast IT landscape challenging to manage. The local branch infrastructure was also aging, and much of it needed replacing.
A localized backup system was making it challenging to provide comprehensive data protection, with implications for disaster recovery. “We had to rely on the local branch managers to do the backups – with no guarantee that they actually were doing them,” explains Xavier Plautard, Group IT Infrastructure Manager at BOBST. BOBST employees also complained about poor network and application performance, which the company tried to resolve with monthly bandwidth upgrades – an expensive process.
“We used Riverbed SteelCentral performance management to measure what happens on the WAN (Wide Area Network) and discovered that 60% of the traffic was internet-related,” explains Xavier Plautard. “SteelCentral has many helpful features.
The reporting feature and the dashboard functionality really add value. We set-up customized dashboards for our developers, solutions teams and business application teams, because they all wanted to see how their applications were performing. Using the data derived from SteelCentral, we developed a solution based around Riverbed SteelHead and Riverbed SteelFusion.”
A proof-of-concept demonstrated the powerful WAN optimization capabilities offered by SteelHead, and the ease at which branch offices could be quickly set-up or restored with SteelFusion. “When we turned off SteelHead at one of our Belgium offices, employees immediately complained – they wanted to keep the improved performance and asked us to turn it on again,” Xavier Plautard notes. BOBST also measured the recovery time objective at remote offices and found that it only took 90 minutes for employees to regain access to data and services.
A key part of the Riverbed Application Performance Platform™, SteelFusion is a hyper-converged edge solution that enables zero IT at the branch. SteelFusion consolidates 100% of data and servers out of the branches and into the data center where it can be properly secured, managed and protected, while ensuring fast local performance of branch applications and services. This provides fast provisioning at the branch from the data centre, as well as fast recovery in the event of a site failure.
BOBST’s global IT architecture is divided into hubs, medium and small offices. “The biggest change happened in the small offices, where we used to have physical servers”, says Xavier Plautard. So far, BOBST has consolidated over 50 branch offices with SteelFusion and is planning to consolidate all remote offices in future. “Thanks to Riverbed, it’s now much easier for us to integrate new companies into our business”, adds Xavier Plautard.
The implementation of SteelCentral NetExpress and SteelHead means that BOBST no longer upgrades network bandwidth on a regular basis, providing considerable cost savings. “The first thing we noticed was that we didn’t have to upgrade the bandwidth for twelve months. We optimized and understood how the network and applications work. We now get very useful input for our developers, because they know how their applications perform on our network,” states Xavier Plautard, “And we’ve been able to significantly reduce network traffic, for example, antivirus traffic has gone from 30 percent to almost zero.”
Application performance has also been improved, including product lifecycle management software CATIA. “Before using Riverbed, it took users in Italy and India 30 minutes to start running this application; following the optimization, it now only takes ten seconds. SteelCentral helped us locate a problem with the underlying network protocols, and we used SteelHead to resolve this issue”.
BOBST has also consolidated its branch office IT infrastructure with SteelFusion. “We removed and renewed the infrastructure in our remote offices and replaced the local servers and storage hardware with a single box, which is now easier to manage,” say Plautard. “When we closed our office in Hong Kong, we deployed SteelFusion at our new bureau in Istanbul. Within one week, we set-up the new office – it was a quick, easy and highly cost-effective process. Before Riverbed, setting up a new branch office was a painful process. We had to order separate components, wait for the delivery and then send a technician to install everything locally”.
“Riverbed SteelFusion sets a new standard in application and network performance – it’s like having a data center in a box. SteelFusion is the way to go,” says Xavier Plautard.
Riverbed SteelFusion sets a new standard in application and network performance – it’s like having a data center in a box. SteelFusion is the way to go.
Before using Riverbed, it took users in Italy and India 30 minutes to start running a specific application; following the optimization, it now only takes ten seconds. SteelCentral helped us locate a problem with the underlying network protocols, and we used SteelHead to resolve this issue
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