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A trading name of Lucy Electric UK Ltd, Lucy Switchgear (www.lucyswitchgear.com) is a manufacturer of medium and low voltage electrical switchgear. With over 100 years experience in the power distribution industry Lucy Switchgear is at the cutting edge of Ring Main Unit design and innovation.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Manufacturing – electrical components

Challenges

  • Delays in accessing files between offices was reducing worker productivity
  • Existing bandwidth was inadequate for increased use of CAD, Outlook and video conferencing files
  • Unable to backup data across the WAN

Solution

  • Riverbed chosen to accelerate applications across the WAN and reduce bandwidth utilization
  • 5 Riverbed Steelhead appliances
  • 30 Steelhead Mobile licenses

Benefits

  • Eliminated need to increase bandwidth capacity
  • Reduced bandwidth utilization by 50%
  • Increased speed of application access by up to 90%
  • Reliable backup of files between sites

Lucy Switchgear

Lucy Switchgear Powers Up Its Application Access With Riverbed Technology

Challenge: Long delays when accessing applications across the UK and Dubai offices

Users at Lucy Switchgear were experiencing severe delays when accessing files away from their local offices. In some cases it could take up to 90 minutes to log on and download very large CAD files.

Lucy Switchgear has four offices in the UK and one in Dubai. Wide area networks (WAN) connectionsare via leased line and aggregated ADSL lines with all sites connecting back to Thame via VPN.

The main applications used are Siemens NX (3-D CAD and modelling), Teamcenter PLM (productlifecycle management), Sage ERP, and Microsoft Office. All CAD files are held in Thame and data is synchronized overnight to Banbury and Dubai.

Chris Ireland, global network manager for Lucy Switchgear explained, “Thame was becoming a bottleneck for our employees trying to access documents. We have a number of users who move between sites and they were complaining of the lengthy delays in downloading files. We were also seeing an increase in the use of CAD, Outlook and video conferencing. It was obvious that we were using up all of our available bandwidth.”

Solution: Riverbed Steelhead appliances negate the need for additional bandwidth expenditure

Ireland identified that the company had two possible solutions, increase bandwidth or optimize the WAN traffic.

“After investigating the increased bandwidth option it became clear that adding additional leased lines at all sites would be very expensive so increasing bandwidth wasn’t the answer,” explained Ireland.

With the help of its technology reseller, Lucy Switchgear decided to investigate WAN optimization solutions from Riverbed and one other competitor. After running trials it became clear that the Riverbed solution was outperforming the alternative product and could handle the CAD file requirements. Lucy Switchgear also tested the possibility of using the Riverbed Steelhead appliances to backup a server remotely from the Oxford office to Thame. With Riverbed backing up a 770MB folder the backup time was reduced from 122 minutes to 2 minutes 27 seconds.

As Ireland concluded, “We were so pleased with the results from the Steelhead appliance that we wouldn’t let Riverbed remove the box at the end of the trial period.”

Benefits: Bandwidth utilization reduced and faster file downloads

Since installing the Riverbed Steelhead appliances Lucy Switchgear has seen bandwidth utilization reduced by approximately 50%, and file downloads have sped up by up to 90%. Data is now also backed up remotely from the Witney office to the Thame office, enabling more protection for their business.

For the designers who travel to Dubai it used to take them up to 90 minutes to first log on and download large CAD files from the UK offices, and then further downloads could take around 20 minutes. With Riverbed, logging on to the UK servers has now been reduced dramatically and downloading files reduced to just a couple of minutes, making workers far more productive.

Having opted for the WAN optimization project over increased bandwidth costs, Ireland concluded, “If Lucy Switchgear had just increased bandwidth we would have added a significant cost to our existing IT budget. Instead, by choosing Riverbed we have not only avoided those costs but also improved user productivity.”

Looking ahead

Lucy Switchgear has recently purchased Steelhead Mobile licences and plans to use these for their roaming employees. Steelhead Mobile is a software only version of the technology that sits on the laptops of mobile workers, providing the same improved application performance to workers on the move.

Lucy Switchgear is also planning to open another office and as Ireland explained, “We’re currently planning the IT design for the new office, and the Steelhead appliances are an essential component of that infrastructure. That’s how important Riverbed is to us now.”

Background

A trading name of Lucy Electric UK Ltd, Lucy Switchgear (www.lucyswitchgear.com) is a manufacturer of

medium and low voltage electrical switchgear. With over 100 years experience in the power distribution industry Lucy Switchgear is at the cutting edge of Ring Main Unit design and innovation.

Lucy Switchgear has offices in both the UK and Dubai. Through industrial partners and contractors, and with joint ventures in Saudi Arabia and India, Lucy Switchgear has established a global network operating in over 50 countries.

Through its customers Lucy Switchgear’s power distribution solutions facilitate the delivery of electricity to homes and businesses worldwide.

SUMMARY

Lucy Switchgear needed to overcome network latency delays for users opening files between its UK and Dubai sites. The existing bandwidth was also struggling to cope with the increased use of CAD, Outlook and video conferencing files. After investigating the possibilities Lucy Switchgear chose a WAN optimization solution from Riverbed, rather than increasing bandwidth.

After installing Riverbed Steelhead appliances at its four UK offices and Dubai site, Lucy Switchgear has experienced a 50% reduction in bandwidth utilization. Time taken to access files between sites has improved by up to 90% and the company has also been able to introduce a remote backup strategy at its Witney site.

The Riverbed deployment was dead easy. One of the easiest things I’ve done in a while for the WAN.

We were so pleased with the results from the Steelhead appliance that we wouldn’t let Riverbed remove the box at the end of the trial period.

By choosing Riverbed we not only avoided expensive bandwidth upgrade costs but also improved user productivity.

Steelhead appliances are an essential component of our IT infrastructure. That’s how important Riverbed is to us now.

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