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Media Markt relies heavily on IT for many of its business processes, and the company has created a virtualized IT system concept which is deployed to each of the Shanghai stores. With ambitious growth plans for the China market, the issue of slow backup speeds due to latency couldn?t be solved unless Media Markt used a WAN optimization solution.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Consumer Product & Services

Challenges

  • Required a backup and disaster recovery strategy that could scale over time
  • Needed to understand, monitor and manage application and network traffic performance

Solution

  • Riverbed Steelhead appliances
  • Riverbed Cascade

Benefits

  • 4 times reduction in data backup time
  • Ability to quickly identify and fix application and network issues quickly

Media Markt

Riverbed Technology enables backup and disaster recovery strategy, and network traffic visibility, at retail organization

Media Markt is Europe’s largest electrical goods retailer, and has expanded into China with several stores in Shanghai. Media Markt plans to continue its expansion across China and open 100 stores by 2015. Media Markt is part of the Media-Saturn Group which has around 850 retail stores across 15 countries in Europe. The Media-Saturn Group has more than 70,000 employees and a turnover of €21bn ($30bn).

Challenge: To provide a backup and DR solution that could scale as the company grows

Media Markt relies heavily on IT for many of its business processes. The company has created a virtualized IT system concept which is deployed to each of its Shanghai stores. “Unlike many retail outlets Media Markt stores make extensive use of IT,” explains John-Erik Horn, director of IT sourcing and infrastructure solutions at Media Markt. “A typical 4,000-square-meter store contains around 50 computers, 100 phones, 100 CCTV cameras, and approximately 100 or more employees who access computer systems for email, the Internet, and retail applications such as Oracle Retail Suite, as well as several point- of-sale (POS) applications.”

All of the stores’ vital business data is hosted in a VMware environment and on NetApp filers. Data is backed up to the data center overnight via a 2MB leased line, utilizing SnapMirror.

“A fire, flood, or other natural disaster could render a store inoperative,” explains Horn. “Due to the number of business transactions completed each day, several gigabytes of data are sent over a low-bandwidth connection. With the stores and data center located in Shanghai we can manage the data backups over the WAN,” adds Horn, “but we have ambitious growth plans for the China market, and I knew that stores located thousands of miles away from the data center would result in slow backup speeds due to latency. I realized that this issue couldn’t be solved unless we used a WAN optimization solution.”

Solution: Riverbed provides a scalable backup and recovery solution with network performance management

Media Markt investigated a number of WAN optimization solution vendors before deciding to test two from Cisco and Riverbed Technology. The Riverbedsolutions included Steelhead appliances and Cascade, an application aware solution for network performance management (NPM) including net-work monitoring, network analysis and troubleshooting, dependency mapping, IT consolidation and security. In addition, through behavioral analytics Cascade monitors application performance, and sends an alert when there are any changes to normal behavior.

This early warning system can be used to alert network managers to problems before business is affected. “In our tests it became obvious that the Steelhead appliance was not only superior in technology but also easier to install and manage, but the key differentiator for us was Cascade,” explains Horn. “I’m responsible for all the data produced by Media Markt, whether it’s on a USB stick or at the data center. With Cascade we can have complete visibility of our network and applications, and that is extremely important to us.”

Benefits: 4 times reduction in backup time and greater network traffic visibility

Media Markt has installed Steelhead appliances in its current stores and data center and Cascade in the data center. As a result the time taken to backup data from its Shanghai stores has been reduced from several hours to less than 30 minutes.

“Riverbed has supplied us with a solution that will scale as our business grows,” says Horn. “For every new store that we open we will automatically install a Steelhead appliance. This will ensure that data can be backed up quickly, no matter how far the distance between the store and the data center.”

Cascade has already proven to be a valuable investment, as Horn explains, “By using Cascade, our IT team was able to identify a high volume of traffic being generated by one of the stores. Further investigation found that a large number of Linux-based desktops were attempting to run an update at the same time, which was causing them all to download a 50MB encrypted folder via a web server.”

The problem was solved by activating a firewall block, which disconnected the data transmission and removed the traffic from the WAN. “With Cascade we can quickly identify what’s happening across our network and apply a fix,” says Horn. “Riverbed has been a great investment for us.”

SUMMARY

As part of its business expansion plan, Media Markt opened retail stores in Shanghai, China, and plans to open up many more across the country. A critical business process is the backing up of data from each store. The Shanghai stores are linked to the data center via a low-bandwidth 2MB line and gigabytes of data are backed up from each store overnight. By deploying Riverbed Steelhead appliances, Media Markt can now back up data in minutes instead of hours. The deployment of Riverbed Cascade has given the company much greater network traffic visibility, and enabled network managers to identify potential problems across the WAN, and solve them quickly.

“A fire, flood or other natural disaster could render a store inoperative.”

“It became obvious that the Steelhead appliance was not only superior in technology but also easier to install and manage, but the key differentiator for us was Cascade.”

“With Cascade we can quickly identify what’s happening across our network and apply a fix.”

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