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DC Leisure Management (DCL) specializes in the development and management of leisure facilities in partnership with local authorities throughout the UK, and currently operates 85 sites on their behalf. The company has around 6,500 employees.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Leisure

Challenge

  • Existing network infrastructure struggling to cope with new business applications and processes
  • Upgrade to leased lines was expensive and disruptive
  • Find a cost effective, flexible solution for upgrading bandwidth

Solution

  • 71 Riverbed Steelhead appliances
  • Riverbed Steelhead Mobile
  • Riverbed Central Management Console (CMC)

Benefits

  • Avoided disruptive and expensive bandwidth upgrade estimated to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds
  • ROI within 12 months
  • Up to 92 percent reduction in data transfer of key applications
  • Able to centralize more applications to the private cloud
  • Over 50 percent reduction in backup window from over four hours to less than two hours

DC Leisure

Riverbed Technology enables leisure company to avoid expensive bandwidth upgrade

Background

DC Leisure Management (DCL) specializes in the development and management of leisure facilities in partnership with local authorities throughout the UK, and currently operates 85 sites on their behalf. The company has around 6,500 employees.

Challenge: To upgrade network infrastructure without using expensive leased lines

DCL sites are connected to the company headquarters in Bagshot and data center in Newbury by a wide area network (WAN) using ADSL technology. New business applications and processes had increased data traffic, and the network was under intense pressure. “We were operating at the limits of the network’s capabilities and the cracks were beginning to show,” explains Phil White, head of IT at DCL.

A centralization program saw DCL moving from terminal services applications to browser-based applications that could be hosted in a private cloud. The first applications to be centralized were Xn Leisure Dimension, a membership product, and Microsoft Exchange with an Outlook Web application. DCL had also deployed NetApp SnapVault, a centralized back-up solution, to around 20 percent of its sites, with a planned roll-out to all sites. But the extra traffic across the network had badly affected application performance.

“Dropped connections were an issue and our accounts department would regularly call me to complain. We also had ambitious plans to centralize more applications, such as payroll and accounts, but the ADSL lines were a limiting factor. We knew where we wanted to go, but the problem was: how do we get there? The wide area network (WAN) was going to have to cope with a lot more data, and my goal was to create a stable network that was easy to manage,” explains White.

DCL considered upgrading to leased lines, but the cost was prohibitive, “Some sites are in remote locations and we would have to pay for the leased line infrastructure. There was also a recurring annual charge of close to £1 million for the lines. This wasn’t a realistic option.”

Solution: Riverbed solutions reduce data transfers by up to 92 percent, accelerate application speeds, reduce backup window and stabilize network

DC Leisure’s IT partner suggested WAN optimization as a solution, and recommended Riverbed Technology. A pilot was undertaken with Riverbed® Steelhead® appliances deployed at DCL headquarters, the datacenter and a site near Camberley, Surrey. “We tested Dimension, which is the membership application, and Outlook client and the results were impressive. We achieved a 92 percent data reduction with Dimension, and 58 percent reduction with Outlook.

In addition the SnapVault backup data was reduced by 54 percent, halving the backup window to just two hours. We also experienced benefits in the reduction of file transfers. In numerous tests we saw, for example, a file transfer time reduced from four minutes to ten seconds. Overall, what the results told me was that our network was going to be in good shape going forward if we used Riverbed,” says White.

Benefits: Savings achieved by avoiding leased line upgrade, quick return on investment, and improved quality of service

DCL has deployed 71 Steelhead appliances and Riverbed Steelhead Mobile across its operations. Steelhead Mobile provides mobile workers local area network (LAN)-like access to files and applications wherever they are in the world.

“Deploying Riverbed has saved DCL hundreds of thousands in leased line costs. Thanks to Riverbed, we’ve maintained our inexpensive ADSL lines and that’s made a huge difference,” continues White. “Some of the sites would have cost around £12,000-15,000 a year for a leased line, instead we can continue to use the £600 ADSL network, and for our remote sites we now use Steelhead Mobile.

Overall the Riverbed solution has delivered a return on investment in less than 12 months. “We’ve also seen quality of service improve and we no longer receive calls about dropped connections. The network is now more stable and that gives me peace of mind.”

Further benefits include the roll out of SnapVault to all sites, resulting in a robust disaster recovery system, and the deployment of a web-based version of Sun Proactis accounting software to the private cloud. The Riverbed solution has also enabled DCL to install chip-and-pin devices at all sites and safely transfer credit card data across the network, rather than down telephone lines, bringing additional cost savings. “I don’t think this would have been possible without Riverbed,” says White.

“Riverbed has changed the culture in our organisation and the way people use the company intranet,” adds White. “In the past, a large file would be sent to 50 people; now, just one file is put on the intranet and everyone receives a url link via email.”

The visibility offered by the CMC has enabled potential network issues to be identified early. A large spike in traffic data, for example, was traced to several sites backing up data during office hours, and the issue was quickly resolved.

Deploying Riverbed has also allowed DCL to plan for the future, “There’s now enough spare capacity on the network for us to deploy more applications and services. Riverbed has enabled us to do a lot more for a lot less,” concludes White.

SUMMARY

DC Leisure Management (DCL) manages 85 leisure facilities on behalf of UK local authorities. DCL sites are connected by a WAN using ADSL technology. A program to centralize key applications and store them in a private cloud, plus a new centralized backup system, had stretched the network to its limits, resulting in reduced application performance. Upgrading to leased lines was a very expensive option. By deploying a Riverbed WAN optimization solution, DCL has been able to retain its ADSL lines, saving the company hundreds of thousands of pounds over the coming years. Riverbed solutions have also improved application performance and file transfer speeds, reduced the backup window, stabilized the network, and allowed DCL to further develop its private cloud.

“We were operating at the limits of the network’s capabilities and the cracks were beginning to show.”  In numerous tests we saw, for example, a file transfer time reduced from four minutes to ten seconds.”

“Overall the Riverbed solution has delivered a return on investment in less than 12 months.”

“There’s now enough spare capacity on the network for us to deploy more applications and services. Riverbed has enabled us to do a lot more for a lot less.”

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