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After deploying the Riverbed ® Steelhead ® solution, TPD reduced bandwidth utilization by 85 percent and transformed their remote administration, achieving $78,000 in savings annually.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Engineering

Challenges

  • Improve CAD file sharing over the Wide Area Network (WAN)
  • Centralize and consolidate servers into the data center
  • Establish a baseline infrastructure for future branch office expansions

Solution

  • Steelhead appliances deployed in each existing office, and additional Steelheads deployed in each new office roll-out

Benefits

  • 85% reductionin bandwidth utilization
  • $78,000 saved annually by reclaiming an hour per CAD user per day
  • IT Team centralized, vastly improving remote administration
  • Improved project management and collaboration, and responsiveness to clients

Traffic Planning and Design, Inc.

Riverbed Steelhead Appliances Reduce Bandwidth Consumption and Improve Productivity and Collaboration

Background

Traffic Planning and Design (TPD) (www.trafficpd.com) is a 90-member consulting engineering firm specializing in Traffic Studies and Bridge, Highway, and Traffic Signal Designs for both public and private sector clients. In addition, TPD provides Environmental Studies, Construction Management, and Site Access Permitting Services.

Throughout its history, TPD has remained dedicated to developing responsible and innovative transportation and environmental solutions; promoting safe transportation and development to accommodate growing population. TPD is ranked #1 on the list of “Top Places to Work in Pennsylvania.”

Currently, TPD has 3 Pennsylvania offices located in the Philadelphia, Allentown, and Harrisburg areas; future branch office locations are currently in the planning stages. The ability to expand quickly and efficiently is due largely in part to the improvements realized by the addition of River- bed’s Steelheads to TPD’s existing network infrastructure.

Challenge: A High-Performance WAN to Connect Offices

For TPD, optimizing their WAN is a strategic priority for both the existing environment and future expansion. “Without a reliable, high performance WAN, we would not be able to provide our branch office staff the tools and support they need to do their jobs effectively and respond so quickly to clients. That is something we are not willing to sacrifice.” Notes Karl Fischer, IT Manager for TPD.

CAD applications form the foundation for services rendered by TPD. Performance and file access speeds for Bentley MicroStation CAD were the productivity drivers behind the WAN optimization initiative. “TPD is growing, and file sizes are growing, but a single T1 cannot handle that traffic without help,” adds Fischer.

TPD was also looking to optimize the cost side of network management. “Managing branch office IT infrastructure can be really expensive,” said Fischer. “I knew if we could find a way to centralize IT while still providing a consistent level of support to the branch office staff, we could better man-age IT overhead.”

Solution: Steelhead Appliances

TPD examined a number of different solutions to the immediate WAN performance issue. “We considered adding bandwidth, running on Citrix, and various hardware and software WAN optimizers. But when I read about Riverbed’s Steelhead appliance and conducted some research, my decision was a no-brainer.”

Fischer liked the wide applicability of the Steelhead, along with its ease of deployment. “Riverbed is unique because it provides a powerful combination of technologies to accelerate all of our applications and data types. So many other companies were talking to us about QoS, but our focus was on network optimization. Steelheads just sit transparently in the network and get the job done.”

Benefits

TPD has seen dramatic benefits since deploying Riverbed Steelhead appliances. For example, the company has recorded an 85% reduction in peak bandwidth utilization over the WAN. “It’s as if we have 4 T1’s going to each of our offices now instead of just one,” says Fischer.

Fischer estimates that each CAD user saves an hour every day from accelerated CAD file access. That means TPD gains 15 working hours per day, and users lose a significant amount of frustration. TPD can roll out new software, patches, and perform backups much more effectively because all servers are consolidated at the Headquarters.

Strategically, TPD is no longer constrained to completing work in one particular office. “With Steelheads deployed, workloads can be distributed between the offices as necessary and teams can help each other out during time crunches. Team collaboration allows us to exceed customer expectations.”

An additional benefit of TPD’s “One office, multiple locations” philosophy is the flexibility in attracting/ retaining quality staff. “A few employees needed to relocate for family reasons, and they didn’t have to leave the company because we just shifted them to another office. We also put the idea on the table when speaking to prospective employees. That flexibility is invaluable and a good reason we were named the best place to work in Pennsylvania.”

Future Plans

As TPD quickly grows to new locations, Steelhead appliances have become an integral part of the office IT environment. Notes Fischer, “When we roll out a new office, we deploy a T1 line, CAD Workstations, and a Riverbed Steelhead appliance. That’s it. That’s all we need to get our employees up and running.” Not only did TPD address their immediate WAN performance issue, but they were also able to build a strategic foundation for the future.

SUMMARY

Performance and file access speeds for Bentley MicroStation CAD were the productivity drivers behind TPD’s WAN optimization initiative.

Since deploying Riverbed Steelhead appliances, TPD has recorded an 85% reduction in peak bandwidth utilization over the WAN.

As TPD quickly grows to new locations, Steelhead appliances have become an integral part of the office IT environment.

Not only did TPD address their immediate WAN performance issue, but they were also able to build a strategic foundation for the future.

“If we could find a way to centralize IT while still providing a consistent level of support to the branch office staff, we could better manage IT overhead.”

“It’s as if we have 4 T1’s going to each of our offices now instead of just one.”

“Riverbed is unique because it provides a powerful combination of technologies to accelerate all of our applications and data types.”

“When we roll out a new office, we deploy a T1 line, CAD Workstations, and a Riverbed Steelhead appliance. That’s it.”

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