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Founded in 1993, Trafigura is now one of the world's largest independent commodity trading companies, specializing in the energy and base metals market. Headquartered in London, Trafigura maintains over 55 trading offices in 36 countries in Europe, North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia, providing global coverage for its clients and the many independent producers and consumers for which it acts as agent or advisor.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Administrative

Solution

  • AppResponse Xpert

Trafigura

Global Commodity Trading

Founded in 1993, Trafigura is now one of the world’s largest independent commodity trading companies, specializing in the energy and base metals market. Headquartered in London, Trafigura maintains over 55 trading offices in 36 countries in Europe, North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and Australia, providing global coverage for its clients and the many independent producers and consumers for which it acts as agent or advisor.

Challenge:

The fast-moving commodity market demands a highly adaptive network. In addition to the many trading offices supported by leased lines or ADSL circuits, the Trafigura IT department maintains four data centers (London, Singapore and two in the US). and 16 core sites supported by an MPLS network that enables the prioritization of key applications, including (in order of priority) video conferencing, VoIP, Citrix, HTTP web browsing, database links, and email.

Solution: Real-Time Insight for a Dynamic Network

“Our network is extremely dynamic and growing rapidly,” says Roger Smith, IT Project Manager for Trafigura. “Getting a baseline from traditional probe or device-oriented tools was not only impractical, but also couldn’t deliver the kind of information we need: deep, real-time insight into network status and health."

After a thorough infrastructure audit and review of their needs, Trafigura installed a distributed Riverbed® OPNET AppResponse Xpert® solution consisting of four OPNET AppResponse Xpert appliances; one in the London data center, and three at other data center locations. The four appliances are centrally managed by an OPNET AppResponse Xpert Director in the London data center, where managers can effortlessly drill down from a high-level global view of the entire Trafigura network all the way to individual IP conversations involving any trading office in the world.

Benefits: Delivering Value Before the Purchase!

Smith and his team insisted on a thorough and exacting trial of the AppResponse Xpert solution, but it delivered value even before their evaluation was finished! “During the trial, [AppResponse Xpert] enabled us to pinpoint a rather obscure problem involving port assignments that was degrading Citrix performance across our VPN,” he says. “We avoided a very expensive and completely unnecessary capacity upgrade thanks to [AppResponse Xpert].”

He also notes the ease with which the AppResponse Xpert appliances were installed and configured, and the intuitive nature of the user interface and its wide range of charts, tables, and topology displays. “Because of this, my operations staff became enthusiastic about [AppResponse Xpert] early on,” comments Mr. Smith. “That, combined with its problem-solving power, enabled us to realize a ROI in less than three months, which made management really happy, as well.”

Real-Time Insight in Business Terms

Mr. Smith points to three capabilities in particular of the AppResponse Xpert solution as being critical to Trafigura’s IT staff. “First, the ability to create Business Groups-logical subsets of the network-enables us to see all the information the appliances deliver in terms of how they affect our business and key business units. This makes it very easy to prioritize our work.”

Second, he notes that the combination of real-time data and alerting, plus deep drill-downs to any part of the network, enable them to see at a glance whether or not the network is meeting performance expectations, and if not, why not. “It didn’t take us long to set up thresholds and alerts against key links and applications,” says Smith. “It gives us consistent and constant oversight so nothing slips past and we can deliver the performance that the business units expect and demand.”

Finally, the unique AppResponse Xpert Insights™-point-and-click action guides encapsulating best practices for common management tasks-are a big boost to IT productivity. “The Insights enable lower-level personnel to troubleshoot and resolve many problems without escalation, which leaves my high-level engineers free to work on more critical projects that advance the business.”

A Word to the Wise

What would Roger say to a peer considering the AppResponse Xpert solution? “It’s way ahead of other network monitoring tools in its ability to quickly establish what part of the network is having issues, showing you the business impact via Business Groups, then drilling down to deliver a very specific look into the nature of the problem, no matter where in a global network it is.”

“[AppResponse Xpert] is way ahead of other network monitoring tools in its ability to quickly establish what part of the network is having issues and then drilling down to deliver a very specific look into the nature of the problem. Even before we got through the evaluation period, the appliance proved itself by helping us resolve an optimization issue with one of our critical Citrix applications.”

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