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IN BRIEF

Challenges

  • Backing up data to headquarters and replicating it to DR center overwhelmed the private network
  • New applications threatened network stability
  • DR objectives could not be met with existing bandwidth

 Solution

  • Riverbed Steelhead appliances deployed at four sites initially; four more to come

 Benefits

  • Expanded DR process implemented without additional bandwidth
  • 18-hour daily replication reduced to four hours
  • WAN traffic reduced by 72 percent
  • ROI in 13 months

Wholesale distributor backs up seven remote locations while

avoiding additional bandwidth expenses

Background

This company is the largest privately owned convenience store supplier and wholesale food distributor in the US, delivering more than 11,000 name-brand products, including candy, tobacco, snacks, health and beauty aids, automotive and cleaning supplies, general merchandise, and food service.

Challenge: Back up multiple locations faster, without increasing bandwidth costs

With nearly 100-percent annual uptime, this company ensures industry-leading, next-day delivery. However, backing up data from seven branches to headquarters, and data replication between the headquarters site and the disaster recovery (DR) site, nearly brought down the company’s network.

The seven remote locations are backed up to headquarters, and the headquarters traffic is replicated to the DR center. This replication is conducted daily over a dedicated 45 Mbps DS3 circuit. The company has been steadily adding traffic to its DR environment and recently added Oracle financial applications. They were also planning to add SAP and Sun replications to their daily DR backup but knew they would be crushing the network by pushing too much traffic over the WAN connection.

 Projections showed that the company would need to triple its bandwidth capacity to meet its DR objectives. At that point, the organization evaluated wide area network (WAN) optimization alternatives from Cisco and Riverbed Technology. The Cisco WAAS technology was unable to compress or accelerate the company’s EMC storage area network (SAN) applications.

When they plugged the Riverbed Steelhead appliances into the test environment, they found that these appliances were easier to use and offered far better performance. Steelhead appliances were able to accelerate all of the company’s web-based traffic and most of its enterprise applications.

Solution: Steelhead appliances optimize WAN performance

The company deployed Steelhead appliances at the headquarters, the DR center, two of its warehouses. The organization developed a staggered back up schedule, with backups forvarioustraffictypes scheduledat differnt windows.A snapshotof EMCSAN traffic is taken about every half hour around-the-clock, and it is then backed up over the DS3 circuit. The company then conducts a full back up of all enterprise traffic over the weekend. Sun traffic and enterprise resource planning (ERP) traffic are replicated frequently throughout the day.

Benefits: Avoiding the cost of additional backup while reducing back windows

The deployment of Riverbed WAN optimization technology has freed up 2.7 terabytes of network capacity per month, allowing the organization to avoid the cost of additional bandwidth. Backup windows for SAN storage have been reduced from 18 hours to less than four, allowing them to backup additional information and more quickly recover from any potential data losses in the event of a disaster.

The company has reduced WAN traffic by 72 percent. These are some sample compression resultsby traffic type:

•HTTP—50-percent reduction

•Oracle financial applications—72-percent reduction

•Exchange—46-percent reduction

•Symantec anti-virus applications—77-percent reduction

•ArcServe storage—56-percent reduction

Steelhead appliances have optimized the WAN bandwidth enough that the organization’s network can now support SAP “fat client” traffic. The company has been able to protect enterprise information through scheduled replication to off site storage facilities, and has been able to replicate ever-increasing volumes of traffic without having to provision additional bandwidth. They will soon deploy Steelhead 5050 appliances at the remaining four warehouse locations.

The company found the Steelhead appliances easy to deploy and Riverbed service and support to be excellent. They estimate that they’ll receive a full return on investment within about 13 months, and will be able to add more traffic in the future without provisioning additional bandwidth.

SUMMARY

Backing up data from seven sites to headquarters—and data replication between the headquarters site and the DR site—nearly brought down the company’s network at a time when it was expanding EMC storage and adding SAP traffic to its disaster recovery program.

The organization estimated it would have to triple bandwidth capacity to meet existing needs, but it was able to avoid this expense by deploying Riverbed Steelhead appliances.

The company has reduced WAN traffic 72 percent. The deployment of Riverbed WAN optimization technology has freed up 2.7 terabytes of network capacity per month, and backup windows for SAN storage have been reduced from 18 hours to less than four.

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Overview

With nearly 100-percent annual uptime, this company ensures industry-leading, next-day delivery. However, backing up data from seven branches to headquarters, and data replication between the headquarters site and the disaster recovery (DR) site, nearly brought down the company's network.

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