Volume 10, Number 13 -- April 6, 2010

Riverbed Speeds Network for Australian i/OS Shop

Published: April 6, 2010

by Alex Woodie

Baulderstone, one of Australia's largest construction companies, has reduced network congestion and improved data transmission times for a range of critical business applications, including its MIMIX i/OS high availability software, as the result of its use of Riverbed Technology network acceleration appliances, the vendor announced last month.

If you've seen the Sydney Opera House, you've seen the work of Baulderstone, one of the most respected building and engineering firms in Australia. The company, which was founded in 1926 by Manuel Hornibrook, today is owned by the German construction giant Bilfinger Berger AG, and rakes in $1.5 billion Australian dollars ($1.38 billion in U.S. dollars at current exchange rates) annually as it designs and builds bridges, power stations, hospital, hotels, tunnels, airports, and office parks around Australia and other countries in Southeast Asia.

Like many organizations operating across far-flung locales, Baulderstone relies upon a wide area network (WAN) that keeps its 1,500 employees working from offices and construction sites connected with company applications. "Our biggest challenge," says Baulderstone's IT infrastructure manager, Ian Newby, "was the time taken to replicate the contents of our operational data center in Adelaide to our disaster recovery facility, which is 1,400 kilometers away in Sydney," he says in a press release.

Baulderstone tried to fix the problem by upgrading its WAN, but it still did not deliver the performance the company needed, Newby says. As a result, the company began researching WAN optimization products. Riverbed was one of four WAN optimization providers Baulderstone reviewed.

Riverbed, like many WAN optimization vendors, uses a series of techniques and proprietary algorithms to eliminate redundant data from network lines and speed the overall flow to applications. And like most WAN optimization vendors, Riverbed claims its solutions work better than others. In Baulderstone's case, it found Riverbed to be the superior solution, and Riverbed appliances were eventually deployed throughout the enterprise.

Since the deployment, Baulderstone has achieved positive results. Total data replication times were reduced by 67 percent, from 30 minutes to 10 minutes, Riverbed says. What's more, Baulderstone has cut its WAN bandwidth usage in half, which has saved the company a "significant" amount of money. At the current rate, Baulderstone will achieve a return on investment (ROI) in 14 months, four months earlier than Riverbed typically claims.

Riverbed provided specific WAN optimization results for several Baulderstone applications. Lotus Notes e-mail traffic and traffic from the company's internal Web site was reduced by 66 percent. Data replication involving an EMC iSCSI SAN was reduced from 70 to 90 percent, while "pre-compressed" traffic from MIMIX and other applications was reduced by 60 percent.

"A large portion of our IT costs relate to WAN connectivity," Newby says. "Riverbed has helped us to drastically reduce these costs, and at the same time dramatically improve performance."

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Editor: Alex Woodie
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