Engen is using Riverbed technology solutions to centralize Remote and Branch Office (ROBO) IT. This apart, Riverbed SteelFusion has improved IT operations and information security at branch office locations by taking servers, applications, and data out of the branches and consolidating them in secure data centers.
Engen, which exports petroleum products to more than 30 territories across Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, makes investments in its IT infrastructure. Riverbed SteelHead optimizes WAN and delivers application performance across the entire network to enhance user experience at any site.
Engen has two private MPLS networks — one for corporate and one for retail — linking eight data centers and 50 remote offices. Engen hosts key applications such as SAPGUI, Microsoft Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint at the Cape Town data center and access via Citrix thin clients.
Engen earlier faced network latency issues resulting into poor application performance and poor experience for end-users at remote offices. Earlier Engen had used network architecture to connect remote sites to the corporate WAN via regional offices, impacting performance due to data bottlenecks.
“Our help desk was getting lots of complaints from end-users,” recalled Nicholas Lain, architecture specialist at Engen. “For instance, they had sluggish access to SAP. Screens would freeze and connections were dropped. Ultimately our users were very frustrated and their productivity suffered.”
Engen also faced data security issue at remote sites. Data stored on servers was vulnerable. “Our backup window was short. We often fell behind in getting backups to Cape Town. When we backed up, everything on the network slowed down,” said Lain.
One POC test using Riverbed SteelHead resulted in 75x faster copy filing time and a more than 50 percent data reduction across the WAN. Another test at a Cape Town data center saw a 70 percent reduction in WAN data and a 3x increase in connection speed.
Riverbed said Engen deployed 33 SteelHead CX devices, 29 Riverbed SteelFusion Edge appliances and four Riverbed SteelFusion Core appliances at strategic points on its South African WAN.
80 percent reduction in data across the network has transformed the end-user experience at the remote offices. “We’ve now rolled out a full Windows 7 desktop and the end-user experience is the same as if employees were based at our main office,” said Lain.
Riverbed said SteelFusion has improved data security by eliminating physical servers, storage and backup infrastructure at remote sites, centralizing data and backup processes at the data center. Engen has removed exchange servers from remote offices, and deliver encrypted exchange data from the data center at local speed.
SteelFusion has also eliminated the problem with backups being late to Cape Town since backing up is now centralized and performed as often as necessary.