Laing O’Rourke Australia Builds “Branch Office Box” with Riverbed
Laing O’Rourke is one of the world’s largest construction companies, with offices in the UK, Australia, Germany, Southeast Asia and the United Arab Emirates.
Laing O’Rourke originally selected Riverbed based on the strength of its proven wide area network (WAN) optimisation technology and its ability to deliver increased application performance. Laing O’Rourke deployed the Steelhead appliances to accelerate data traffic between remote sites and corporate data centers and reduce the bandwidth utilisation and associated cost of the WAN links to each site.
Once the Steelhead appliance deployment was complete, the company decided to take advantage of the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP), a virtualised partition that allows customers to run up to five additional services and applications on VMware in a protected partition on the Steelhead appliance. Laing O’Rourke is now able to eliminate the cost and risk of running physical IT servers in remote construction sites. The company expects the Branch Office Box solution to completely replace physical servers and storage infrastructure at all of its remote sites in the next two years.
“Laing O’Rourke Australia is a remote area specialist – which often requires us to rapidly set up regional operations or offices to service major infrastructure or construction projects,” said Colin Bagley, operations manager for Information Systems at Laing O’Rourke Australia. “We’re currently using the RSP to run virtual print servers and office applications, saving our company approximately $30,000 per remote site, and we expect to see substantial additional savings as we continue the rollout to other projects.”
Laing O’Rourke is using the Branch Office Box solution at its smaller remote sites to provide 10 to 15 remote users high speed access to the corporate email, Intranet and ERP systems as well as rapid file transfer for large design drawings. Additionally, the virtual servers hosted on the RSP allow key IT services to be run locally at each site, without the cost of physical servers.
According to Bagley, the ability to host virtual services on the RSP and create an “Office-in-a-Box” is a further expansion of the already highly effective WAN optimisation solution from Riverbed.
“Running physical servers at construction sites is expensive and risky,” says Bagley. “Storing sensitive project information in remote locations is the most obvious risk, but IT equipment in general doesn’t fare very well in the hot and dusty conditions we work in. On a typical two-year project we were replacing expensive tape drives up to three times, so eliminating tape drives from our remote sites immediately eliminates that cost, along with the associated storage risk.”
“You also have to factor in the overall savings from the initial Steelhead appliance deployment, which has delivered performance gains of up to 900 percent across our WAN in some cases,” he adds. “Using physical servers also required us to send out qualified IT staff to install and maintain them, which added to the cost and to the environmental impact of the project. Our company is committed to environmental sustainability, so this project is a great success for us on many fronts.”
Bagley says that further cost reductions are likely as the company deploys IP telephony at its remote sites, made possible by the reduction in WAN traffic enabled by the Steelhead appliances.
“While it’s too early to calculate our total return on investment yet for this technology, our ROI should accelerate significantly once the virtual server technology is migrated to our larger project sites as well,” he says. “We haven’t yet had enough time to test the RSP at our larger sites, but it’s fair to say that I can’t see any of our remote sites using traditional – that is physical – server technology in the next two years.”
“In all my years in IT, the Riverbed solution is one of a few that did exactly what it said on the tin,” adds Bagley. “It’s literally a plug-and-play solution. I think we had an initial configuration issue that took Riverbed support all of 10 minutes to resolve, and since then it’s been smooth sailing.”
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements relating to the expected demand for Riverbed's products and services, statements regarding performance results of Riverbed solutions, customer payback following implementation of Riverbed solutions, and cost savings resulting from implementation of Riverbed solutions that may suggest likely or certain outcomes, and statements relating to Riverbed’s ability to meet the needs of distributed organisations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they do not fully materialise or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties that could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include our ability to react to trends and challenges in our business and the markets in which we operate; our ability to anticipate market needs or develop new or enhanced products to meet those needs; the adoption rate of our products; our ability to establish and maintain successful relationships with our distribution partners; our ability to compete in our industry; fluctuations in demand, sales cycles and prices for our products and services; shortages or price fluctuations in our supply chain; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights; general political, economic and market conditions and events; and other risks and uncertainties described more fully in our documents filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. More information about these and other risks that may impact Riverbed’s business are set forth in our Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on July 30, 2010. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Any future product, feature or related specification that may be referenced in this release are for information purposes only and are not commitments to deliver any technology or enhancement. Riverbed reserves the right to modify future product plans at any time.
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