Three Ways to Save Big by Centralizing IT


Saving money is perhaps the most tangible and satisfying benefit to centralizing your IT. The savings come from fewer hardware and software costs, fewer IT managers flying all over in support of branch IT, and lower power, cooling, and space costs.

How do you realize the savings, and what challenges should you avoid? Read on for three concrete solutions and the Riverbed products that will help you centralize your IT while ensuring your peace of mind.

#1. REDUCE THE NUMBER OF DATA CENTERS

Start by concentrating IT resources into fewer, more cost-efficient data centers, while continuing to reliably serve users in all locations. You save money by cutting your physical hardware overhead, your software licenses, facility costs, and the IT personnel required to manage them.

Watch for these problems

You will want to watch out for two potential problems:

  1. End users will now be farther from your data centers, which will lead to higher WAN (wide area network) latency and therefore slower performance
  2. Without the right tools, migrating to fewer data centers can be a planning nightmare, and moving all that data can be slow and time consuming

What you need to get it done

You need two Riverbed solutions. First you need Riverbed Steelhead® appliances to accelerate WAN performance so end users get the same service despite being farther from the data center. Steelhead WAN optimization simultaneously reduces bandwidth utilization by 60 to 95 percent and accelerates applications up to 100 times.

Steelhead Family Overview »

Rayonier is a leading international forest-products company with 2,000 employees and offices on five continents. They consolidated data centers from eight to two, while seeing a 70-90 percent decrease in new bandwidth demand by deploying Steelhead appliances at 20 branch offices.

“Riverbed was the best technology choice for us to complete our data consolidation project worldwide,” says Adam Rasner, director of corporate networking.

Second, you need Riverbed Cascade® application-aware network performance management (NPM) solutions to:

  • Automatically map your environment prior to consolidation, which makes planning and execution far easier than manual solutions
  • Head off and fix any problems that affect performance
  • Identify new opportunities to improve performance over the WAN

Cascade Family Overview »

#2. CENTRALIZE BRANCH SERVERS WITH VIRTUALIZATION

Gone are the days when each branch office required expensive physical servers and onsite IT staff to manage them. That costs too much money to install, maintain, and support. Instead, save by centralizing branch servers with virtualization.

Watch for these problems

Just like in solution #1, performance is the challenge here as your virtual servers will be running over the WAN. Other problems unique to branch offices include:

  • Fewer or no onsite IT help for troubleshooting
  • Virtual servers cannot be monitored by traditional tools

What you need to get it done

For performance, choose the Riverbed Virtual Services Platform (VSP) on Steelhead EX appliances, which uses VMware virtualization to let organizations run their own applications as virtual machines directly on the Steelhead appliances.

For centralized IT management you will need Cascade NPM solutions, which lets IT managers troubleshoot from the data center — even into virtualized servers and networks.

Product Brief: Virtual Services Platform »

Biesse SpA produces high-tech machinery for wood, glass, and stone. The company has 2,300 employees in 30 branches worldwide. Biesse recently centralized key applications at its headquarters in Pesaro, Italy. However, bandwidth and latency issues hurt application performance and made real-time collaboration impossible.

By deploying Riverbed Steelhead appliances and the Riverbed VSP, Biesse has seen a 3x improvement in application performance, made real-time collaboration possible, and saved money.

“Designers in Italy and India are now working as if they are in the same room. You would never know that they were thousands of miles apart,” says Giuliano Capizzi, CIO.

#3. CENTRALIZE BRANCH SERVER DATA

In this solution you will store data centrally but project it back to branch offices for more control and reduced costs. That lets you:

  • Save 30-50 percent on branch IT costs by eliminating the need to purchase and manage storage hardware in branch offices
  • Back up data in the data center, which saves money both in branch IT management of backups (time, salary) and also by eliminating physical tape drives and tapes

Watch for these problems

Again, without the right Riverbed solutions WAN performance can be a problem, especially with data residing outside the branch. Equally important, you will need a solution that lets end users access data even during WAN outages.

What you need to get it done

Riverbed Granite edge virtual server infrastructure (edge-VSI) appliances separate storage from compute. Granite appliances let you consolidate data into the data center where it is centrally managed, while ensuring local performance for custom and write-intensive applications — even during WAN outages.

This unique solution enables widespread centralization and consolidation of infrastructure and data from branch offices into data centers, where it can be deployed and managed more efficiently, saving up to 50 percent in infrastructure and administration costs.

Granite Overview »

GeoEngineers eliminates branch storage

GeoEngineers is an engineering consulting firm with 300 employees spread across 10 offices that work on and share CAD files that are 720MB in size. The company relied upon two servers per branch: one application server that hosted DHCP and the file server, and the second server for backup.

Riverbed Granite and Steelhead appliances helped GeoEngineers eliminate the need for physical servers and storage at the branches, saving the cost and hassle of managing 20 servers.

“The combination of Steelhead appliances and Granite products allows us to eliminate physical hardware in the remote office and the associated maintenance costs, solidify a disaster recovery strategy for these offices, and have backup processes run by systems administrators,” says Mitchel Weinberger, IT Manager.

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