Turnkey WAN Appliances Simplify Management
CTI Foods obtains multiple benefits from its turnkey WAN optimization appliances, including data deduplication, bandwidth management and prioritization, and expedited reporting.
John Flick, IT director for the company, has eight Exinda 4061 devices deployed at CTI’s seven U.S. food processing plants and its colocation facility in Texas.
WAN optimization and deduplication capabilities enable CTI Foods to cache about 250 gigabytes of its most recently used data so that it can centralize storage at the colocation site. This decreases the number of servers needed across the company and simplifies backup and recovery, Flick says.
“Before we had WAN deduplication, we had to run separate Windows file servers at every branch,” Flick says. “The Exinda technology is about the most exciting development in IT since virtualization — it’s had that dramatic an impact.”
Bandwidth management helped the company roll out high-definition video conferencing at all of its sites. “It allows us to optimize the network so the video doesn’t trounce all the other business services,” Flick says.
The percentage of IT managers who say ease of management is the leading benefit of an integrated computing platform
SOURCE: “Virtual Computing Infrastructure” (Enterprise Strategy Group, January 2012)
The Exinda reporting tool lets the IT department see how much bandwidth the company uses and, more important, who’s using it. “I can see the bandwidth levels down to Layer 7,” Flick says. “It’s a real advantage to know which applications are using the most bandwidth.”
He notes that the company recently had problems with employees using streaming media services; now he can give that traffic low priority.
Mark Bowker, a senior analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group, says these types of management efficiencies move IT departments toward turnkey systems such as the Exinda WAN optimization device.
“Data centers are expensive and complex, so anything that can take out the guesswork and save time is most welcome,” Bowker says. “Put all of that together, and it becomes very compelling for IT managers.”
Path to the Cloud
Nakul Kapadia, IT director for Envision Pharmaceuticals, says a Riverbed Whitewater 2010 device enables the prescription benefits management company to archive data in the cloud.
Housed in the EnvisionPharmaceuticals’ data center, the Riverbed product deduplicates, compresses and encrypts data, then copies it to a cloud service provider. “I have a lot of sensitive information that I’m handling, so the fact that the Whitewater device encrypts the data makes the auditors feel comfortable,” Kapadia explains.
ESG Senior Analyst Mark Bowker says turnkey appliances have gained the most traction in these three IT areas:
- Line-of-business applications: Organizations that have large deployments of specific business applications can benefit from a solution that’s designed to optimize those applications. The optimized systems apply hardware and software patches and revisions, leaving the IT department to focus on monitoring infrastructure.
- Virtual desktop infrastructure: Many fully integrated systems now come deployed with VDI. Preconfigured solutions remove the burden of maintaining, tuning and troubleshooting the desktop delivery technology.
- Private cloud: A fully integrated turnkey system also suits IT organizations that have a clear, well-defined cloud computing strategy. Deploying this type of back-end appliance can boost service levels and efficiency, and improve resiliency and scalability.