To manage their communications links our client was heavily reliant on a Riverbed WAN optimazation system that was rapidly approaching its end of life. In addition, the system was no longer meeting the data management requirements which was causing serious productivity issues, nor did its configuration meet the required levels resilience in the data centres. Unitedgrids were engaged to fully review the communications requirements and upgrade the Riverbed WAN system to address the issues.

Requirements:

  • Replacement of end of life WAN Riverbed optimization system with zero downtime impact on clients network.
  • Design and implementation of an upgraded Riverbed WAN Optimization system to address latency and poor user experience.
  • Address resiliency issues at the Data Centres to ensure there were no single points of failure and multiple routes were available through correct implementation of policies based on urgency and application requirements..

Challenges:

  • The customer had limited details on existing Riverbed devices in their network.
  • When we began auditing customer network for Riverbed devices, we realised that configurations, software and licensing wasn’t consistent.
  • During the investigation we also found that these Riverbed devices were member of different Active Directory Domains. This resulted in below average WAN optimization.

What we did:

  • Unitedgrids network consultants worked closely with our customer’s project team to identify the way forward with the project.
  • Some of the activities included software upgrade of Riverbeds in the customer network to the latest bugfix version software.
  • The active Directory AD membership was migrated to a single AD domain which was setup in ‘Trust’ relationship with all other AD domains within customer's network.
  • To provide for resiliency and capacity new pair of Riverbed Interceptor (INT9600) configured to load balance traffic to new pair of Riverbed Steelheads 7070L.
  • All network traffic coming in and out of the Data Centres configured to through Interceptors. This allowed the interceptors to forward traffic to one of the two Steelhead 7070L depending on the load and availability of the Steelheads.
  • Standardised and baselined the optimisation policy of Riverbed steelheads in customer network based on the application in used within network.
  • These policies were then rolled out to all Steelhead within customer's network.

Technology Involved

Riverbed WAN Optimization on Riverbed INT9600 & 7070L devices. Windows AD. Routing and Security.

Benefits
Availability

By introducing Interceptors (INT9600) before the steelhead 7070L at the Data Centre, we introduced high availability of the riverbed solution. This meant if we have failure of one of the two 7070, the Interceptor will automatically send traffic to their active Riverbed steelhead. Having Interceptors allowed the customer to take one of the two Steelhead out of services for maintenance purpose and still continue to provide WAN Optimisation service running in the network.

Cost Saving

Reduced utilization of the WAN circuits meant the client did not have to purchase additional bandwidth.
This was achieved by baselining the steelhead policies, upgrading the software and changing the Windows AD configuration. These changes allowed us to increase the amount of traffic optimised by riverbed from 30 odd percent on an average to 80+ percent.

Productivity & User Experience.

User experience and perception of application performance dramatically improved, especially with applications such as Oracle and Network file share (SMB).

Bandwidth freed up due to enhanced optimisation on the WAN circuit now could be used by application which couldn't be optimised by Riverbed (such as UDP Based) could now take up this newly freed up bandwidth, improving overall applications performance on the network.

Engineering Level Used:
CISCO CCIE Switch & Routing