Pharmaceuticals company Pfizer is running a pilot project across three datacentres and six remote sites to optimise its wide area network, as part of a project to improve the performance of software applications across the company.
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Speaking at the Burton Group Catalyst conference last week, Ron Rapp, associate director in Pfizer's worldwide technology engineering division, said the company had experienced performance issues in applications including e-mail, file and print services, and finance and human resources systems.
Pfizer is rolling out wide area network optimisation technology for a series of 30-day trials across sites in India, Costa Rica, South Africa, Romania and the US. The trails cover end-users in research and development, manufacturing, sales and finance.
The numbers of users at the sites involved in the pilot range from 75 to 10,000.
Feedback from end-users has been key to the project, said Rapp. "We need to demonstrate to the business that we can reduce bandwidth," he said.
Rapp plans to use the pilot to develop a business case to demonstrate how buying bandwidth optimisation hardware would avoid expensive network upgrades by allowing the company to make better use of existing bandwidth.
He has used a web-based end-user survey based on a methodology known as Apdex, which captures how end-users rate the responsiveness of an application.
Pfizer ran the survey before optimising the wide area network at the pilot site, and it will be running the survey again after the project is complete to measure any perceived improvement in the responsiveness of applications.
From the most recent data, taken on 22 October, Rapp said he was seeing a 2.7-times improvement on application performance across the wide area network.