Austrade adopts WAN optimisation across 119 offices

Australia's trade promotion agency, Austrade, has adopted WAN optimisation across 119 sites.

Australia's trade promotion agency, Austrade, has adopted WAN optimisation across 119 sites.

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) will increase productivity and collaboration across 119 international sites with the deployment of Riverbed Steelhead appliances while giving remote staff anywhere, anytime access with Steelhead Mobile.

The deployment of the Riverbed wide-area data services (WDS) solutions will allow Austrade to accelerate application exchanges, better share information between offices and improve client services.

Austrade has installed the Steelhead appliances in approximately half of its offices, including Sydney, Canberra and all of the Americas (USA, Canada and South America), with the remainder expected to be deployed progressively. It has also purchased 250 licences for the Steelhead Mobile client software for those staff that travel frequently or do not have permanent offices.

Sitting within the Australian government portfolio of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade provides advice, market intelligence and support to Australian companies involved in exporting, as well as businesses interested in foreign investment. It has 119 offices in more than 60 countries.

Geoff Harders, global manager, service delivery and systems support for Austrade, says the Riverbed Steelhead products will overcome many of the issues facing locations with limited bandwidth by speeding up download time and optimising application performance.

“Austrade’s business is all about collaboration and connecting Australian exporters with overseas buyers and suppliers,” he explains. “It’s critical that our central repository of information - often containing sizeable files - can be quickly and easily accessed by our staff, so they can then help our clients.

“The Steelhead appliances enhance our ability to effectively deliver over what can be considered fairly mediocre data communications capabilities in terms of bandwidth and latency. This increases our ability to provide more complex information to employees, meaning they can better support Australian companies and ultimately increase Australia’s level of outbound trade.”

Many of Austrade’s employees are mobile workers who are based in home or serviced offices. As such, the Riverbed Steelhead Mobile client software weighed heavily in the agency’s decision when choosing a vendor.

Harders said, “One of the major differentiators for us was the Steelhead Mobile client software - which allows notebook computers to share the same speed and security benefits as the desktop computers - as well as the breadth of files the Steelhead appliances can accelerate.”

Harders himself uses the Steelhead Mobile client software to manage his workload while living in Melbourne and working in Canberra. He says that depending on which applications he uses, the Steelhead Mobile can almost double his bandwidth capacity due to its traffic optimisation capabilities.

“For example, the other day it took me about an hour to download a training video from my home office. Once the Steelhead Mobile had seen it, however, it could generate the file almost instantly. The ability to speed up download times is a major factor in increased productivity, not just for me, but for all our employees across the globe.”

Austrade’s offices range from one- or two-person set-ups in remote locations to offices of more than 200 in places such as Sydney and Canberra. The diverse range of products offered by Riverbed, including the Steelhead Mobile software client and an array of desktop appliances, means Austrade can ‘saturate its environment’ with Riverbed technology, according to Harders.

“The Riverbed solution fits both our small and large offices, bridging the gaps between each,” he explains. “It’s also very quick and easy to set up for deployment because you can configure it through the Riverbed Central Management Console, and then roll it out to the individual machines from there.”

A simple set-up was of particular importance to Austrade, as the staff responsible for the installation of the Steelhead products are not necessarily IT experts. While Austrade developed a training video and manual to support the rollout, it was still essential to have products that could be quickly and easily deployed.

“Different people have different skill levels so a simple deployment was critical to the technology’s success,” says Harders. “With the Steelhead products’ ability to self-discover each other, the appliances are extremely easy to install and use.

“I’ve been in this industry for over 30 years and I’ve got to say it’s the first technology in the past 15 years that is truly innovative,” Harders says. “Other things have been more evolutionary, but this product has very clever technology that significantly accelerates data transfer and provides for the equivalent doubling or tripling of the line speed. We feel it can add substantial value to our business and our users.”

Steve Dixon, regional director, Australia/New Zealand at Riverbed, says increasing corporate globalisation makes WDS technology crucial to many organisations.

“When organisations win back more bandwidth with WDS technology, they can reallocate some of it to real-time applications such as videoconferencing, voice conferencing and VoIP,” said Dixon. “At the same time, the Steelhead products can improve application performance and download time, allowing every office within an organisation to increase productivity and better collaborate - regardless of their location.”

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