Monday, May 31, 2010

How do You Consolidate Data When You Manufacture at Locations around the Globe?

This is the question that VF Corporation was faced with. They are a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel with more than 30 brands, including Wrangler, The North Face, Lee, Vans, and Nautica. They sell through retailers in 150 countries and their workforce is distributed across 770 global offices. To reduce IT costs they were consolidating branch office servers and applications in centralized data centers, but this created a challenge with transferring large CAD image files.

VF Corp used a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) application for apparel design that was hosted on servers in the branch office. The IT department wanted to deploy a new application in the data center to reduce the costs of maintaining it and give them better control over data. The designers use this application all day every day and need access to the large CAD image files that it creates, so this move presented a challenge to the WAN over which these files would have to travel.

“When we tested the new application during development, downloading images over the WAN took an average of 2 to 3 minutes, and up to 5 minutes,” says Billy Yawn, the network architect, for VF Corporation. “Before deploying the application to branch offices, we needed a WAN acceleration solution.”

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Meeting the Challenge of Scaling Application Performance for the Global Organization

Many organizations are using server virtualization to consolidate application workloads in their datacenter. By using a highly efficient platform like Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) organizations find that they can improve asset utilization, and dramatically lower IT costs. This enables the datacenter team to be more responsive to initiatives that produce real value for the business.

The server platform and virtualization address one part of the application delivery challenge for the global Enterprise. UCS can easily handle the compute requirements of complex applications, but what about the increased demand placed on the WAN as applications are delivered to a distributed workforce? How do you ensure an acceptable user experience? Accessing information over a WAN is much slower than accessing information over a LAN, due to limited WAN bandwidth, packet loss, and latency. To meet this challenge a solution needs to both scale the server platform and increase WAN performance.

Applications not only need to run fast in the datacenter; applications must run successfully for the end users wherever they may be. Organizations are finding that they must consider application acceleration as a part of their application solution architecture so that that they not only scale application performance on the server, but also delivery applications to reach remote sites with high performance to serve the users at every location.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Can Managed Service Providers Help the Enterprise Meet their Application Performance Goals?

The success of today’s enterprise relies on the performance of applications over the WAN. The use of bandwidth-intensive, web-based applications (such as videoconferencing and collaborative applications) that are utilized over the WAN creates a challenge for network managers who need to ensure application performance while dealing with limited resources. Application Performance Management (APM) requires monitoring tools and the expertise to use them. The question is how you ensure that you are properly optimizing your applications without having to invest in additional resources.

The answer to this situation could be to rely on your Managed Service Provider (MSP) to deliver an application performance management service. Outsourcing the management of the enterprise WAN could ease both your management burden and reduce IT costs while providing a way to ensure application performance. Many MSPs are meeting their customer’s needs to increase services while holding down costs by providing managed network, data center, and application services. However, to capitalize on these opportunities, managed service providers must overcome a number of challenges themselves.

MSPs are looking for ways to increase the value that they deliver to enterprise customers as traditional services become commonplace. Enterprise customers want more than a simple WAN pipe. They are looking for service level agreements for their critical applications and they want application performance assurance regardless of the connection type or the geographic location. At the same time both the Enterprise and the Managed Service Provider need to achieve a reasonable ROI on their IT investments.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How Do You Extend WAN Optimization to Reach 30,000 Mobile Users?

Let’s say you are an IT manager and you are tasked with extending WAN optimization out to your small office and mobile workers and you have upwards of 30,000 users to serve. You might be looking at Cisco WAAS Mobile, a software-based WAN Optimization solution that provides application acceleration capabilities for PCs and decreases application response times by 3 to 30 times by mitigating latency and increasing link throughput.

Typically a deployment supporting 30,000 users would require several servers to host the mobile gateway, but it is likely that your mandate is to keep down the costs of the solution. A server that can scale to the required level and that offers the flexibility to use virtualization would make the best platform. Using virtualization is an ideal scenario for WAAS Mobile as it can be remotely installed on a virtual machine and remotely managed.

Our customers have told us that they have both scaling requirements and budget constraints, so we looked for the right solution to meet these needs. The answer is to deploy WAAS Mobile on the Cisco Unified Computing System UCS C-Series platforms, which are powerful, virtualization-optimized computing platforms that can host resource-intensive networking applications such as Cisco WAAS Mobile, providing scalability and deployment flexibility.