International IT services provider Sycor was redesigning the networks for one customer who had 4500 employees spread across 80 branches in addition to a headquarters and many telecommuting and mobile workers. One issue they were addressing was that this customer was having problems with one of their web-based applications. This specific app was used by just one person at each branch, but was important to the customer’s business. So Sycor engineers tuned both the app’s website as well as the central database with which it communicated.
The solution they were considering was a dedicated data terminal at each branch to work separately but in parallel with the existing network deployments. And then the customer started having problems with more applications at more branches. Something had to be done.
When Sycor was planning the deployment there were a few constraints they had to consider:
- Optimization: It had to help both bandwidth and latency issues. They could have added bandwidth, except that wouldn’t have helped with the latency issues.
- Low Overhead: The solution needed to be one that didn’t require extensive resources or maintenance at each branch.
- Simplicity: It shouldn’t add file redundancy which would create headaches on version control of documents.
- Variability: It needed to be able to also enable the telecommuters and mobile workers as well as those in the branch offices and at headquarters.
- Scale: The solution needed to be able to grow as their customers grew.
As you can see, adding bandwidth or installing local servers at each branch wouldn’t have helped as they wouldn’t address the latency, overhead, or simplicity requirements.
What Sycor decided was to use Cisco WAAS (Wide Area Application Services). This WAN Optimization solution helps customers optimize bandwidth while reducing latency issues, didn’t introduce overhead and has software to specifically and contextually reduce data redundancy.
Sycor was able to deploy many of the varieties of WAAS – inline at the branches, WCCP at the two data centers, and with WAAS Mobile for the telecommuters and mobile workers. WAAS Mobile smoothly integrates VPN, voice, and other data applications for employees worldwide. The mobile deployment was especially useful as many of the European employees lacked the wired bandwidth at home to send and receive large files. Considering the 24-hour nature of many work environments, I can see this function being particularly useful.
If you’d like to read the full case study, you can find it here.