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Riverbed Helps Sub-Zero Centralise 350 Applications

Riverbed Technology, the leader in application performance infrastructure, today announced that Sub-Zero Group, Inc. is using two of the flagship solutions from the Riverbed Application Performance Platform™ to deliver the fast application performance and application-aware network visibility needed to make a major IT consolidation of 350 business applications a success. With Riverbed® SteelHead™ optimising application performance, end-user experience at Sub-Zero’s manufacturing plants and showrooms around the country is comparable to the user experience at the company’s headquarters. SteelHead SaaS helps Sub-Zero accelerate cloud applications, such as Office 365 and Riverbed® SteelCentral™ gives Sub-Zero’s IT team a single source of operational control for application performance. The Riverbed solution ensures that applications perform as expected, data is always available when needed, and performance issues can be proactively detected and resolved before impacting business performance.

Sub-Zero Group, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of luxury appliances, including the Sub-Zero line of refrigerators and freezers and the Wolf line of cooking products. An MPLS network links all of the company’s show rooms, operations (including manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and Arizona), the company’s Wisconsin headquarters and primary data centre, a disaster recovery (DR) facility in Arizona, and six affiliated distributors located in major cities across the United States.

When Sub-Zero’s director of IT, Erika Ferrell, kicked off a consolidation initiative, each of the distributors had its own IT environment, including on-site IT staff, as well as phone, email and office applications. The goals of centralizing IT were to house and manage the entire IT environment from the primary data centre at the Wisconsin headquarters, to standardize applications across all of Sub-Zero’s facilities, and to deliver fast and consistent application performance to all users.

In the eyes of the end users who were accustomed to local app performance, only similar performance over the WAN would allow the consolidation effort to succeed. Because the plan also included consolidating the IT staff in Wisconsin and managing the IT infrastructure remotely, another important requirement was end-to-end visibility into network and application performance. The company had a network performance management (NPM) solution at the time, but it couldn’t provide the end-user, application-first viewpoint Sub-Zero needed for remote troubleshooting.

After evaluating WAN optimisation products from Cisco Systems and Riverbed Technology, Eric Niebuhr, Sub-Zero’s IT supervisor and network engineer, decided to purchase Riverbed SteelHead appliances because they were easier to set up and manage. Sub-Zero deployed SteelHead CX appliances at all of its facilities, and also purchased SteelHead™ SaaS to accelerate Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps such as Microsoft Office 365.

In addition to delivering fast and predictable performance for Sub-Zero’s end users, the SteelHead appliances also accelerate the delivery of HD videos from the data centre to distributors, for a better customer experience in retail showrooms, all while reducing the amount of data going over the network by an average of 50%. Office 365 has seen particularly impressive improvements. Without SteelHead SaaS, for example, it took 10 seconds to save a file to OneDrive due to network distance, bandwidth and latency. With SteelHead SaaS, it takes two seconds. Checking email and opening Outlook calendars is now much faster, as well. “People are happy with the increased performance of Office 365 now that SteelHead SaaS is in place, and definitely notice when it’s turned off,” added Niebuhr.

Sub-Zero chose to replace its previous NPM product with Riverbed SteelCentral, including SteelCentral NetProfiler™ for network reporting and analytics, and SteelCentral NetShark™ for packet capture. These have enabled the company to centralise IT management, and speed the troubleshooting process by clearly indicating the source of an issue. “We can have the answer within just a minute,” said Niebuhr.

Sub-Zero has more plans to improve their IT environment, such as transitioning more applications to SaaS where it makes sense. “We set this very high bar as far as application performance, and with Riverbed, we met it,” said Ferrell. “I’m confident that we’re ahead of the curve, and that we’ve set ourselves up nicely for the future.” Riverbed’s Universal SaaS licensing will help Sub-Zero adopt more SaaS by extending optimization to any supported SaaS applications at no additional cost to their licensed user.

Read the official press release from Riverbed here .

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