Mining giant manages traffic between global sites

By Michael Crawford, Computerworld Today |  Networking

Australian mining giant Orica Ltd. has consolidated its entire global SAP AG application delivery into two data centers in Melbourne and is now branching out to shape application traffic between global sites.

Orica implemented an MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching)-based WAN (Wide Area Network) to ensure traffic can be effectively managed across the core of the network; however, in order to prioritize global SAP traffic Orica has implemented traffic-shaping applications from Packeteer Inc.

Orica has 130 offices worldwide connected via terrestrial links. A further 60 remote sites are using Packeteer to manage network traffic across satellite links.

According to Orica security and standards manager David Vranes, the company wanted to consolidate SAP hosting but was concerned about any decline in application performance. A combination of an MPLS and packet-shaping applications enabled Orica to deliver to two sites in Germany from Melbourne with US sites soon to follow.

Vranes said Orica was previously using three different hosting providers and three different management teams and saw consolidation firstly as an obvious source of cost savings.

"Mainly, the up and down traffic problem resolution is the easy part of managing the WAN; the hardest part is intermittent performance issues and previously we had no ability to differentiate applications running on the WAN. Most of the helpdesk problems were people saying SAP applications are running slow and we did not have the ability to quickly respond," Vranes said.

"Our global sites in North America, Latin America and Europe are accessing SAP applications via our Melbourne data center. We saw that as a dependency for SAP consolidation, and to manage traffic across the core of the network we began prioritizing SAP traffic with Packeteer.

"We have a requirement for SAP to be available and performing well [because] we have a real, business-critical, interactive use of applications on our network; the Melbourne data center is now supporting two sites in Germany and soon the US sites will come across."

Orica began using Packeteer Packetshaper 6500 units in December 2004 and began Project Fusion, the global SAP consolidation project in mid-2005, completing it in late 2005. It has now deployed the upgraded PacketShaper 9500, offering a 100MB shaping capacity.

Vranes said the units were set up alongside the single SAP implementation housed in the Orica Melbourne office and the company is confident that there will be no degrading of global availability of SAP applications following the consolidation of application hosting in Melbourne.

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