Carlson Wagonlit

Corporate travel specialist Carlson Wagonlit solves bandwidth woes in Asia-Pacific

January 6, 2007

3 Min Read
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Travel firm Carlson Wagonlit has slashed its network traffic by a third after deploying WAN optimization and file sharing devices from Expand Networks across Asia and Australia.

The project is part of a broader strategy to streamline Carlson Wagonlit's branch office infrastructure, no mean feat when Australia alone is almost as big as Western Europe. "[The goal is] maintaining LAN-like performance whilst moving to WAN-delivered services," explained Daniel Oertli, Carlson Wagonlit's vice president of IT for Asia-Pacific, in an email to Byte and Switch.

The Sydney, Australia-based exec deployed three 6940 devices from Expand in his data center, and a total of five 6910 devices in branch offices across Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and India. (See Expand Wakes Up to WAFS, Expand Intros WAFS, CIFS Acceleration, and Storage & Networks Converge.)

The idea behind WAN optimization and Wide Area File Services (WAFS) is that users can ease the strain on their corporate networks by hosting key applications and files in a central location as opposed to keeping multiple copies of applications and data in branch offices.

Carlson Wagonlit has already boosted its network performance, less than a year after deploying the devices. "Direct benefits include a 30 percent reduction in network traffic, thanks to compression," explains Oertli.The VP has also been able to avoid bringing in extra IT staff to manage branch office infrastructure: "We have a lean 1:100 ratio of infrastructure-related IT staff to employees, whilst continuing to improve the quality of IT services."

The rollout of the Expand products began in December 2005, and lasted six months. Prior to this, Oertli took a long, hard look at Expand's competition. "Several vendors in the acceleration and caching space were researched and tested over a 4-month period from July 2005," he explains, although he would not name names.

Expand is jostling with a number of rivals in the WAN optimization and WAFS arena, including Riverbed, Packeteer, and Cisco. (See Riverbed Makes It Official, Sources: Riverbed Reaches for IPO, Packeteer Picks Tacit, Packeteer Buys Tacit, Cisco Acts on Actona, and Cisco Chomps FineGround.)

"The space has certainly become more crowded of late," admits Oertli. "At the time of evaluation, Expand was the only vendor to offer a single-box solution that accelerated and cached all four protocols underlying our key services," he adds. These are HTTP for Intranet applications, CIFS for file sharing, ICA for Citrix applications, and MAPI for Exchange.

The exec was less forthcoming on the financial aspects of his deal with Expand, and would not reveal when he expects to receive a return on his investment. "Expand tailored a pricing and support package which met our needs," was his cagey response to Byte and Switch. List price for the 6940 is $19,995, while the 6910 goes for $11,995; Oertli acknowledged that the travel agency won discounts from Expand on the deal.The sheer scale of the distances involved in Carlson Wagonlit's deployment means that quality of service (QOS) is high priority for Oertli and his team. This, he says, is an area where he would like to see improvements from Expand. "Further integration and transparency in QOS management would be a welcome development," he says.

"Further out, the network team would love to see proactive management smarts in the software layer that can benchmark performance and recommend adjustments," adds Oertli, explaining that this will help his team maintain a high level of network performance.

The next stage for Carlson Wagonlit is to deploy Expand devices to its remaining branch offices across Asia and Oceania. "A second deployment wave is scheduled to begin in 2007," says Oertli, encompassing branch offices in China, India, and New Zealand.

James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • Expand Networks Inc.

  • Packeteer Inc. (Nasdaq: PKTR)

  • Riverbed Technology Inc.

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