Mary Kay

Mary Kay turns to Packeteer for QOS and monitoring of WAN traffic

May 26, 2006

3 Min Read
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Running a major multimedia advertising campaign on the heels of a network overhaul was no party for the Mary Kay IT staff.

Network architect Rob Wieters says the global cosmetics company had barely finished a forklift upgrade of servers, routers, switches, and firewalls in April 2005 when it learned the ad campaign would be launched in September. The campaign included May Kay's first major TV advertising push as well as print and Internet ads.

Wieters needed to make sure the extra Web traffic the ad campaign would draw would not interfere with the supply chain system and other business applications the firm relies on. Mary Kay's Website handles more than 90 percent of the company's orders from independent contractors.

"Most of our business is conducted over the Internet via ecommerce portals," Wieters says. "There are outside vendors accessing our network that we don't want to be negatively impacted. We did not have any way to prioritize inbound commercial and corporate applications coming into our network against email traffic."

Mary Kay had used a WAN optimization appliance in some of its international branches, but Wieters says, "It wasn't useful, it was kludgy to operate, and it was difficult to set up policies and understand what the policies were going to look like." Little wonder he can't recall the name of the vendor.One of the engineers on Wieters' staff was familiar with Packeteer's WAN optimization products, so Mary Kay brought in a PacketShaper 10000 data center appliance for a test. Wieters says he used Spirent Communications' Avalanche WAN emulation product to pound the PacketShaper with traffic, and he was impressed with the way it controlled the flow.

Mary Kay purchased an appliance to maintain quality of service that would guarantee the ad campaign did not disrupt its business applications running over the same network.

"Basically, we used PacketShaper to divvy up the bandwidth between campaign traffic we expected and corporate traffic that was vital to our business," Wieters says. "We guaranteed corporate traffic would get the bandwidth it needed and doled out the rest to support the campaign traffic."

He says PacketShaper's QOS and monitoring capabilities prevented the additional traffic from "overwhelming the network and disrupting both the internal supply chain applications and Web-based ordering system.

The end of the ad campaign hardly lessened Mary Kay's need for WAN optimization. The firm conducts frequent email campaigns, blasting out emails in the late afternoon and evening. "We have a strict timetable to adhere to," Wieters says. "We dedicate a small amount of bandwidth to [email messages] and give higher priority to other applications."Mary Kay went back and purchased three more 10000s for its data center -- two to support international traffic and the other for domestic traffic. The company also placed five PacketShaper 1500s in branch offices and two 6500s in distribution centers in the U.S. Plans call for other branch office devices in international offices where bandwidth is an issue.

Mary Kay hasn't gotten into wide area file services (WAFS), which until recently had been the hole in Packeteer's product line. But Packeteer recently added TCP and HTTP acceleration to PacketShaper, and the company has acquired WAFS startup Tacit Networks for $78 million to keep up with rivals such as Riverbed, Orbital Data, and Expand that offer WAFS and WAN. (See Packeteer Picks Tacit and Packeteer Primes Protocols.)

"We haven't leveraged WAFS yet, but we're interested," Wieters says. "We're working on international projects that would benefit from WAFS."

— Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Expand Networks Inc.

  • Orbital Data Corp.

  • Packeteer Inc. (Nasdaq: PKTR)

  • Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD)

  • Spirent Communications

  • Tacit Networks Inc.0

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