Riverbed provides solid foundation for building sites

21 August 2014

Riverbed’s SteelHead WAN optimisation appliance.

Lagan Construction Group (LCG) has an international reputation for undertaking major infrastructure projects, particularly in far-flung locations where it can quickly mobilise its experts. 

LCG operates its business through a network of global offices and temporary locations. The company requires all sites to be IT-enabled quickly, using minimal local specialist expertise and with the infrastructure to be managed from Belfast. 

However, building sites can be rough environments where IT equipment can be easily damaged or misplaced. The resulting loss of data could result in delays or errors potentially costing millions of pounds. 

As a result, LCG wanted to implement an enterprise CMS that could operate effectively over a WAN and to make it easier to track and manage projects. The company chose Microsoft Sharepoint but discovered that it did not operate at optimal speeds over the WAN. 

To solve this, it initially installed four of Riverbed’s SteelHead WAN optimisation appliances – one was located in Belfast while the others were in remote locations, including the Caribbean. Jim Fennell, LCG’s IS manager, says: “Our business is akin to establishing a series of temporary, multimillion pound manufacturing plants from scratch, at a series of worldwide remote locations. [With] SteelHead appliances there is no need to install local servers and other IT infrastructure.”

The SteelHeads have enabled remote sites to run applications installed on LCG’s main servers at its Belfast HQ, and facilitated the establishment of reliable backups to the central office. 

By successfully accelerating Sharepoint, the SteelHeads have made it possible for project managers to log in from any enabled site in the world to review work on any site, helping to improve collaboration and tighten management control. They can now effectively manage unstructured content, such as drawings, photographs, documents and project plans, through the entire project lifecycle of creation, management, storage, and disposal.

The deployment has also allowed LCG’s four-person IT team to maintain and support all the remote sites. As a result, the company expects to make substantial savings in outsourced IT support for its various locations. In addition, it has been able to free up bandwidth for VoIP, resulting in further savings worth many thousands of pounds in its budget for international calls.