WAN Data Acceleration Powers Database Synchronicity, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Data Centre ICT Networking Product of the Year
Entry Description
Bridgeworks industry defining Data Acceleration technology is re-defining Wide Area Networks enabling organisations to reach transfer speeds up to 200x faster, whether large volumes, encrypted or media files. Using Automated, AI technology Bridgeworks dramatically alleviates the effects of latency and packet loss, meaning that data can get to where it needs to be quicker and maximising business performance with dramatic ROI.

Solutions such as Bridgeworks PORTrockIT go beyond the traditional choices and capabilities of WAN Optimisation and SD-WAN, allowing organisations to improve the efficiency of their WAN links. Francois Steyl, CTO at StratIT says: “Bridgeworks is unique in what it does, and addresses the latency, packet loss and ingress and egress rates which is the culprit for poor throughput rates across the WAN. The ease of the Virtual appliance deployment and the adjusting of routing rules makes Bridgeworks the clear solution to accelerate data across a customer’s WAN. The implementation of Bridgeworks’ solutions at Investec Private Bank, has realised a 424% increase in total traffic sent across the WAN, which provides an almost instantaneous Return on Investment”.

Alternatives such as Aryaka were considered, but solutions such as PORTrockIT were found to meet all of Investec’s requirements after a proof of concept (POC) of 6 months duration. This POC was carried out after StratIT introduced Investec to Bridgeworks.

POC: No Acceleration

The baseline for the POC began with no acceleration, and with host-to-host traffic with accelerator in-path. The total traffic transferred between 1st February and 1st April 2018 was 9.3TB. The average rate of transfer was 3-5MB/s, and all of the databases were out of sync.

POC: With Acceleration

The next step was to add accelerator to accelerator traffic in-path of servers. The total traffic transferred between 1st February and 1st April 2019 equalled 55TB. This amounted to a 424% increase in total traffic, with an average rate of transfer 11-15MB/s. Unlike when there was no WAN data acceleration, all of the Oracle and SQL databases were in sync.

Journalist Joe O’Halloran writes in his Computerweekly article, 'Investec Bank cashes in on WAN acceleration' that Mark Backes, infrastructure architect and team lead at Investec Bank, said the company couldn't simply add faster connectivity at the problem: “No matter how much bandwidth we threw, we couldn’t resolve [the challenges] with more speed. TCP application packet acceleration was the limiting factor – there is only so much a day that you can push and we just had to find a way to reduce latency.”

Backes concludes: "The bottom line of the WAN acceleration technology is that more people can go online and are able to trade – and that means money. The type of gains taken from the Bridgeworks technology will now be put into future RFPs. “We need a federation of acceleration.”

Venesia Oxford, Senior Account Manager at Datacentrix has also stated: “Through the utilisation of the Bridgeworks technology, Investec can finally utilise more of their actual Bandwidth investment, compared to what was possible in the past. The improved application response times means quicker turnaround times enabling faster decision making which impacts customer satisfaction and internal business collaborations. The Bridgeworks technology is one of the data management principles available to customers from the all-encompassing data management portfolio offered from Datacentrix."

The Bank has 10,000 employees. As for its IT environment it currently has:
• An MPLS WAN link with a handover from one SP to another between continents.
• A Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Operating systems on Dell commodity kit.
• An Oracle Enterprise Database, SQL Enterprise Database.

Tackling challenges

For the purpose of GDPR the Investec must ensure critical system data in not older than a few hours to meet regulatory requirements. Data sovereignty regulations for SecuritEase mean the servers will need to be hosted in the EU. Subsequently, the data cannot be older than a few hours to achieve compliance with the regulations.
Investec Wealth and Investment require access to servers residing in the UK to provide clients with offshore investment capability. The Bank is partnered with Swiss Bank, and it uses its Swiss brokering licence.
The issue is that geographic latency between South Africa and the UK meant less than 20% utilisation of WAN links for the replication of RRP data. MPLS latency between the two countries is +-180ms. The time for these data sets to be moved across the South Africa and the UK link is currently between 14-15 hours, which can cause challenges in keeping RRP databases in synchronicity.

The need to achieve the following led Investec to Bridgeworks:

• Reduce data replication times and keeping DB’s in sync;
• Reduce non-productive transfer windows;
• Ability to fully utilise all available WAN bandwidth i.e. WAN infrastructure investment is right sized to the transfer task ;
• Ability to reduce application visible latency i.e. deliver content quicker to customers and collaborators.
• Minimal impact and footprint to existing WAN/LAN infrastructure
• Solution available as virtual machine
• Software/Routing changes required for acceleration no need to deploy additional physical hardware to the environment.

The price of Bridgeworks solutions was also a factor that attracted Investec. The Bank expects to save money as a result of the introduction of Bridgeworks WAN Data Acceleration solutions. It will also allow Investec to fully utilise the available bandwidth between the sites – helping to resolve the core business problems faced by Investec – such as the replication of SQL and Oracle enterprise databases.
Supporting Documents