Macmahon Holdings

Riverbed WAN Optimisation solution

About Macmahon

First established in 1963, Macmahon Holdings Limited (Macmahon) is an accomplished contractor in the mining and construction industries. The Construction Business undertakes key infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, railroads, ports and dams. Macmahon’s Mining Business provides a total service for open cut and underground operations, managing mines for major customers in Australia and overseas.

“With Empired’s help, we optimised our WAN environment quickly and can now monitor our entire infrastructure, giving us a proactive approach to fix application performance issues before they become a real problem.”

David van den Berg
Chief Information Officer, Macmahon Holdings Ltd

The situation

Macmahon’s IT strategy was focused on a centralised IT infrastructure and application delivery model to drive down costs, reduce support effort and better manage business data. This strategy was implemented; however several constraints hampered Macmahon from realising the full benefits of this approach.

The lack of availability of low latency, high-bandwidth WAN links at remote mining and construction sites severely impacted the business benefits of the centralised IT model.

The challenge was to:

  • Consolidate servers into one central data location
  • Deliver all applications from the central data centre
  • Proactively monitor and manage key application performance

“The new system allows us to objectively measure application performance and user experience. We use it to ensure our teams are focused on the improvement areas that will return the maximum business benefit.”

David van den Berg
Chief Information Officer, Macmahon Holdings Ltd

The solution

Empired had previously assisted several other organisations with similar issues and introduced the Riverbed WAN Optimisation technology to Macmahon as a potential solution. A brief Proof of Concept was undertaken with significant improvements recognised. The success of the POC was two-fold. It demonstrated an improvement in performance for business applications and improved visibility into the network traffic.

The Riverbed Steelhead appliances are now widely deployed and enabled Macmahon to start realising the benefits of the centralised IT services model.

Co-incident with the centralisation of the IT infrastructure, Macmahon deployed a custom developed ERP system, comprising of a number of applications from multiple vendors. It became apparent that Macmahon needed additional visibility into application traffic between the various applications, databases and end-users. This is when Empired introduced Macmahon to Riverbed’s complementary Cascade product.

Cascade is able to provide the required information quickly and intuitively, allowing the IT Team to react to developing congestion and application performance issues in real-time. This gives them the intelligence to fix the issues before they cause business impact.

“Cascade allows us to objectively measure application performance and user experience,” says David van den Berg, Macmahon’s Chief Information Officer. “We use it to ensure our teams are focused on the improvement areas that will return the maximum business benefit.”

With the tight link between Riverbed’s Steelhead and Cascade appliances, Macmahon has been able to successfully increase productivity through working from one central IT infrastructure, delivering applications and data with near-local performance, while having improved visibility and control over the entire environment.

The outcome

The result was an optimised WAN environment across the network using Riverbed’s Steelhead appliance. Riverbed Cascade has enabled Macmahon to understand the performance characteristics of each application from each site regardless of delivery mechanism. With this baseline knowledge, Cascade then provides a meaningful alert if the application performance deviates from what is normal for this particular site, at this particular time of day, on this particular day of week. This is also used to focus the support process by highlighting the most likely culprit – whether the problem lies in the client site, the network, the server or the application itself.

The deployment environment

  • Macmahon use a range of applications across the organisation. Some of these are multi-tier client-server applications while others are delivered through Citrix
  • Macmahon use a range of networking technologies to deliver services to remote sites. These are delivered via a combination of DWDM, Ethernet, Frame Relay, BDSL, NextG wireless and satellite technologies

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