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SITA has built a comprehensive value-added managed service around Riverbed Steelhead products. Through the successful delivery of large deployments such as that for Cathay Pacific, SITA has proven its ability to deliver and support Riverbed managed services worldwide.

Cathay Pacific chose our Integrated Traffic Management (ITM) Application Performance solution combined with SITA air transport industry (ATI) Cloud Services to simplify the IT architecture in its outstations. The aim was to eliminate all server infrastructure and guarantee that all their applications including new ones such as the new reservations system would achieve optimal performance across Cathay’s global network.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific is one of the world’s leading airlines and offers scheduled passenger and cargo services to 162 destinations in 42 countries. Technology plays an important part in Cathay’s business and it operates multiple data centers worldwide through which all outstations access core business applications.

Consolidate infrastructure in outstations

The first requirement for Cathay was to centralize and modernize its e-mail system. This involved migrating outstations to a centralized version of Microsoft Exchange hosted in its Hong Kong data center. Key to this requirement was to maintain the end-user experience and make sure that other critical applications on the wide area network (WAN) were not affected.

Through our Integrated Traffic Management service, we can deliver optimization technology that would dramatically reduce e-mail traffic by eliminating duplication. This is because e-mail traffic typically contains many copies of the same message and attachments.

The next step was to deliver an improved approach to software distribution and anti-virus to over 4000 PCs located in the outstations. In the past, performing these updates has been a problem with a large consumption of bandwidth and disruption to users. The final step in the infrastructure consolidation program is the removal of file servers from the outstations.

We are able to leverage the SITA Cloud Data Centers to provide regional virtualized File Server infrastructure which when operated in conjunction with our Integrated Traffic Management service can provide LAN-like end-user performance for users operating from a regional server.

“The project has enabled the efficient deployment of software distribution and anti-virus virtual servers to all CPA remote offices. This resolves a long-standing challenge of achieving efficient and non-disruptive software distribution and anti-virus updates to the PCs in the international WAN environment,” says Wayne Love, Cathay Pacific Account Director, SITA.

Application performance improvement and controlling WAN traffic growth

The move to a centralized mail platform was expected to increase traffic on the WAN and Cathay required a solution that could address this as well as ensure that the new applications such as Amadeus Reservation ARD would achieve optimal performance over the global WAN environment.

This requirement was a perfect match for WAN optimization technology, which would ensure the optimal performance of all applications running over the network. We provide WAN optimization as a managed service, which coupled with our IP VPN, means that Cathay would have a single party who would be accountable for application performance in outstations.

Think global, act local

To deliver this optimization, we designed a managed solution using technology from our strategic partner Riverbed. We deployed Riverbed Steelhead devices in Cathay’s outstations and three data centers (Sydney, Hong Kong and Germany).

They identify and store duplicate network traffic so that it doesn’t need to be sent over the network again. This local caching also helps massively reduce the amount of traffic sent over the network in overnight batch file transfers.

In addition to eliminating traffic duplication, the Steelhead devices also act as virtual servers for the outstation. This means that the local device downloads users’ e-mail and software updates overnight, further increasing system responsiveness.

Dedicated project team

Our dedicated team deployed over 200 Riverbed devices in locations across 42 countries during the six-month project. They handled all regulatory, custom, shipment and tax logistics for each country, along with sourcing equipment locally where required.

Project management is a key part of our service and we provided a single point-of-contact throughout the entire implementation process. The project team worked closely with Cathay to avoid disruption to activities in these locations, which typically accommodated critical airport operations or call center offices.

“SITA has built a comprehensive value-added managed service around Riverbed Steelhead products. Through the successful delivery of large deployments such as that for Cathay Pacific, SITA has proven its ability to deliver and support Riverbed managed services worldwide,” says Randy Schirman, SVP Worldwide Channels, Riverbed.

Better business through better networks

  • Our Integrated Traffic Management managed service has successfully met Cathay’s requirements. Cathay has completed its Exchange deployment, and is now starting to consolidate file servers out of outstations. Traffic volume on the WAN is being reduced by 55%, including e-mail (80%) and Windows applications (60%).
  • Testing of Cathay’s main reservation application has achieved a data reduction rate of over 60%. This will enable Cathay booking agents to complete transactions more efficiently which improves overall call center efficiency.

We support the ongoing performance of the solution with our global operations infrastructure, which has achieved the Riverbed Authorized Service Partner (RASP) status. This provides the 24/7 support including proactive monitoring, incident and problem management to meet the required service level agreement (SLA) for Cathay’s business. In addition, we have assigned a dedicated technical service manager to Cathay, who understands the whole environment and can carry out a change request assessment, review trends and co-ordinate major changes. This ensures ongoing application performance and minimizes risk in major migrations.

Key points

  • E-mail server centralization and file server consolidation with no impact on business application performance.
    End-to-end solution from design and deployment to support.
    Deployment of over 200 devices across 42 countries in just six months.
    Reducing overall network traffic by 55%.
    More efficient software and anti-virus update distribution.
    Provides scalability for application growth.
    24/7 support and proactive monitoring.
    Single ownership for application performance over WAN environment.
    SLA for business-critical service availability

“We have a long relationship with Cathay Pacific and understand its business intimately. We keep pace with its evolving requirements and provide the technology and network solutions that allow Cathay to run an efficient global it environment,” according to Sebastien Fabre Director, Integrated Networks, SITA.