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HBOS Australia banks on Riverbed to accelerate large Australian expansion

  • 03 June, 2008 09:26

<p>Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq: RVBD), the technology and market leader in wide-area data services (WDS), today announced that HBOS Australia has selected and deployed Riverbed® Steelhead® appliances at 170 sites across Australia. The deployment will improve application performance and is likely to reduce HBOS Australia’s telecommunications costs, both vital components of the bank’s ambitious expansion plans to open 160 new branches on the east coast of Australia over the next three years.</p>
<p>HBOS Australia has installed the Steelhead appliances in all of its existing branches across Australia, the majority of its state offices, and in its data centers in Perth. As the bank opens new branches, the rollout will continue, providing LAN-like application performance between branches on the east coast of Australia and the bank’s west coast data centers.</p>
<p>HBOS Australia comprises four diverse financial services companies – BankWest, Capital Finance, St Andrew’s and BOS International. Its parent company, HBOS plc, is one of the world’s largest financial services groups. The retail arm of HBOS Australia, BankWest, was originally a Western Australian operation and is now expanding on the east coast of Australia.</p>
<p>Adrian Cowman, networks and telecommunications manager, IT infrastructure, HBOS Australia, says the Riverbed Steelhead products are an important factor in the bank’s growth plans and have already allowed the company to accelerate the opening of new bank branches. Although the new branch infrastructure standard includes Cisco ISR routers and Cisco Voice over IP (VoIP) products, HBOS Australia chose Riverbed for its WAN acceleration solution.</p>
<p>“The Steelhead appliances, with their auto-configuration and centralised management capability, are incredibly easy to deploy, meaning we could roll out up to five branches each night,” he explains. “Installing the products at more than 170 sites across the country took around 45 working days to complete, thanks largely to the simplicity of the products and their ability to integrate into a complex, multi-vendor IT environment. The Professional Services team from Riverbed, together with Dimension Data’s technical expertise, helped make this one of the most successful, large-scale IT rollout projects the bank has undertaken.”</p>
<p>Although HBOS Australia is deploying new applications such as VoIP, which demand high network quality, the Steelhead appliances have reduced WAN traffic and application performance has improved. In some instances, bandwidth usage has been reduced in BankWest branches.</p>
<p>“The new Riverbed RiOS® Services Platform (RSP) gives HBOS Australia the potential to embed future services, such as print servers, unified threat management and video streaming server functionality, into the existing Steelhead appliances,” Mr. Cowman explains.</p>
<p>The RSP is an extensible data services platform that enables the delivery of virtualised edge services without the need to deploy additional physical servers at remote or branch offices. The game-changing RSP allows customers to deploy best-of-breed services from their choice of vendors on Steelhead appliances in a self-contained partition to minimise the hardware infrastructure footprint at the branch office. In a typical RSP deployment, companies can run “serverless” branch offices by simplifying IT infrastructure to include just a router and a Steelhead appliance.</p>
<p>Mr. Cowman said the company’s expansion on the east coast meant HBOS Australia had to find a solution that was scalable and easy to deploy and manage for its 170 sites to accelerate the performance of applications across its WAN.</p>
<p>“Business agility demands reliable communication among offices and the ability to quickly and easily share information,” he says. “When we simulated the new standard branch IT environment, we realised we had to find a solution to accelerate application performance and minimise bandwidth usage. We considered other vendors but, after extensive multi-vendor testing, concluded that Riverbed products were robust, secure and the easiest to implement with a high probability of success across our large network of 170 offices – all key factors for a large and distributed organisation in the banking sector.”</p>
<p>“We determined that Riverbed was the only vendor with a technology that could meet the requirements of our large deployment. The fact that Riverbed is the recognised global market leader in this field was also important for us as we are a risk-averse organisation.”</p>
<p>HBOS Australia is also now testing the Riverbed Steelhead Mobile client software to support its large mobile workforce, as well as additional high-end Steelhead appliance platforms to assist with disaster recovery in its data centres.</p>
<p>Steve Dixon, regional director, Australia/New Zealand at Riverbed, says WDS technology allows organisations to be more nimble in their approach to IT and infrastructure, improving competitiveness and delivering better customer service levels.</p>
<p>“If organisations can do more with their existing network, they immediately have an advantage,” he says. “Costs are reduced, allowing companies to invest back into the business to support growth and new opportunities. At the same time, bandwidth can be reallocated to real-time applications such as IP telephony and streaming media, improving organisations’ productivity and, in turn, their competitiveness.”</p>

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