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National Bank Of Abu Dhabi Recovers Bandwidth Costs And Improves Application Performance With Silver Peak
(15 October 2014)


One of the largest lender banks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) improved its disaster recovery (DR) strategy and enhanced application performance thanks to Silver Peak wide area network (WAN) optimization. With Silver Peak instances in its offices, NBAD improved bandwidth utilization by 5x and reduced costs so significantly that the bank realized a nearly immediate return-on-investment (ROI).

NBAD is a global bank with 150 branch offices across 14 countries. The 5,000 users in those offices rely on custom banking applications as well as Citrix virtual desktops, both provided from NBAD’s two data centers. An MPLS, IP-VPN network connects all the offices at various speeds and the two data centres at 400 Mbps. Data is replicated between data centres for DR purposes.

As the bank grew so did its bandwidth requirements. Application performance began to suffer, particularly for its core banking application. Disaster recovery efforts were also jeopardized as the company began missing its recovery point objectives (RPOs).

NBAD considered adding bandwidth to its MPLS network, but the upgrade proved too expensive. The additional bandwidth would not address the latency issues undermining data replication performance. Instead, Gulf IT, a hardware and software distributor, recommended WAN optimization, a solution that would maximise WAN throughput without the need for additional costly bandwidth.

NBAD tested WAN optimization including Silver Peak. “Silver Peak posted better deduplication performance, shortening replication between our data centres,” says Aymen Mohammed Ahmed, lead network architect at NBAD.

Silver Peak was also successful in resolving a larger number of the critical WAN problems such as congestion and significant amounts of packet loss, and other latency challenges. Silver Peak’s easy approach made deployment easy, seamlessly fitting into NBAD’s existing IT infrastructure. Silver Peak’s long-standing partnership with EMC and easy integration with the company’s existing EMC and Brocade replication environment sealed the deal.

“As a high-speed financial organisation and with many strict rules and regulations to follow, optimising the network infrastructure became crucial to executing an effective DR strategy and coping with the growing amount of data being transferred across our network,” says Ahmed. “We have many remote offices and were constantly dealing with poor application performance, which is just not acceptable in this fast-moving industry. We needed a solution that would be easy to use and solve all of our network capacity, latency and quality issues, without the worry of escalating bandwidth costs.”

Since deploying Silver Peak across its global IT network, NBAD has recovered the cost of its MPLS network – registering a savings of US$200,000 per month. Bandwidth consumption has been reduced by up to five times, allowing NBAD to replicate more data and meet its RPOs.

NBAD also gained in other ways. Security improved through Silver Peak’s accelerated encryption. NBAD has also enhanced load balancing between BT and Orange, the bank’s two global service providers.  

“Silver Peak not only improved our application performance, but even paid for itself,” says Ahmed. “A Silver Peak-powered WAN means our business is no longer hampered by network limitations; we have been able to implement a sound DR strategy and maximise the performance of our home grown banking applications in a fast, easy, and efficient manner.”

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