Success Stories

Below you will find all the Success Stories of Sangfor, classified by Industry, such as Enterprises, Governments, Schools & Universities, etc.

Investcorp Bank

12/10/2015

Investcorp   is   a   leading   provider   and   manager   of alternative  investment  products  for  private  high  net worth  and  institutional  clients,  mainly  based  in  the Middle East. Its unique model means it doesn't typically invest  in  funds  but  its  primary  focus  is  on  individual deals. What it actually does is buy companies and give its clients  the  opportunity  to  invest  in  them.  This  has  a higher level of risk than the typical fund model but the potential  rewards  are  considerably  higher  for  high  net worth investors.


Challenges
When  you're  responsible  for  investing  other  people's money, as Investcorp is, your systems have to be totally secure.  That  means  not  only  ensuring  security  of  the data  but  also  being  able  to  guarantee  continuity  of processing.  It  was  the  latter  area  where  the  company perceived a potential problem so it turned to Sangfor to solve it.

Global Processing Centres
The operation of Investcorp is supported from an office in Bahrain  that  mainly  handles  the  financial  side,  London and  New  York  offices  that  carry  out  the  deals  and  a smaller  office  in  Saudi  Arabia.  The  Bahrain  data  centre stores   all   the   client   account   data   and   hosts   the application software.

“We have a lot of in-house developed applications plus some standard packages,” explains Head of Technology Mike  Samatos.  “The  core  banking  system  is  the  one that’s  primarily  utilized  by  the  London  and  New  York users.  Apart  from  that,  when  the  users  are  travelling between the three offices, we use Citrix.”

Investcorp  isn't  a  retail  bank  and  so  doesn't  have  the need to constantly process ATM withdrawals and similar transactions.  However,  being  able  to  make  payments and remain operational is critical to the business and an extended  down-time  would  be  a  serious  problem.  The general  belief  is  that  a  day's  system  down-time  is  the maximum the business can stand.

With  Bahrain  being  an  island  and  distant  offices  to  be supported,    the    biggest    threat    is    a    loss    of telecommunications.   In   order   to   ensure   business continuity and to safeguard against possible disasters, it was  decided  to  replicate  all  the  Bahrain  systems  to London. That way, processing could simply be switched there  in  the  event  of  problems  in  Bahrain.  The  big challenge,  as  Mike  recounts,  was  the  volume  of  data involved:

“We're   probably   looking   at   an   average   of   48-50 gigabytes a day, which is actually a very large amount to get across a four megabits per second pipe.”

Solution
Seeking Practical Solutions

In  effect,  what  was  required  couldn’t  be  done  with  the existing set-up but, if it wasn't done, the company was at risk.   Increasing   the   bandwidth,   however,   wasn't   a practicable option.

“It’s  not  like  transatlantic  communication,”  comments Mike. “It’s the same sort of distance but it’s ten times the cost from the Middle East as from London to New York. Increasing  by  a  modest  amount  is  an  enormous  price difference   and   there   comes   a   point   when   latency becomes  an  issue  and  you  won’t  get  the  sort  of throughput you require.”


So  Investcorp  looked  for  other  solutions  and  set  a number of criteria that each had to be satisfied. The first of these was no interference with the Citrix environment and  possibly  acceleration  of  it  in  some  way.  Anything installed  also  had  to  be  easy  to  administer  and  enable the  application  of  quality  of  service  roles.  The  final requirement was that it provided caching functionality so duplicate data didn't need to be replicated.

The only really feasible solution was a WAN optimisation product and Investcorp looked at several of these. In the end,  according  to  Mike,  Sangfor  won  out  on  several counts:

“The pricing was certainly one of the reasons I contacted Sangfor. But, after speaking to them, there was the fact that it was easy for us to arrange a proof of concept. It was a case that if we didn’t get the benefits, there would be no cost to us. We could prove that we could get what we wanted and, if we didn’t, there was no harm but they worked with us to try and find a solution that benefited us.”

Assistance and Support
The distance posed no problems for the installation, with Investcorp providing a diagram of its infrastructure, with preconfigured boxes sent to London and Bahrain, which it then installed. Plenty of assistance was available from Sangfor  so  any  small  obstacles  that  came  up  initially were   worked   through   and   everything   was   set   up remotely. Even the fact that Investcorp in Bahrain works on  an  Islamic  calendar  and  there  are  time  differences was no great complication, with several calls to support people in the UK and Hong Kong and work carried out on a Saturday or a Sunday.

The   company   installed   wano   units   in   Bahrain   and London,  quickly  meeting  its  requirements  of  achieving data reduction, prioritising traffic and improving quality of service. The replication of a 4.5 gigabyte virtual hard disk file, for example, dropped from four hours to just 37 minutes  due  to  compression  and  caching  technologies meaning  only  550  megabytes  had  to  be  transferred across the WAN.

“The initial requirement and the first and most important part of the puzzle was achieved very quickly,” says Mike. “We had to run the equipment in parallel to see what sort of benefit we were gaining. Once we saw that and were confident with that, it was just a simple case of turning it on  and  watching  it  do  its  stuff  and  that’s  more  or  less what  happened.  We  have  been  able  to  improve  our business  because  the  way  we  had  our  infrastructure meant  we  would  have  had  to  in  some  circumstances restore from tape. Now it is close to real time replication and that is only achievable by having the Sangfor WAN optimisation product.”

“We have been able to improve our business because the way we had our infrastructure meant we would have had to  in  some  circumstances  restore  from  tape.  Now  it  is close to real time replication and that is only achievable by having the Sangfor WAN optimisation product.”

Next Steps
Since  the  initial  successful  implementation,  there  has been    some    customization    and    tweaking.    The infrastructure  is  quite  complex,  as  is  what  Investcorp wants  to  do,  so  there's  a  lot  of  testing  going  on  and  a new software version is due to be released. The second stage is optimization of the Citrix type of traffic as well as the  optimization  of  traffic  through  remote  access.  The final  scenario  is  an  important  one  because  there  are some  remote  offices  that  connect  using  Citrix  and  the aim is to consider connecting them using a VPN but have it  optimized  in  a  way  that  allows  remote  users  to  be connected to the network full time.

In terms of Sangfor equipment, the next step is likely to be an installation at the New York office and then at the smaller   Saudi   office.   However,   Mike   is   more   than satisfied with what has been achieved so far. He says:

“In terms of bang for the buck, it’s been fantastic. We are thrilled  with  what  we  have  managed  to  achieve  for  the cost and the amount of time it’s taken for us to get it in place.”


Solution
A Sangfor WAN optimizer is installed at the Bahrain data center and London office.

Equipment Features
- Cost-effective alternative
- Highly resilient and flexible
- Full unified bandwidth management
- Data caching and compression
- Simple drop-in deployment

- Opportunity to trial.


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