AU$100K+ switch to Riverbed connects Mirvac staff

Property giant Mirvac has adopted Riverbed's Steelhead wide area data services (WDS), allowing it to link its construction sites quickly and cheaply to the company network.

Property giant Mirvac has adopted Riverbed's Steelhead wide area data services (WDS), allowing it to link its construction sites quickly and cheaply to the company network.

The system, which allows data and applications to be efficiently shared across a network, has been rolled out on 23 of Mirvac's construction sites -- where up to 50 people can work at one time -- at an estimated cost of over AU$100,000.

The benefits of adopting the WDS have "paid back the investment in the Riverbed technology many times over", group IT manager Chris Kennett said in a statement.

It is hard to put a figure on a return on investment amount, Kennett told ZDNet Australia, but now whenever Mirvac employees go onto a site, all they need is a computer and a cable to be linked to the network, which saves installing equipment which could cost between AU$8,000 and AU$12,000.

In terms of user perception, access to the network after installing Riverbed has been 10 times better, Kennett said, with the onsite workers feeling "part of the [Mirvac] environment".

This has helped Mirvac "reduce the pressure caused by the shortage of staff", Kennett said in a statement: "Previously, whenever we required specialists' skills for a particular project, or needed extra resources, we either transferred our architects between states to meet the varying skills demands of the different projects or sourced them locally."

Now Mirvac can work on countrywide projects with teams across Australia, Kennett said.

Previously, Mirvac used Citrix, on which using essential CAD was "unworkable" according to Kennett. This is because of the nature of CAD, with employees all working on the same set of large documents, he said.

"Architectural drawing files are cross referenced," Kennett explained, so that architects' work affects more than one file. "I could be working on Unit 1 and you on Unit 2," he said, with both being connected to the master plan.

The size of the files mean that the amount of data flowing across the network is "huge" he said, adding that "in terms of the bandwidth, we were able to deliver the data through the network faster and cheaper [with Riverbed] than with an upgrade".

Because CAD is unworkable on Citrix, Kennett said he could not compare its performance against Riverbed based on the ease of accessing the drawing files. However, if he were to compare the two on a common basis -- large Word documents -- the performance of Riverbed over Citrix is "five to 10 times better", he said.

According to Kennett, implementing Riverbed was one of the easiest IT integrations he has ever undertaken. "We went from pilot to production very quickly," he said.

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