Load balancing is Plan B for financial services firm

Additional ISPs reduces downtime risk

Perth-based financial services firm Plan B has installed link management appliances to balance incoming traffic between its two ISPs.

The F5 Networks appliances, dubbed Big-IP Link Controllers, monitor the health and availability of each connection and redirect traffic to Plan B's second ISP if the first ISP or a link goes down.

Plan B hosts its in-house developed applications in two Perth buildings to allow its clients, 10 branch offices, and 15 third-party alliances across Australia and New Zealand to manage their investment portfolios and to report on compliance issues over the Internet.

Plan B head of infrastructure Darren Hathaway said it purchased the controllers and employed a second ISP to reduce downtime risks and performance problems, and to redirect traffic between its ISPs to avoid exceeding monthly traffic limits.

"Since installing the F5 solutions, management of our Internet connections has improved significantly," Hathaway said. "We have been able to save on costs by modifying the network infrastructure with the controllers, but the real value to the business is the increased uptime and reliability because we are always online despite ISP or network failures."

When Plan B decided to move to a dual ISP strategy, it consulted its IT services partner Alphawest about alternative technology solutions.

"We went with F5 because Link Controller gave us more advantages in terms of administration, reporting, and flexibility and has a number of additional capabilities which we are just now starting to explore," Hathaway said.

Alphawest developed a solution in consultation with F5 and integrated the Link Controllers into Plan B's network.

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