Austrade doubles bandwidth capacity with app acceleration rollout

To be used in more than 60 countries

The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) is implementing application acceleration technology across its 119 international offices for completion by June, 2008.

Austrade has already installed the Steelhead appliances from Riverbed Technology in half of its offices including Sydney, Canberra and all of the Americas (the US, Canda and South America).

It has also purchased 250 licences for mobile client software for staff who travel frequently or do not have permanent offices.

Sitting within the federal government portfolio of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade provides advice, market intelligence and support to Australian companies involved in exporting, as well as businesses interested in foreign investment. It operates in more than 60 countries.

Geoff Harders, global manager, service delivery and systems support for Austrade, said the deployment will overcome many of the issues facing locations with limited bandwidth by speeding up download time and optimising application performance.

"Austrade's business is all about collaboration and connecting Australian exporters with overseas buyers and suppliers," he said.

"It's critical that our central repository of information - often containing sizeable files - can be quickly and easily accessed by our staff, so they can then help our clients.

"This will enhance our ability to effectively deliver over fairly mediocre data communications capabilities in terms of bandwidth and latency.

"This increases our ability to provide more complex information to employees, meaning they can better support Australian companies and ultimately increase Australia's level of outbound trade."

Many of Austrade's employees are mobile workers who are based in home or serviced offices. As a result Riverbed's mobile client software weighed heavily in the agency's decision when selecting a vendor.

Harder, who works in both Melbourne and Canberra, said the software allows notebook computers to share the same speed and security benefits as the desktop computers.

Depending on which applications he uses, it can almost double bandwidth capacity due to traffic optimisation capabilities.

"For example, the other day it took me about an hour to download a training video from my home office," Harder said.

"But once Steelhead Mobile was installed it could generate the file almost instantly.

"The ability to speed up download times is a major factor in increased productivity, not just for me, but for all our employees across the globe."

Austrade's offices range from one or two person set-ups in remote locations to offices of more than 200 in places such as Sydney and Canberra.

Harder said the solution is suitable for both small and large offices and can be configured through a central management console for quick deployment.

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"It was important that setup was simple because installation isn't necessarily undertaken by IT experts," he said adding that the rollout is supported by a training video and manual.

"Different people have different skill levels so a simple deployment was critical to the technology's success."

Steve Dixon, A/NZ regional director, at Riverbed, said globalisation makes wide area data services (WDS) technology crucial to many organisations.

"When organisations win back more bandwidth with WDS technology, they can reallocate some of it to real-time applications such as video conferencing, voice conferencing and VoIP," Dixon said.

"At the same time, the Steelhead products can improve application performance and download time, allowing every office within an organisation to increase productivity and better collaborate - regardless of their location."

- with Sandra Rossi