• United States
Senior Editor

LandAmerica gets WAN visibility from Packeteer

Feb 17, 20043 mins
Data CenterWAN

* LandAmerica sees into WAN traffic with Packeteer gear

When LandAmerica Financial Group’s WAN team couldn’t pinpoint the cause of performance problems between the company’s main locations and affiliated distribution sites, Matt Matin went looking for a magnifying glass.

The security and systems engineer at the Richmond, Va., real estate transaction services provider says the WAN team couldn’t see into traffic crossing LandAmerica’s fully meshed DS-3 lines.

“We didn’t have the necessary visibility into our WAN traffic or hardware connectivity from one location to another to allocate resources,” Matin explains.

He says the IT department needed to see into all WAN traffic, to give priority to time-critical applications, and to compress data to enhance overall traffic throughput. Even with monitoring products from other companies, he says the WAN traffic remained a mystery – until LandAmerica rolled out several Packeteer PacketShaper 4500 and 8500 appliances.

“Packeteer helped us realize that NetBIOS, FTP and P2P applications were affecting our WAN performance constantly,” Matin says. He explains that prior to rolling out Packeteer, several members of the WAN team would spend hours collecting and correlating packet and traffic data to determine the type of traffic crossing WAN links and how applications consumed bandwidth and other resources.

“With that information we can shape the traffic and tweak how we send things over the links,” Matin says.

LandAmerica started using Packeteer traffic shaping and compression gear about four years ago, and Matin estimates the company saves about $50,000 per month in bandwidth cost avoidance each month. He says today the appliances help the company compress files sent between two main data centers in Richmond and Dallas, and it plans to roll out more compression features to more sites.

LandAmerica spends about $1 million in bandwidth each month among four main sites in Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania and California. The IT department also supports about 10,000 employees at 700 remote sites via frame relay and ATM connections. LandAmerica’s remote site WAN links vary between 256K bit/sec to DS-3.

Network details matter, Matin adds, as a warning to others looking to buy into traffic shaping and compression tools. He says that if the WAN team at LandAmerica didn’t understand the network, how it supported mission-critical applications and how the WAN needed to work to support multiple locations and thousands of employees, then implementing the product wouldn’t have been successful.

“It’s not a case of just putting the appliance in and getting answers,” Matin says. “The person that deploys this type of tool has to understand their network and understand their business.”