• United States

NCR moves from satellites to eCDN

Jul 03, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* NCR streams media on the ground instead of through satellites

For quite some time, analysts have talked about how streaming media would be the killer application for enterprise content delivery networks. I’ve recently come across a real-world example of that.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke with Maury Rindler, the program director of collaboration services for technology services company NCR. NCR has about 30,000 employees in 100 countries and has been broadcasting messages from its senior executives to its employees for years. But it had been doing so via satellite. The company used a satellite uplink from its headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, to reach its thousands of employees.

The system worked OK. But it got expensive, and there were some logistical issues. For example, there was no replay ability, and the company had to reserve specific time slots for broadcasting, Rindler says. In addition, as new offices came online it was a difficult task to get them hooked up to the satellite network. As office locations changed, the satellite dishes would get left behind, and a virtual office program meant many employees no longer had direct access to satellite feeds.

“Usage was dropping, and cost per event was going way up,” Rindler says. “Economically, it was just a bad answer.”

So in the fall of 2001, NCR turned off its satellite network. In early 2002, it deployed an Application and Content Networking System from Cisco over its private network. NCR already had a relationship with Cisco, says Rindler, and decided to deploy Cisco’s Content Engines in key NCR offices.

Now, NCR has Content Engines in about 50 of its largest offices, extending its eCDN to about 75% of its employees, including those working remotely through a VPN.

“We also cover for our virtual workforce and have Content Engines at our points of entry,” Rindler says.

He says costs have been cut in half, compared to what NCR was spending on its satellite network. Now Rindler says NCR is looking at how else it can use its enterprise content delivery network. 

“The real criterion that was driving us was the Webcasting. Then it’s kind of going back and saying, ‘OK. What else can we use it for,'” Rindler says.

He says NCR is considering using the eCDN for applications such as file transfers and for software downloads. Online training is also a big focus, he says.

“That’s the largest potential resource in front of us with the eCDN,” he says.