• United States
Senior Editor

O’Reilly Automotive expands its bandwidth use

Aug 12, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* O’Reilly Automotive uses Expand Networks gear to get more out of links

Mark Garton found himself with a dilemma. The information systems disaster recovery team leader for O’Reilly Automotive found that his 12M bit/sec link couldn’t transmit data he needed to send between the company’s Springfield, Mo., and Dallas offices.

“We had already combined two links to support two servers, but we weren’t sure even 12M bit/sec could support the application,” Garton says. The application causing the concern was Vision Suite, a high-availability disaster recovery and data mirroring application for cost-effectively managing availability across O’Reilly’s network of 11 warehouses and 1,011 retail stores.

“If we have the application sitting and waiting to transmit and something happens, everything is lost, all our transactions. We couldn’t risk having that happen,” Garton says.

The application journals all transactions conducted across the O’Reilly network. The data mirroring between the headquarters in Springfield and the warehouse in Dallas is part of O’Reilly’s disaster recovery strategy. “It’s not a problem quality-of-service tools could address. It’s one application that needs a lot of bandwidth to transmit one way,” he says.

In April, Garton welcomed a demonstration of Expand Networks’ Accelerator 6810 Series boxes to speed the data mirroring between O’Reilly’s two IBM AS/400 iSeries servers. “They brought it in for us to test, and we haven’t given it back,” Garton says. O’Reilly Automotive is one of the largest specialty retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment and accessories in the U.S., serving both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets.

Expand refers to its performance boost as “acceleration” rather than compression. The results obtained are based on traffic stream compression, header compression, data caching and error recovery. By removing repeated data patterns found in any type of traffic, Expand provides important bandwidth savings.

Garton says Expand’s Accelerator helped him get full T-3 capacity out of the oversubscribed 12M bit/sec link – and now, with the four times increase in network capacity, O’Reilly was able to downgrade its link to 6M bit/sec, saving more than $32,400 annually.

Setup required minimal changes to O’Reilly’s hub-and-spoke network. Garton says he had to add a couple of routers, but mostly because he moved the two servers onto the same link. He installed the Accelerator box on the LAN side between the server and the router. The product provides a Web interface to show users what kind of acceleration and deceleration the application traffic is experiencing. And the Web console will also let users know of any potential problems.

Garton wants to broaden O’Reilly’s use of the Expand gear to each of the warehouses and distribution centers.