The Absa Group is deploying a new-generation bandwidth, enhancing technology in more than 45 locations in southern Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania as part of a programme to expand its legacy mainframe applications into the Web-centric era.

Facing the prospect of a R14m upgrade to support this programme, and associated growth in data traffic over its network, Absa says that it chose to implement Peribit Sequence Reducers, supplied locally by Source Consulting, to effectively triple the capacity of its existing telecommunications links.

Sequence Reducers, based on Molecular Sequence Reduction (MSR) technology, aim to identify and remove redundant data destined for wide area network (WAN) links - be they terrestrial or satellite.

"MSR uses DNA pattern-matching techniques to provide a low-cost, low-risk way for networks to instantly discover and recover previously wasted WAN capacity," says Alan Rehbock, GM of the Peribit Business Unit at Source Consulting.

According to Absa, its telecommunications costs in Africa are high - R10 000 per month for a single 64kbps satellite link from Mozambique to SA, and R14 000 per month for a 512kbps connection over limited distance. "In many locations, faster WAN links are not available, and, in others, the cost is prohibitive," says Neville Perry, group consultant in Absa’s network architecture group. "We needed a way to anticipate and manage growth on our backbone network, and buying larger capacity WAN links was not the answer." To justify the Peribit deployment, Perry’s group installed two systems and then used the data reduction results to project deployments at 45 sites over an 18-month period.

Although actual data reduction was said to range from 48% to 68%, the group conservatively assumed a 40% reduction rate, and compared Peribit’s pricing against the cost of network link upgrades. Based on this data, the Peribit equipment is expected to pay for itself in 11 months, and return double its value within 16 months.

"Peribit gave our network a significant capacity upgrade along with the ability to monitor traffic, so we can see exactly what kind of throughput we are getting," notes Perry.

Prior to the selection of Peribit, Perry’s team investigated router compression solutions, but rejected them because they introduced additional latency and affected router throughput. The group also looked at other bandwidth optimisation products, but found that one product would not honour router-based quality of service (QoS) settings, while another lacked centralised management of multiple remote links. Peribit’s plug-and-play installation was an important consideration. "Another compression vendor wanted us to go through a five-day training session on its product," adds Perry. "Peribit’s solution is easy to install, and was up and running in about fifteen minutes."

ICT World