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ARUP: Building a resilient infrastructure

The Challenge

When starting a new building project, Arup opens an office on site, which remains in place for the duration of the build, often for a number of years. It is paramount that employees have all the resources they need available to them and can start operating from the site straight away in order to work efficiently and meet deadlines. However, different parts of the company were using competing IT technologies from several vendors. As more project sites were built across the globe, it was becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage the network and it was proving to be very costly for the infrastructure to keep up with user demands. Arup wanted to resolve this by consolidating the various systems into one; having one solution for all. By having a robust infrastructure that was easy to manage, it would bring operational efficiency and cost savings.

The Solution

Arup turned to Orange Cyberdefense, the independent IT security service provider, who it saw as a trusted consultant. Orange Cyberdefense reviewed the situation and recommended two innovative solutions. Firstly, Orange Cyberdefense deployed Application Delivery Network provider F5’s BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM). The application delivery controller allows the load balancing of multiple servers. It automatically points the user at the correct server depending on location, loading and availability. This turns the network into an agile infrastructure for application delivery – improving speed, and providing security and resilience. This would give Arup the flexibility and control to add applications and servers easily, as well as eliminate downtime and improve application performance. CASE STUDY The second solution to be deployed by Orange Cyberdefense was F5’s Big-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM), which directs users to resources around the world depending on availability and location. It works by distributing user application requests based on business policies, data centre and network conditions, user location, and application performance to ensure high availability of global application. This gives holistic control of Arup’s global traffic to ensure better application performance, less downtime and simplified management. If a data centre goes down, it will automatically look for another and re-direct users to ensure that resources and support are always available. This enables Arup to optimise its application delivery across its globally distributed data centres as well as manage its complex distributed network simply and efficiently.

The Implementation

Phase one of the implementation kicked off in mid-2009 which saw the initial evaluation right through to production. The implementation began in September of that year and saw the migration of the incumbent solution over to F5’s through a phased approach which took approximately nine months to complete. Phase two saw the process become automated. Arup is currently trialling the acceleration of the solution through various methods that speed up application performance ensuring that the users, wherever they are, get the same performance and experience even if it was a remote or local connection. Trial results have been good and Arup is now getting additional services from Orange Cyberdefense such as technical updates on its hardware. Arup continues to leverage investment and is keen to begin trials to integrate functionality between F5 and other onpremise systems to automatically spin-up and –down servers automatically, providing fully ‘elastic’ server capacity when needed most, instead of investing in additional, seldom-used hardware.

The Benefits

By streamlining application delivery, Arup is provided with an agile and flexible infrastructure. This enables the company to obtain all the functionality it needs to optimise performance. This reduces the server load, bandwidth usage and related costs. Applications and data are secured and can be accelerated up to three times. Arup now has full control of application traffic to handle its ever-growing business, infrastructure and application demands.

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