Company Engineers Easier File Transfers with Steelhead Appliances

Engineering company Wright-Pierce deployed a caching appliance to ensure that geographically dispersed workers could share large documents while maintaining revision control.

Like many other companies, engineering company Wright-Pierce had to deal with growing pains as it expanded from a one-office outfit to a multisite organization.

Wright-Pierce, based in Topsham, Maine, had problems ensuring that geographically dispersed engineers and office workers were able to collaborate on documents in an efficient manner. The solution? Deploy Riverbed Technology Inc.s Steelhead appliances.

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Company Branches Out

According to Ray Sirois, IT manager for Wright-Pierce, "The reason why Riverbed Technologys Steelhead appliances got our attention is that we recently migrated from being a one-office company to a five-office company."

Wright-Pierces expansion was completed earlier this year, "and we were having growing pains," Sirois said.

Users had problems sharing large documents—primarily engineering files on specific projects and also companywide specification documents—while maintaining revision control, according to Sirois.

Previously, the company relied on an elaborate checkout scheme to keep files intact. Sirois asked his CAD people to check out and download files via FTP instead of opening files directly over the WAN. When users complied, they were able to reduce unproductive time, Sirois said.

However, some workers held on to files and didnt go through the checkout process, which harmed the integrity of the shared files, according to Sirois. There were times when people needed to access a file, and if the file was checked out, it created problems for users and unnecessary delays for time-sensitive projects, he said.

Wright-Pierce has solid WAN links between the new remote offices—in Portland, Maine; Portsmouth, N.H.; Richmond, Vt.; and Middletown, Conn.—and the corporate headquarters in Topsham. However, file access and revisions became a thorny issue as the company expanded, according to Sirois.

Even with T-1 links, Wright-Pierces office workers were waiting 20 to 30 minutes to access remote files, said Sirois, then waiting an additional 20 minutes to save changes.

Hoping to get a handle on document revisions while also lowering wait times, the company installed a Steelhead 500 in the Portland office on a trial basis. Deployment took a couple of hours, according to Sirois.

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