Saudi financial institution accelerates investment business

Bandwidth optimisation solution results in a huge improvement in performance for trading and banking applications.

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By  Sarah Gain Published  March 17, 2005

The world leader in wide area network (WAN) application performance, Peribit Networks is announcing the deployment of its Sequencer Reducer hardware products and software applications at Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation. With more than 67 sites throughout the Kingdom, Al Rajhi, one of Saudi’s largest banking establishments, hopes to improve the performance of critical applications running over its WAN. Al Rajhi Corporation has the largest network of any financial institution in the country, with more than 500 branches, 910 ATM machines and over 5400 point of sale devices installed at retail outlets. The group relies on an IP-based WAN to manage core banking applications, relay stock information and administer daily transactions. The bank’s bandwidth utilisation had been increasing dramatically as a result of the bank’s rapid growth. The number of users was increasing and new bandwidth-hungry applications that were being rolled out aggressively. This meant that Al Rajhi was quickly approaching its bandwidth utilisation threshold and there were concerns about application performance. The bank’s IT team examined a number of solutions to increase WAN speeds, according to Mohammed Khan Khusro, network manager of Al Rajhi, and is opting for Peribit technology after an exhaustive study of all the options. “We did a comprehensive study of how we could improve WAN performance, and came up with a number of solutions. One choice was to upgrade the WAN infrastructure, which would have proved both costly and time-consuming. The other choice was to rate-limit lower priority applications, such as email, which would have had a short-term effect but was not desirable long-term,” he explained. Peribit’s WAN optimisation solution integrates the capabilities of compression, sequence catching, latency reduction, and path optimisation, as well as the bandwidth utilisation and visibility tools that the Al Rajhi Corporation was looking for to improve business performance. Al Rajhi installed Peribit Sequence Reducers, incorporating the PeriSphere architecture at 67 of its sites nationwide. SR-50 sequence reducers were also deployed at Al Rajhi’s Riyadh headquarters, and its primary regional branches while the remote branches were equipped with SR-20s and SR-15s. The design and planning stages lasted only a few weeks, and the installation itself took minutes, allowing the bank to see the bandwidth benefits instantly. More applications can now be rolled out to the branches, and a greater number of users will have access to the network. “It would have taken weeks or months to physically migrate or upgrade the network links, which was not an option for us,” says Khusro. Al Rajhi’s WAN utilisation rates are now vastly reduced, resulting in significant application performance improvements and a ten-fold reduction in data levels when using Tadawul, the bank’s online trading service for the Saudi stock market. While enabling the bank to improve its application performance on leased line and VSAT links, Peribit Networks’ Molecular Sequence Reduction technology, combined with its Quality of Service bandwidth management solution, has also augmented Al Rajhi’s security structures through deep packet inspection. The bank’s IT team can monitor network traffic more effectively, and prevent application-level attacks. As part of future upgrades to the system, the bank is planning to roll out the sequence reducers to all of its Saudi branches, numbering 400 in total. Al Rajhi is also planning to employ the Peribit Packet Flow Acceleration (PFA) technology on its VSAT links. PFA helps banks overcome the impact of latency on TCP-based applications, which is especially important when dealing with remote sites connected via satellite-based WAN links. “Al Rajhi will see a full return-on-investment in less than a year,” claims John Rea, regional director for Peribit Networks. “IT should be all about practical usage and instant results.”

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