Investec Achieves WAN Data Acceleration With Bridgeworks

[London] Investec Private Bank, with the help of value-added distributor StratIT and
Datacentrix, both from South Africa, aims to deliver a shared value proposition to clients across Bank
and Wealth as well as across geographies. The Bank offers Specialist Banking, Wealth & Investment
and Asset Management services, and it is achieving its ambitions through continued investment in
digital capabilities.

The Bank has 10,000 employees. As for its IT environment relating to this project, it currently has:

  • An MPLS WAN link with a handover from one SP to another between continents.
  • A Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Operating systems on Dell commodity kit.
  • An Oracle Enterprise Database and a SQL Enterprise Database.

Tackling challenges

For the purpose of GDPR Investec must ensure critical system data is not older than a few hours to
meet regulatory requirements. Data sovereignty regulations for SecuritEase mean the servers will
need to be hosted in the EU. Subsequently, the data cannot be older than a few hours to achieve
compliance with the regulations.

Investec Wealth and Investment require access to servers residing in the UK to provide clients with
offshore investment capability. The Bank is partnered with Swiss Bank, and it uses its Swiss brokering
licence.

The issue is that geographic latency between South Africa and the UK meant less than 20% utilisation
of WAN links for the replication of RRP data. MPLS latency between the two counties is +-180ms. The
time for these data sets to be moved across the South Africa and the UK link is currently between 14-
15 hours, which can cause challenges in keeping RRP databases in synchronicity.

The need to achieve the following led Investec to Bridgeworks:

  • Reduce data replication times and keeping DB’s in sync;
  • Reduce non-productive transfer windows;
  • Ability to fully utilise all available WAN bandwidth i.e. WAN infrastructure investment is right sized to the transfer task;
  • Ability to reduce application visible latency i.e. deliver content quicker to customers and collaborators.
  • Minimal impact and footprint to existing WAN/LAN infrastructure
  • Solution available as virtual machine
  • Software/Routing changes required for acceleration no need to deploy additional physical hardware to the environment.

The price of Bridgeworks solutions was also a factor that attracted Investec. The Bank expects to save
money as a result of the introduction of Bridgeworks WAN Data Acceleration solutions. It will also
allow Investec to fully utilise the available bandwidth between the sites – helping to resolve the core
business problems faced by Investec – such as the replication of SQL and Oracle enterprise databases.

Application response times for users accessing applications hosted in different hemispheres have been
vastly improved too. The choice around hosting of digital capabilities no longer becomes a question
of latency, which is aided by the fact the Bridgeworks offers a tailor-made solution. It’s one that has
proved to be game-changing for Investec.

Alternatives such as Aryaka were considered, but solutions such as Bridgeworks PORTrockIT were
found to meet all of Investec’s requirements after a proof of concept (POC) of 6 months duration. This
POC was carried out after StratIT introduced Investec to Bridgeworks.

POC: No Acceleration

The baseline for the POC began with no acceleration, and with host-to-host traffic with accelerator inpath.
The total traffic transferred between 1st February and 1st April 2018 was 9.3TB. The average rate
of transfer was 3-5MB/s, and all of the databases were out of sync.

POC: With Acceleration

The next step was to add accelerator to accelerator traffic in-path of servers. The total traffic
transferred between 1st February and 1st April 2019 equalled 55TB. This amounted to a 424% increase
in total traffic, with an average rate of transfer 11-15MB/s. Unlike when there was no WAN data
acceleration, all of the Oracle and SQL databases were in sync.

Delivering results

Investec Wealth and Investment did not form part of the original scope of the project, which originally
focused on database replication. Members of the wealth team approached Central IT for assistance
with access to an application hosted in the UK yielding round trip response times over 800ms. Passing
this data through accelerators brought round trip times down to 320-350ms.

Francois Steyl, CTO at StratIT says: “Bridgeworks is unique in what it does, and addresses the latency,
packet loss and ingress and egress rates which is the culprit for poor throughput rates across the WAN.
The ease of the Virtual appliance deployment and the adjusting of routing rules makes Bridgeworks
the clear solution to accelerate data across a customer’s WAN. The implementation of Bridgeworks’
solutions at Investec, has realised a 424% increase in total traffic sent across the WAN, which provides
an almost instantaneous Return on Investment”.

David Trossell adds: “We all read about ROI and game changing solutions, but for me there are two
aspects that standout with this solution that make me proud of our involvement. The enthusiasm and
delight of the customer with the solution the teams delivered and the way the technical and sales
teams from each company worked closely together to deliver the solution as one. “

With the new WAN data acceleration in place, Investec is planning to implement AWS and Microsoft
Azure cloud services. Meanwhile, it commends Bridgeworks for its dedication and professionalism
throughout the project and says it will recommend its solutions to friends and colleagues.

Venesia Oxford, Senior Account Manager at Datacentrix stated: “Through the utilisation of the
Bridgeworks technology, Investec can finally utilise more of their actual Bandwidth investment,
compared to what was possible in the past. The improved application response times means quicker
turnaround times enabling faster decision making which impacts customer satisfaction and internal
business collaborations. The Bridgeworks technology is one of the data management principles
available to customers from the all-encompassing data management portfolio offered from
Datacentrix “

  1. DATACENTRIX:
    About Datacentrix
    Datacentrix provides leading ICT integration services and solutions to South African
    organisations, ensuring their success and sustainability into the digital age. The company’s
    approach is to partner with its customers, equipping them with valuable insight and helping
    to align their ICT undertakings with their business strategy.

    Datacentrix offers a deeply specialised skills component and is endorsed by the world’s
    foremost technology partners. The company is recognised for its agility, in-depth industry
    knowledge, proven capability and strong overall performance.

    Datacentrix is a Level One (AAA) B-BBEE Contributor, with 135 percent procurement
    recognition.
    For more information, please visit www.datacentrix.co.za
  2. Bridgeworks
    About Bridgeworks
    Bridgeworks’ expertise in optimisation of data performance stretches back over 35 years.
    Bridgeworks industry defining Data Acceleration technology is re-defining Wide Area
    Networks enabling organisations to reach transfer speeds up to 200x faster, whether large
    volumes, encrypted or media files. Using Automated, AI technology Bridgeworks dramatically
    alleviates the effects of latency and packet loss, meaning that data can get to where it needs
    to be quicker and maximising business performance with dramatic ROI.
  3. StratIT
    About StratIT
    StratIT is a value-added distributor of a very specific and focused selected bouquet of
    leading Information Technology solutions. We extract business value and intelligence from
    Enterprise environments for business continuity, compliance and risk mitigation by means of
    data indexing, re-defining data storage and data acceleration.

    StratIT delivers creative new technology solutions, offers expert advice and guidance
    coupled with outstanding service delivery. Our mission is to provide our customers with a
    complete integrated solution at competitive pricing.
    For more information please visit www.stratit.co.za