NPO achieves 97% WAN traffic reduction

Wednesday, 19 October, 2011

Mental health support organisation Mind Australia has deployed WAN optimisation technology, allowing it to reduce traffic congestion, save money and enable its mobile staff to provide better services and support out in the field, especially in regional areas.

Mind Australia is a community not-for-profit organisation providing counselling and other related services to more than 4500 patients with mental health issues in Victoria and South Australia.

The organisation runs a thick-client application for its client management system, connecting 600-plus staff across more than 50 offices, using expensive WAN links.

Mind Australia wanted more throughput over its WAN links, but buying more bandwidth was not realistic, financially. When looking for a solution, the company looked at two key factors: accelerating file serving and enhancing response times for applications that were dependant on a client-server relationship.

After deploying Riverbed Technology’s Steelhead, Mind Australia managed to reduce the transfer of traffic across the WAN by 97% - for every 100 MB that would have had to be transferred previously, it now only requires 3 MB.

But the ROI goes beyond time and cost savings. Mind Australia would not have been able to rollout a thick-client application across the existing WAN links without the new solution. The organisation would have had to have used a different product for its client management system.

Mind Australia also deployed Steelhead Mobile to give its staff, a large percentage of which work in the field or between offices, LAN-like access to the primary application. This would help them work more productively, but also significantly reduce the sense of isolation that is part-and-parcel of their daily work.

“One of the ways we combat staff isolation is by using this type of technology to provide a responsive and fast service,” said James Kent, director of IT services, Mind Australia. “People who are regularly out in the field and delivering services, alone or with little contact with other staff members, require stable services. This is fundamental to increasing their satisfaction and their connectedness with the organisation and with the people they support.”

Being able to take a lot of traffic off the WAN has enabled Mind Australia to look at implementing other technologies to further benefit the business. The organisation is rolling out Microsoft Lync to handle all voice services - this would not have been possible if the organisation did not have the availability in the data connections.

With the federal government investing $1.5 billion for mental health in the next few years, Mind Australia expects its business will expand significantly and therefore needed a solution that would easily scale in line with its growth.

“The Riverbed solution has really aided Mind Australia to take the next step as an organisation and be able to deliver services that would otherwise only be available to much larger companies,” said Kent.

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