OMV Taps Riverbed Technology for Australian, New Zealand Operations

Riverbed Technology, the IT infrastructure performance company for networks, applications and storage, announced that OMV, one of Europe's leading oil and gas companies, has deployed Riverbed® Steelhead® appliances and Steelhead Mobile client software across its Australian and New Zealand operations. The Steelhead products have dramatically accelerated application performance across the WAN between OMV offices in Australia, New Zealand and at one offshore rig contracted by OMV in the Taranaki Basin. Employees have experienced application performance improvements by up to a factor of 10x across the region.

OMV has approximately 150 employees and contractors based in Australia and New Zealand. When the organization embarked on a New Zealand-based oil field development project in 2008, it faced a number of challenges posed by the geographical distance between sites.

Peter Zuzula, IT manager, OMV Australia, says a strategy to share resources meant staff in Perth, Australia and Wellington and New Plymouth, New Zealand were all involved in the new oil field development project, together with employees on an offshore drilling location. Reliable, high-performance communications between team members was considered critical to the success of the project. However, because the development project was scheduled to last only 12 months, OMV did not want to relocate staff for this project.

"Users require a certain level of service from their IT infrastructure, even when they are in remote locations. Prior to our deployment of the Riverbed WAN optimization solutions, employees were complaining and the business was suffering from slow-performing applications," explains Zuzula. "Since we installed the Steelhead appliances, that problem has been eliminated. Calls to our IT group from irate users complaining about slow systems have stopped."

Working with Riverbed and the Perth-based systems integrator Expanse IT, OMV deployed the Riverbed Steelhead 2020 and Riverbed Steelhead Mobile Controller (SMC) at its Perth office; another Riverbed Steelhead 2020 at the Wellington branch; a Riverbed Steelhead 520 in New Plymouth; and Riverbed Steelhead Mobile client software at the offshore oil rig in the Taranaki Basin.

Zuzula says he had excellent support throughout an uncomplicated deployment process. Systems integrator Expanse IT contributed significantly to the success of this project. Expanse IT reviewed OMV's existing WAN infrastructure, designed the appropriate Riverbed solution and deployed the Steelhead appliances, Steelhead Mobile Controller and Steelhead Mobile client software in a matter of days. No disruption to production IT services was required.

Accelerating Applications for the Mobile Workforce

While the initial use of the Riverbed Steelhead Mobile client software was limited to those users based on OMV's offshore rig in the Taranaki Basin, many more OMV employees across Australia and New Zealand are now using Steelhead Mobile to work faster from home.

"The initial driver was to improve IT systems performance for those users based on the oil rig, but I could immediately see the possibilities for mobile workers as well," Zuzula says. "Working from home can sometimes be quite painful but Steelhead Mobile gives us a huge performance boost; this dramatically increases user productivity."

Zuzula says that the acceleration of OMV's Outlook and File Sharing applications by, on average, eight times, has enabled the company to achieve a positive return on its investment (ROI) in just six months.

"Because we employ a number of contractors, it's important they can work as productively as possible -- otherwise the company is losing money," he explains. "Getting back our initial investment within six months is a simply incredible result for any IT project."

"If every large IT project went as smoothly as this implementation did, it would be great," Zuzula continues. "Everything runs fast and users are happy. The Riverbed products have proven themselves stable and reliable; ongoing operations and maintenance requirements for them are virtually nil."

OMV is now planning to expand its installation of Riverbed Steelhead appliances to include its global head office in Vienna, Austria.