The global group of companies CRONIMET provides business applications for numerous sites. With networking technologies from Citrix it has now increased the reliability of its key infrastructure and improved application performance in remote offices.
The company history of CRONIMET Group is an impressive success story: Established in 1980 as a family business in Karlsruhe, CRONIMET itself has since become one of the world's leading specialists in stainless steel scrap, ferroalloys and primary metals. With advanced recycling and production processes the company gains from the highest quality products. Products by CRONIMET are used in stainless steel alloys for high-performance batteries or aircraft turbines. Today, the family has been established on four continents with more than 50 subsidiaries and employs more than 4.000 employees.
The IT infrastructure of the company has grown enormously in the past three decades, "Through acquisitions and start-ups, numerous new sites and users have been added," says Andreas Wiedmann, IT administrator, CRONIMET Holding GmbH. In many cases today, multi-site communication is necessary. For example. Working with multiple European offices require the same enterprise resource planning system.
However, the application was ageing and presented challenges to the IT department as the client’s software was very sensitive to fluctuations in the network connection.
Whenever the connection between the headquarters in Karlsruhe, and the branch office was disrupted, the application would freeze and data would be lost.
In order to simplify and improve application management, the IT department introduced Citrix technology. The client software of the ERP system has been shifted to a XenApp server farm in the datacenter and made centrally accessible to users at home and abroad. Benefit for users ensured that if a network interruption occurred the application on the server remained open and the user was able to continue his work seamlessly until the connection was restored. "The Citrix solution also relieved us enormously and reduced administration time," says Andreas Wiedmann. "We no longer had to update individual terminals just once once on the XenApp servers." The IT department of CRONIMET therefore built the Citrix environment gradually and added to the server farm over a period of time.
The operation of numerous business-critical applications have increased the demands on the availability of the Citrix server. At the same time ever new access scenarios were added: for example, it had to be linked to the environment that included around 100 mobile workers. In close collaboration with the IT consulting firm Macro Factory, IT managers of CRONIMET therefore planned a technological advancement of the Citrix infrastructure and put them into practice with the help of Macro Factory.
In the two physically separated server rooms in Karlsruhe the first two NetScaler MPX appliances were implemented.
This Application Delivery Controller adopts the function of SSL VPNs, enabling mobile users secure web access to internal IT resources. Secondly, the two NetScaler appliances serve as a powerful Load Balancer for critical components such as the XenApp Citrix Web Interface. Therefore, they ensure high availability of business applications.
CRONIMET was also concerned about performance optimization in remote offices: "In particular in our office in Shanghai, users often struggle with long waiting times," explains Andreas Wiedmann. "If an employee printed out a larger document, the connection to Karlsruhe was often completely blocked and colleagues could no longer work."
Macro Factory recommended the use of Citrix Branch Repeater. The WAN optimization solution from Citrix combines different caching and compression technologies to accelerate application delivery for branch offices. The AutoOptimizer engine of Branch Repeater automatically turns, depending on the application and network conditions and uses the most appropriate methods of WAN optimization.
CRONIMET was impressed with the unit efficiency of the solution. After Branch Repeater appliances were installed in Karlsruhe and Shanghai, the IT performance soon improved in the Chinese branch: "The printing worked much faster and application access delays hardly occurred. The quality-of-service capabilities of Branch Repeater ensure that at any time critical tasks have enough available bandwidth."
After this positive experience CRONIMET and Macro Factory also deployed a Branch Repeater solution to an office in the Netherlands. The VPX version of the product has been installed as a virtual appliance. The results were also impressive: The required bandwidth for data transfers has been reduced by up to 90 percent.
Andreas Wiedmann therefore sees the WAN optimization with Citrix technology still has enormous potential: "Our strategy is the future is to use Branch Repeater VPX as a standard solution in all branches, which are connected to our data center. The solution helps us to increase the productivity of our employees in the branches, and therefore perfectly complements our global Citrix infrastructure. "
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