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Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Riverbed Case Study

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Riverbed Case Study

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute supports data intensIve research applIcations with Riverbed

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the world's leading genome centres. Since its inception in 1993, the Institute has played a key role in the development of genomic science, from sequencing of reference genomes to understanding the role of genomic variation in health and disease. Through its ability to conduct research at scale, it is able to engage in bold and long-term exploratory projects that are designed to influence and empower medical science globally. Institute research findings, generated through its own research programmes and through its leading role in international consortia, are being used to develop new diagnostics and treatments for human disease.

"We were usIng an open-source load balancer to manage the traffIc but it had limitatIons..." - Dr Paul Bevan, Team Leader, Core Software Services, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

The Challenge: Create a resilient website able to cope with hundreds of sImultaneous requests

The Institute runs a bespoke IT system to allow for the dynamic nature of the applications and content. The back-end applications, which are used to process the raw research data, are developed by the biologists and run on blade servers at the in-house data centre. A second data centre provides back-up. Many of the Institute's core services - including exchange and Unix mail servers - are virtualised.

"We were using an open-source load balancer to manage the traffic but it had limitations on the number of requests which could be processed at one time, which often saw the back-end applications falling over," continues Dr Bevan. "Additionally, to make configuration changes it was necessary to stop and restart the servers which could happen more than once a day; the result was a lot of short-term downtime. We decided to look for an alternative which gave the web team more control, allowing us to be faster and make changes quickly and easily."

The Solution: Institute can now set up sites quickly

The Institute selected Riverbed Technology, supported by network infrastructure and systems integrator IP Performance, which offered the control and flexibility needed with the Riverbed Application Delivery Controller (ADC).

"Our consultative approach ensures we understand our customers' unique requirements," comments Phil Crossley, Managing Director, IP Performance. "By delivering a managed Proof of Concept in partnership with Riverbed, we enabled The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to evaluate the unrivalled performance of a Riverbed ADC in both their QA and test environments. As a technology partner, we will always go that extra mile to delight our customers."

"With the help of our systems integrator, we migrated to Riverbed ADC over a period of six months. However, we took our time over the project to resolve any issues before deployment," explains Dr Bevan. "The approach also minimized downtime, as some services are so critical we cannot have them offline for more than three hours. The Riverbed traffic management software was incredibly easy and quick to install - the virtual machines only took ten minutes. Now all of our traffic, both internal and external, runs through Riverbed."

"By delIverIng a managed proof of concept in partnershIp with RIverbed, We enabled The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to evaluate The unrIvalled performance of a RIverbed ADC In both theIr QA and Test envIronments" - Phil Crossley, Managing Director, IP Performance

BenefIt: FlexIble solution that has reduced latency and costs

Two Riverbed ADCs have replaced two network switches and six physical servers. This saves space within the data centre, reduces energy consumption, and ongoing costs. The solution then manages 20 database servers and 70 web servers, to reduce latency and ensure constant availability of the Institute's sites. The solution enables the website team to make configuration changes which were previously only possible by reconfiguration of network switches and hence carried out by the network team. Additionally, the traffic management software from Riverbed allows the Institute to set-up sites quickly and because they create so many sites, this is a huge benefit. In addition, a sophisticated programming language integrated within the Riverbed ADC can be customised and has provided further control to optimise, and route traffic based on the Institute's unique requirements.

"Our requirements are unique; firstly because of the dynamic content and volume of requests we face when research is made available, but also because we run a bespoke IT set-up," concludes Dr Bevan. "The Riverbed traffic management solution works effectively with our applications, providing our web team with the flexibility they need to handle the traffic, scaling up and down as required. It has allowed us to become more agile and this benefit is passed on to the academics accessing our data."

"The RIverbed TraffIc Management software was incredIbly easy and quIck to Install - The vIrtual machInes only took ten mInutes. Now all of our traffIc, both Internal and external, runs through RIverbed" - Dr Paul Bevan, Team Leader, Core Software Services, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

About IP Performance

IP Performance has been delivering specialised infrastructure solutions and integrating complex network systems since 1994. We deliver internet/networking services and products as well as professional, certified network management and technical support services - 24 hours a day.

Our clients range from the largest telecommunication service providers, to blue-chip corporates, to the education and local government sectors. We are fully accredited with a small number of carefully chosen partners, who all deliver secure, reliable, high performance solutions.


"IP Performance enabled us to trial the system in a test environment and then between Dubai and Edinburgh. They provided us with full support and fast response to any problems."

Gavin Wilson, Systems Development Manager, Heriot Watt University

Specialised Network Infrastructure and Systems Integration

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