Tulip Ltd. selects A10 Networks Thunder ADC for hybrid-cloud environment

A10 Networks, the application networking technology provider, has announced that Tulip Ltd. is using Thunder Series Application Delivery Controllers to ensure reliable delivery of business-critical services and Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) for the successful operation of its hybrid-cloud environment.

Tulip Ltd. is the UK's leading food solutions company, supplying a wide range of high-quality pork and meat products to the retail and foodservice sectors. It currently employs approximately 7,500 highly skilled colleagues across 17 manufacturing sites and also operates 330 pig farms across the country.

And as a major supplier to the UK's retail and foodservice sectors, Tulip depends on a growing number of critical applications across its sites and has developed an ethos to continually progress the effectiveness and reliability of the IT systems that support the business. This ongoing process is highlighted by its hybrid-cloud environment and ability to deliver IT across a wider range of fixed and mobile devices.

"Delivering 'always on' services that are available anytime, anywhere, and on almost any device is an integral part of our strategy of people-centric services," said Wayne Fairhurst, head of technical services, group IS&T at Tulip Ltd. "The ADC's and Global Server Load Balancers are a prerequisite, ensuring our services are highly-available both within and outside our corporate network, in particular, supporting over 600 mobile devices.

Unfortunately, the initial implementation of a Citrix NetScaler ADC proved unsuitable. "Our previous solution suffered from limitations such as an inability to identify performance degradation in specific components within our infrastructure which increased the complexity of diagnostics and remediation. Issues with poor SSL encryption and decryption performance were also having a profound impact on our email environment, making SSL offload an absolute priority for us." Fairhurst estimates that at the time of the previous Citrix NetScaler implementation, roughly 65 percent of the service desk calls received by the Tulip IT department were directly related to issues with its legacy ADC.

With the decision to replace the NetScaler units, Fairhurst and his team began working closely with Response Data Communication (RDC) Ltd., a highly experienced specialist provider of networking and communication technologies, to consider alternative products from A10 Networks, F5 Networks, Kemp, Radware and Riverbed. "One of the benefits of working with Response is their insight into the industry and the complement of solutions that they offer. Having partnered with Response for just over five years, we've engaged with them on several different projects and have found their knowledge and due diligence around the evaluation and research of the solutions they offer has been exemplary," said Fairhurst.

Following extensive testing and evaluation of price, performance and feature sets, the A10 Networks Thunder series ADCs were deemed the most suitable. , "Our evaluation positioned them uniquely against the competition with a product and feature set that understands our pain points and, ultimately, eradicates them," says Fairhurst. In terms of value, Fairhurst highlighted the GSLB functionality provided at no additional charge as part of A10's "All-Inclusive" licensing policy also improved cost efficiency.

RDC was instrumental in the successful deployment of the 4 Thunder 3030s, each offering 30 Gbps of Layer 4-7 throughput, providing application delivery and GSLB functionality from a single appliance across multiple datacentres to ensure the highest levels of reliability. Alongside rock solid performance and reliability, according to Fairhurst, the switch to A10 Networks has delivered a wealth of improvement, "The "Virtual Chassis" architecture delivers an intuitive, single point of administration for all appliances and the built-in monitoring has provided enhanced insight into application behaviour, service health and, crucially, capacity planning."

These features have been instrumental in service health monitoring, enabling the company to improve its service levels through the proactive identification and isolation of degraded or failed components within its infrastructure. The high-performance SSL offload and HTTP compression feature, "...has enhanced performance of our Intranet and other web-based applications," Fairhurst added.

With the implementation of the Thunder ADCs considered a success, Tulip is now working closely with RDC on the process of migrating all of its remaining applications onto the new appliances and completing the rollout of a new MDM solution across its mobile infrastructure. Other projects under future consideration include the development of scripts to support 'elasticity,' and dynamically and bi-directionally scale services to accommodate the demands from the business as well as sustainability targets.

"A10 Networks has helped to provide the flexibility and scalability to support our business-critical services today and in the future," Fairhurst concluded.

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