How CIOs Solve Office 365 Performance Woes with a Global SD-WAN Service

Office 365 Acceleration
City & Guilds Group’s CIO Alan Crawford had a global problem on his hands. Employees in a newly acquired company in New Zealand were having difficulty using the organization’s Microsoft Office 365 service that employees used to collaborate.

Collaboration is central to the $195 million firm, which offers training and skills development to education providers, governments, and companies in more than 100 countries.  While employees in the organization’s London headquarters had no problem accessing City & Guilds’ instance of Office 365 hosted in Ireland, performance was spotty for users in India, the Americas, and really bad for employees at the newly acquired shop in New Zealand.

That office, Crawford’s team would soon discover, was 27 Internet hops away from the Dublin data center.  The distance and the variation in service quality between the end points resulted in significant packet loss and latency problems which, for users, translated into 10-15 second delays to open Word documents.  It could take users in New Zealand up to 38 seconds to open a file from the corporate SharePoint drive, Crawford says, “which obviously was impacting productivity.”

Revenue at risk

City & Guilds’ teams rely on Office 365 to collaborate on everything from developing product content for exams to bidding for new work and crafting qualification proposals, Crawford says.  Performance issues hobble productivity, disrupt meetings and put revenue at risk by making it hard to collaborate on bids.  “We knew this would be a barrier to further collaboration and helping us reach our revenue goals,” he says.

So Crawford and his team went looking for an answer and found one in Aryaka’s Global SD-WAN solution, a service delivered over a private WAN that provides predictable, stable, accelerated user experiences regardless of where the application is hosted and the user is located.

Aryaka has SD-WAN access points around the world and delivers the capability as a managed service.  That means City & Guilds simply has to connect its offices via short Internet pipes to a local access point and Aryaka will groom the traffic and transport it over its global, private network directly to the Office 365 data center in Dublin.

Night and day

Crawford says the cutover to Aryaka was achieved in days and the results were evident immediately.  Whereas it took up to 28 seconds to send a 1MB email attachment, it now takes 3.74 seconds. While it used to take up to 38 seconds to load a 10MB SharePoint file, it now takes less than 13 seconds.

“Our colleagues around the world were able to load their files to SharePoint three times faster, we experienced a 200x reduction in the time to open 10MB SharePoint files, and saw three times improvement in the time taken to upload 10MB files to OneDrive,” Crawford says. “We look at Aryaka as the only SD-WAN for Office 365.”

With its own house back in order, City & Guilds can now get back to focusing on helping others benefit from sharing knowledge and learning.

To learn more download our solution brief on Office 365 Acceleration and see how Aryaka can improve your global application performance today.

About the author

Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan is the Vice President of EMEA for Aryaka. He has over 25 years of executive experience in the software-defined networking and IT industries having led EMEA operations in the region for several high-profile companies. Ian is a thought leader and industry expert on digital transformation and GDPR. He actively contributes to strategic alliances, product management, sales, and marketing in Aryaka.