Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC)
Beverage Alcohol Distribution
As the second largest alcohol distributor in the United States, RNDC’s network stretches across 23 states and comprises three data centers, 40 warehouses and 20 sales offices. Smooth internal communications, operations, and logistics across all locations are critical to the daily success of the organization. However, with a broadly distributed network running 30 to 40 primary applications, RNDC’s network was prone to network traffic issues across all sites, including the main data center. In order to effectively identify and solve these issues, the network team lacked the visibility and in-depth information needed to troubleshoot accurately and efficiently.
Since deploying TruView, the RNDC network team has used its advanced monitoring and reporting features to become more responsive to tough issues and resolve them with speed. The solution provides them as much as a 97 percent reduction in time and expense for handling routine problems. RNDC is now capable of identifying the root cause of network issues and delays through 24-hour application performance and network monitoring with TruView. The team is excited about plans to expand its current TruView deployment to encompass broader areas of the company.
NetScout TruView™ and OptiView® XG
“The [TruView] dashboard is incredible. You always hear people say that a picture is worth a thousand words. In our case, a picture is worth a thousand words and 80 man hours.” - Roderick Bethly, network architect at Republic National Distribution Company
Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) is the second largest distributor of premium wines and spirits in the United States. Founded in 1898, RNDC has a company culture founded on strong family-owned business values and has become the distributor of choice in the beverage alcohol industry.
Today, RNDC employs more than 8,000 people at 60 locations across 23 states. As with most distribution companies, streamlining operations and processes is important, and technology is a key factor in making sure everything runs smoothly. From the warehouse to the point of delivery, the RNDC network is involved.
RNDC’s success as a national distribution company utterly depends on its internal operations. Its network spans three data centers, 40 warehouses and 20 sales offices, all across 23 states. RNDC’s business runs on 30 to 40 core applications, including a warehouse management system, sales systems, Cisco VoIP and others.
With such a broad network and wide variety of activity taking place, RNDC was prone to network and traffic troubles at various sites, including the main data center. The network team knew there was a problem, but did not have access to the granular information about ongoing activities and information traffic they needed to identify the source of the issue.
During one case, the team received complaints about two homegrown applications called Mars and Venus, which are used to place orders with manufacturers, track sales and conduct projections. Like all internally built tools, these had their unique issues, which were typically blamed on the firewall or the network. No one had enough information to determine the true root cause.
RNDC found a solution in the TruView and the OptiView XG Network Analysis Tablet fromNetScout. TruView is a single-appliance network and application performance monitoring and troubleshooting solution that highlights performance metrics on a single dashboard. TruView displays key data sets, packet storage, application response time, transactional decode and more in a format customized to each user’s preferences.
“We configured a custom application and did some continuous monitoring to establish a baseline for performance levels during transactions and other activity,” said Roderick Bethly, network architect at RNDC.
Together, the TruView and OptiView XG enabled the team to look at historical instances when complaints about Mars and Venus came in and match them with path analyses and server transmission indicators of the problem. They were then able to identify the discrepancies and conduct a packet download for examination, which allowed them to determine data queries on the application were the issue.
Using TruView and OptiView XG, RNDC determined the root cause was a coding issue within the software. The RNDC team was able to rewrite the code and subsequent tests revealed that it was no longer an issue. Everything was “happy-go-lucky” according to Bethly.
“The dashboard is incredible. You always hear people say that a picture is worth a thousand words. In our case, a picture is worth a thousand words and 80 hours of man time,” said Bethly. “Without TruView, it would have been a painstaking process of installing testing procedures and monitoring for weeks and weeks.”
The deployment has been a success. Around-the-clock monitoring for application performance end-user experience issues is now possible for the RNDC team. The company can identify root causes in network issues and delays, which have a significant impact on the company’s ability to operate with quality and efficiency.
Since installation, TruView’s advanced monitoring and reporting features have allowed the RNDC network team to become more responsive to tough issues and resolve them with speed. The TruView’s ease of use and adaptability are even allowing the team to assign junior level staff members to respond to network problems, making an impact on the way resources are spent and shifting the makeup of the team.
“A problem that typically would’ve taken two senior staffers two weeks to resolve can now be handled by a junior level person in three to four hours!” said Bethly. “That’s the difference between $14,000 worth of man hours and $500 worth of man hours – a 97 percent reduction in time and expense for our team.”
RNDC has been incredibly pleased with the positive impact TruView has had on network and application monitoring and troubleshooting. The team is looking forward to expanding its existing TruView deployment further across the company in the near future.
“It will change everything,” said Bethly.