Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL) that provides telecom services under the brand MTS in India was facing challenges in serving the growing needs of its customers. As MTS’ network is currently used by employees, dealers, vendors and partners, the company was looking to boost its application performance and subsequently a faster response time.
With over 10 million wireless subscribers operating across 9 telecom circles, the telco covers more than 60 percent of the data user footprint in India. SSTL is a joint venture between Sistema Joint Stock Financial Corporation of Russia, the Russian Federation and the Shyam Group of India, with over 1,500 employees currently working in the organization.
What’s the problem
According to SSTL IT Infrastructure Planning team, applications are hosted at the company’s data center using a standard hierarchical zone-based architecture, with virtual router forwarding segmented and configured into areas such as DMZ, production, and management. Applications are accessed through both an internal and public interface and load balancing is done via multi-availability zones.
Web applications include IIS and Apache over Linux, and physical machines deployed include HP Superdome servers, Oracle Exadata/Big Data and VMware hypervisor to optimize hardware resources.
There are approximately 1,500 concurrent sessions for CRM hosted in the data center alone, in additional to around eight other services including value-added service (VAS), NESS Application Portal (NAP) process and web recharge. Key challenges faced include slow page response time and the vulnerability of applications to external attacks.
“We also needed the applications’ availability and performance to be up to mark and to meet security compliance standards,” the team mentioned.
The selection process
MTS had considered a number of ADC vendors for evaluation and finally settled on A10 Networks. “A10 had no additional feature and performance licenses which was one of the key points in our commercial evaluation. During the proof-of-concept, we were also able to see much improved performance enhancements by enabling web acceleration features like web caching, compression and connection reuse,” the team explained.
The multi-tenancy and security function is also one of the interesting features MTS will use in the future to enable the company to scale without purchasing additional appliances. Zero added licensing fees is also an advantage as MTS can use the feature as the business requires. MTS has seen a rapid year-on-year growth and it wanted to choose the solution which can match its growth rate for the next three to five years without requiring future investment.
MTS selected A10 Networks Thunder ADC line of Application Delivery Controllers with advanced SSL hardware acceleration for its data centers in Noida and Chennai. Four Thunder ADC appliances were deployed to load balance multi-application servers and utilize features including L4-L7 load balancing, web acceleration via web caching, compression, connection reuse, A10 Networks aFleX Deep Packet Inspection Scripting Technology, access lists, session capturing and Web Application Firewall (WAF)
The big gains
“By enabling web acceleration and L7 feature deployment, the IT department of MTS India said that its website response was incredibly enhanced. Application performance has increased significantly with a faster response time. “The Web Application Firewall was effective and eliminated vulnerabilities to our applications,” it said.
Another benefit of using the Thunder ADC was the ability to leverage features such as WAF and aFleX TCL scripting. This enabled MTS to consolidate multiple load balancers into fewer pairs. Applications previously hosted behind Radware, Cisco ACE and other appliances were migrated to the A10 Thunder ADC appliances.
“We are confident that the current system will serve the growing needs of our enterprise for the next 3 years without any incremental investment.” informed Rajeev Batra, CIO, MTS India
The IT team at MTS added, “The migration from other ADCs to A10 was easy and configuration took very little time. Application Delivery Partitions (ADPs) is a unique feature that we are using now. ADPs have great flexibility and are used, for example, for resource allocation, scale and role based access control.”
Based on projected traffic growth, MTS said that the company intends to increase content on A10 Thunder ADC appliances and have resources shared accordingly. “All the applications must move to IPv6 and we need to implement Server Load Balancing-Protocol Translation (SLB-PT). The telco also has plans to provide more data services, and more VAS services to be hosted behind its ADC, it concluded.