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Customer Story | Enterprise Networks

Global Mining Company: Mining Cloud, App and Network Data to Keep Its Mines Productive

From its mining sites across Australia, North America and South America, this global mining company relies on a variety of connectivity options to ensure all its global locations can connect to one another over the same network. Due to its network’s complexity, it was critical to visualize and see the precise location of problems to be able to understand whether a performance issue lay with the internal network, the Internet itself or with a supporting cloud provider. Within 60 days from deployment, ThousandEyes visibility delivered sizable benefits to the mining company by identifying outages and performance issues.

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From its mining sites across Australia, North America and South America, this global mining company relies on a variety of connectivity options to ensure all its global locations can connect to one another over the same network. Due to its network’s complexity, it was critical to visualize and see the precise location of problems to be able to understand whether a performance issue lay with the internal network, the Internet itself or with a supporting cloud provider. Within 60 days from deployment, ThousandEyes visibility delivered sizable benefits to the mining company by identifying outages and performance issues.

From its mining sites across Australia, North America and South America, this global mining company relies on a variety of connectivity options to ensure all its global locations can connect to one another over the same network. Due to its network’s complexity, it was critical to visualize and see the precise location of problems to be able to understand whether a performance issue lay with the internal network, the Internet itself or with a supporting cloud provider. Within 60 days from deployment, ThousandEyes visibility delivered sizable benefits to the mining company by identifying outages and performance issues.

Consistent Cloud Delivery Becomes Mission-Critical for Mine Performance

From its mining sites across Australia, North America and South America, this global mining company relies on a variety of connectivity options to ensure all its global locations can connect to one another over the same network. This includes utilizing fiber, landline and even satellite connections for some of its remote mines.

This company is highly reliant on Internet connectivity to process its critical services and workloads. For its main communications, everything runs via voice over IP (VoIP) and teleconferencing. The majority of its other critical applications, which do essential things like reporting for payroll or employee check-ins for the workforce, go through the Internet. If the company’s Internet goes down, people might not receive their paychecks. And, in some extreme cases, if the mines need to shut down due to bad connections or a lack of Internet connectivity, the cost to the business can be millions of dollars in a day. As a result, the company’s IT team is focused on ensuring IT redundancy and making sure primary networks are up and running.

The mining company’s operating environment is also complex. A typical application might go through 20, 30 or 40 routers before key data gets from the source to the intended destination. Furthermore, in 2019, the organization decided to undertake a cloud transformation strategy and to migrate most of its applications—solutions like SAP and Microsoft Dynamics365—to the cloud. As one might expect, connecting all of its global sites to cloud providers adds another layer of complexity and presents a challenge when it comes to monitoring, pinpointing and troubleshooting any issues that arise.

Workspace overlooking a mine

Gaining Cloud and Internet Visibility Reduces Business Downtime

The IT team understood that, due to its network’s complexity, it was critical to visualize and see the precise location of problems—to be able to understand whether a performance issue lay with the internal network, the Internet itself or with a supporting cloud provider. The team needed a way to get insight into their providers, including cloud providers, to see where the problem lies. While the team looked at other tools, as well, having the ability to pinpoint a location and its exact problem within the entire network path was the capability that only ThousandEyes could provide.

The IT team worked with the ThousandEyes team to rapidly deploy 10M units (up to 90 percent of those units are Enterprise Agents, with the remainder being Cloud Agents) and 11 Endpoint Agents across its infrastructure. Within 60 days from deployment, ThousandEyes visibility delivered sizable benefits to the mining company by identifying outages and performance issues.

Communicating Root Causes to Providers

With greater insight into the location of issues, the IT team can give their providers context on underlying issues. This empowers the IT staff to have a more actionable dialogue with the providers that support its key services. ThousandEyes path visualization provides a clear picture of performance issues. This clarity empowers IT staff to communicate with service providers decisively regarding the nature of the problem, accelerating resolution of problems.

Providing this kind of contextual view was not possible with traditional monitoring tools. In a recent example, the team noticed latency issues with a key CDN provider. While other monitoring tools also noticed that latency was fluctuating unreasonably— jumping from 200 milliseconds to 500 back to 100 milliseconds—they could not provide the team with context as to why. With just a few clicks in ThousandEyes, the IT team could show the provider that they were directing traffic to the wrong Akamai centers.

On another occasion, the organization experienced a severe latency problem that greatly affected one of the most important mines in the business. Using ThousandEyes, IT managed to pinpoint the problem and convince the provider to fix it. Before ThousandEyes, the team would have been unable to prove that the problem was on the service provider’s end. The ROI with ThousandEyes, in terms of the man- hours it has saved, has been immense and immediate.


Getting Team Members Up and Running Quickly

The ease-of-use of the ThousandEyes platform has also been a big benefit for the IT team. Because ThousandEyes has a very easy learning curve, the team quickly learned the essentials of the platform and was up and running within two days. While most other network solutions are complicated to learn and take a long time to become usable, ThousandEyes was configured and sourcing actionable data within two days.


Future Plans: Embracing ThousandEyes Synthetics and API Integration

The mining company will be using additional ThousandEyes capabilities as it continues its digital transformation journey. It plans to integrate ThousandEyes with other monitoring tools. The team has plans to combine data from ThousandEyes and Apica into a single dashboard using the ThousandEyes API. The team is also excited about ThousandEyes transaction capabilities and the ability to create a synthetic monitoring view of all its operations and transactions. The IT team plans to combine this capability with its digitalization approach for a complete monitoring solution.

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