The Porsche Holding dealer group has improved the performance of its wide area network (WAN) with the help of Expand Networks, a US-based company that specializes in WAN optimization.

The Salzburg, Austria-based dealer group, owned by the Porsche and Piech families, said increasing demand on its network was reducing speeds and lowering network effectiveness. The Expand Networks solution helps to better connect subsidiaries, corporate customers and dealerships across 16 European countries.

“Fast and reliable communication between our importers, dealerships and headquarters is critical for a streamlined supply chain,” said Robert Singer, project leader for the Expand rollout at Porsche Informatik, a division of the Porsche dealer group. “We found our existing bandwidth provision struggling to cope with the demand for applications and data travelling over the WAN,” he added in a press statement.

The two companies said the 550,000 dlr project would pay for itself in 18 months, delivering three-year cost savings of up to 700,000 dlrs.

Porsche Informatik relies on its WAN for running critical business processes such as vehicle ordering, order tracking, delivery and customer financing.  To improve the speed and capacity of its WAN, Porsche decided to replace its Juniper solution with Expand Networks. It evaluated other systems as well, including offerings from Riverbed, BlueCoat and Cisco WAAS.

Porsche’s Singer said Expand Network offered a rapid return on investment and “the best solution from a technological and cost perspective.”  He said key applications such as Lotus Notes and SAP are running much faster than before.

Expand’s network upgrade includes accelerators, compression software that increases bandwidth and helps to manage peaks in network demand. Byte level caching techniques reduce repetitive traffic flowing through the network.

Explains Christian Honore, Expand Networks vice president of sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa: “The accelerators area designed to increase the efficiency of an enterprise’s network without increasing overall IT costs.”

The Volkswagen group is in the process of acquiring Porsche Holding from the Porsche and Piech families for 3.3 billion euros. The dealer group, one of Europe's largest, sold 421,000 cars in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2010. The privately held company had sales of 12.2 billion euros during the fiscal year. It reported profitability "higher than the market average," but didn't provide any details.