The Åhléns Group Implemented Detailed Monitoring of all IT Systems in Less Than a Week!
Åhléns Group is a leading retailer in Sweden. Their IT system extends from the central server clusters out to all local department stores and shops. This includes a large number of different systems and applications from the financial system to printers and databases. The environment is a rich flora of products and solutions from a wide range of suppliers who must be monitored, such as Microsoft, Novell and VMware. With op5 Monitor they recieved a complete monitoring of their IT systems in less than a week.
To monitor a diverse IT environment
The size of the Åhléns Group and the spread out nature of their business made supervision and monitoring of their complex network system to a major challenge for the IT department. The IT management needed better overview of the IT environment to be able to increase availability and uptime for the key IT systems. It was of particular importance for Åhléns to be able to comply with SLA requirements (Service Level Agreement) especially for e-mail systems and a number of different databases.
“We developed some manual processes for monitoring of certain parts of IT systems, but there was no centralized and automated monitoring tool that could carry out regular checks of the system’s status and availability. We have on several occasions looked at various monitoring tools, but when we made calculations on the investment cost needed it was mostly too high”, said Martin Thell, CIO, Åhléns Group.
Implementing monitoring for 600 systems in less than a week
In order to address the challenge that existed regarding the monitoring of IT systems the Åhléns Group began to take a closer look at the solutions available on the market. The requirements were many: The solution needed to be cost effective and flexible enough to monitor a large, complex environment. Quickly implemented without massive consulting hours was also a demand. In addition, there was a need for the possibility to develop custom made checks for testing the status and availability of different systems. The choice fell on op5 Monitor from op5, a global leader in the Open Source Management.
“We chose op5 Monitor because it is a flexible, scalable and a cost-effective tool that was easy to implement. We were initially doubtful that they really could deploy a monitoring system in less than a week, especially in the case of such a large and differentiated IT environment, with more than 600 systems to monitor”, continued Martin Thell.
What did the Åhléns Group buy?
- op5 Monitor appliance – hardware and software in a package
- Three days of installation and two days of training
op5s technicians helped the Åhléns Group’s IT department to implement and deploy op5 Monitor. After the installation op5 Monitor supervised more then 600 systems, or so-called hosts that included everything from printers, switches, routers to UNIX / Linux, Novell and Windows systems. op5 also helped setting up several different types of checks against these systems in order to test its status and availability. op5s technicians also trained the Åhléns Group to manage and administer their op5 Monitor system, that is easily accessible via its web interface, as well as how Åhléns can use the possibility to develop their own checks.
Scalability, increased availability and reduced down time
Since the implementation the IT department has worked to integrate and automate the monitoring processes, which earlier was done manually. The Åhléns Group can now easily scale their monitoring, whether for more servers, applications at headquarters or in the case of new workstations at the department stores and shops.
“We now have a network monitoring solution in place with an easy-to-use Web interface that can be used by several different people to monitor the entire IT environment. In this way, we expect to increase the availability and reduce down time in our systems”, concluded Martin Thell, CIO for the Åhléns Group.
The company that welcomes open-source software
The Åhléns Group have a mixed server environment and are in favor of open source software. They began to make use of Linux systems on servers almost 10 years ago. Today open source solutions run on several systems and there will be more.
About the Åhléns Group
Åhléns Group is a leading retailer in Sweden with a focus on modern consumers. The activity is concentrated in four supply areas – Fashion, Beauty, Home and Media. Åhléns currently operates 79 department stores in Sweden and 23 home stores in Norway. Cosmetic Group Kicks has 115 stores in Sweden and 12 in Finland and Home Furniture Group Lagerhaus has 23 stores. The start-up store concept Myself & Friends consists of 7 stores. Total turnover of the Åhléns Group is around 5.7 billion SEK, excluding VAT.