The flexibility of op5 Monitor creates new business opportunities for the Network Operations Center (NOC)
GDM Konsult AB in Sundsvall operates a 24-hour-manned Network Operations Center (NOC). There are currently approximately ten customers connected and they have about 1,100 objects to be monitored. Some time ago, the step was taken to standardize their processes in connection with the Swedish-developed monitoring system op5 Monitor from op5 AB.
“In op5 Monitor, we have found a stable, flexible solution that simplifies our work to a very high degree,”, said Gusten Hoffman, ICT/infrastructure consultant at GDM.
Traditionally, monitoring tools have been so big and complex that they have taken many months to install, learn and get started with in production. So many resources were needed to put basic monitoring in place that the value of the tool is lost before you get started.
op5 Monitor provides a collected overview of the entire IT infrastructure, from hardware to software and services. This applies regardless of whether the services are located on local hardware, are outsourced or are run in virtual environments or as cloud services.
“op5 Monitor is based on a widely distributed open source platform, which means that there are enormous amounts of knowledge and plug-ins available. It is also pretty easy to make your own plug-ins, which gives us great flexibility when we are faced with customer-specific requirements”, said Hoffman.
Since the decision to go for op5 was taken, the producthas been expanded in later releases by new, useful features, including load-balancing and distributed solutions.
“One of our customers has a data center in Asia with a number of offices in the region connected to it. We have set up a distributed poller there that gives us the possibility to compile data in Sundsvall on availability and response times between the data center and the connected offices”, said Hoffman enthusiastically.
An example of the flexibility is a customer whose website had performance problems. GDM could, with the help of op5 and a web injector, make measurements over time and then present in detail what went wrong. This means that op5 is used not only as a monitoring platform, but also for troubleshooting.
One of GDM’s customers is SCA Forest Products, who use op5 Monitor to monitor approximately 1,600 objects in its network. Switches, routers and firewalls, but also servers, services and approximately. 350 forest machines (harvesters) communicating via the GSM network.
SCA Forest Products has outsourced the monitoring of about 300 objects to GDM, who now act on alarms according to set SLA’s. Measures are taken according to predetermined criteria and are escalated as needed to duty technicians at SCA via e-mail and SMS alarms.
SCA previously worked with several distributed monitoring tools, which in 2008 were replaced by op5 Monitor. This meant that everything was gathered in one system, with total overview and uniform working methods.
“One important advantage is that op5 Monitor has an interface that everyone can work with. Those who monitor networks, servers and services get the presentation in a way that suits them, while industrial operators have their own screens with their specific views”, said Marcus Holmberg, who is technically responsible for networks and communication at SCA Forest Products.
Adaptation to a changing infrastructure
“The infrastructure changes all the time, which means that we continually have to adapt our monitoring. op5 provides good flexibility in this regard. We appreciate above all the possibility of being able build up reciprocal relations between different objects, which facilitates the isolation of errors enormously”.
“Another advantage is early warnings. For example, you can see whether a fan in a server breaks down, so it can be taken care of before the damage spreads. op5 Monitor also collects operational statistics that give you a good picture of how individual objects have functioned over time. You can zoom in on objects and get graphs drawn during the desired period of time”, Marcus continued.
SCA is now facing a major upgrade of its monitoring system. With the support of GDM, they will raise the general performance of the system and make it redundant using double monitoring servers. Part of the picture is that SCA, with its high demands on availability, has double data rooms.
“When we get a job like this, op5 gives us good support. They are well up on their field and are also sensitive to our wishes”, concluded Gusten Hoffman.
About GDM Konsult AB
GDM, which is an op5 Professional Partner, has been an IT supplier to the forest and paper industry in central Norrland since 1992. They are well-schooled in industrial thinking and understand the importance of maintaining a production-critical IT environment. Today, they work with customers in everything from the forest and process industry, national, municipal and property-based activities to pure IT consultancy companies with GDM as a strategic operational partner. See www.gdm.se