Reduce ‘Noise’ and See the Root Cause

The customer was a large, publicly traded utility company with several regulated subsidiaries offering retail electricity and natural gas services to more than 3.6 million customers along the eastern coast of the United States.

The Challenge

The customer was trying to move forward and achieve their goal after having an unsuccessful monitoring project with a different vendor. The customer's environment included a very large heterogeneous environment that consisted of over 6,000 Linux servers and more than 10,000 Windows servers with various databases and complex n-tier applications.

We organized the customer's IT infrastructure into application silos; with each silo having their own monitoring solutions not centrally integrated, it made it harder to troubleshoot issues and perform root cause analysis.

Infront was engaged to work with both the customer and their Microsoft onsite team to design and architect a central monitoring solution that would monitor the entire enterprise and not just one or two silos.

Five types of mainframe monitoring

Results

Infront recommended a combination of three products to deliver an innovative and effective monitoring solution. This included System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), the Operations Management Suite (OMS) and SquaredUp, a third party solution for custom dashboards.  Infront helped the customer to focus on the key strengths of each product and reduce ‘noise’ by leveraging its extensive experience. One common solution to reduce noise is to disable performance monitoring in the SCOM Management Packs and collect it in OMS allowing for improved near real-time performance monitoring.

Infront recommended that the customer use Synthetic transactions in SCOM to perform client perspective monitoring tests. Infront then built distributed application (DA) models for the customer allowing them to see the health of their distributed and complex applications. This provided significant value as it allowed the organization to see what the root causes of issues were and allowed the right group to respond and remediate. In siloed organizations like this one, a distributed application can show system health organized by hardware, operating systems, applications, and networks. Each of these areas have their own support team. Knowing where to look for the root cause eliminates finger pointing and lost time when issues arise.  Infront then built out Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) on the DA’s and fed data from OMS to the DA. This was a very innovative solution leveraging the best features of each product.

In OMS, Infront leveraged the VMware monitoring, network, wire data and service mapping. Infront used service mapping on both Windows and Linux servers to identify the processes that were moving through the application.

Infront then published the applications mapped to a dashboard solution from SquaredUp.

Solution Components


ON TIME- Management of politics and priorities that kept the project on schedule. Infront’s experienced Project Management team keeps projects on schedule and moving forward.

ON BUDGET- Tracking time, managing external vendors and confirming conflicting schedules kept the project on budget.

ON TARGET- Seamless integration of the mainframe systems, brought out by the exceptional SCOM and OMS skills of our experienced consultants.

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