BT eyes network business intelligence

BT Global Services has implemented network and server monitoring software that has reduced support costs while establishing a platform for business intelligence-style reporting.

BT Global Services, the business services division of BT, has some 300 staff across 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region and needed to implement a management solution in order to cut costs and determine bandwidth usage, according to Paul Bressington, the group’s technical services manager.

“We needed to get a pro-active monitoring system which alerted to things like e-mail server performance prior to users calling for help,” Bressington said. “We had no previous experience with network monitoring software apart from MRTG which measures utilisation, but is not sophisticated enough for our needs.”

The services outfit implemented Compuware’s server and network Vantage application after considering a number of other options.

“After evaluating Nortel Optivity and Concord eHealth we chose NetworkVantage because it is cheaper and has better reporting and response time capabilities,” Bressington said. “At this stage we don’t have a dollar figure on how much NetworkVantage has saved us but the time savings are noticeable and we have detected a lot of multimedia traffic on the network.”

BT Global Services encountered a few issues while implementing the Vantage products, which were mostly related to the encrypted nature of the network.

“We had a few challenges such as distributing probes around the network; however, because of our encrypted WAN links we couldn’t use WAN probes,” Bressington said. “We overcame this by using LAN probes.”

With the network monitoring infrastructure in place, BT can now view Visio diagrams of the network including the state of each server.

“The reporting tools are good from a management point of view,” Bressington said. “We will upgrade to version 8.5 which has even better reporting and is moving to a more ‘executive dashboard’ approach. For example, Citrix applications can be grouped and response time reports can be generated for that group.”

Peter Prichard, marketing director, Compuware Asia Pacific, said ServerVantage can do management as well as monitoring.

“For example, NetworkVantage and ServerVantage can monitor an application which uses Oracle and pinpoint if it is performing slowly at the SQL level,” Prichard said. “There are seven Vantage tools altogether so by capturing data it can be mined and used for business intelligence.”

Although Bressington is happy with the performance he has recommendations for future releases.

“Compuware has some way to go in terms of integrating the components but each version is getting there,” he said. “[It is] definitely heading in the right direction with patch management and interface development. Now remote upgrades can be done and the interface is now Web-based.”