Curtin Uni saves with real-time reports

To cope with a network that has grown 50 per cent in less than three years, Western Australia's Curtin University of Technology has replaced its former ad hoc monitoring system with a new performance analysis and real-time reporting product.

One of the first organisations in the world to implement a 10 Gigabit Ethernet network 18 months ago, Curtin needed to have visibility of its infrastructure and network performance, Andrew MacDonald, information and network services manager, said.

He said the reporting solution, which is being used to manage 31,000 users, has had a 12-month payback.

While the university considered offerings from IBM and Compuware, MacDonald selected Concord Communications' eHealth Suite to view analysis of usage patterns and potential service disruptions.

He said the project has since expanded to include real-time problem detection and self-healing corrective action for managing Microsoft Exchange.

"We have significantly reduced support calls, outages, and have improved overall reliability. The combination of upgrading infrastructure, and tools to enable monitoring and management has worked well for us, even with the same number of staff and a lot more work," he said.

The previous monitoring system was ad hoc, MacDonald said, and gathering information related to problems had taken a lot of time.

"Where it used to take us a day or so to gather information for a certain issue, now it's just a right click away. It takes five minutes at the most, even for a complex issue," MacDonald said.

Having a reliable network has enabled the university to deliver far more services than it could previously.

"As an example, users can rely on connectivity to be there everyday. And we've been able to build a variety of services on top, including wireless, security and storage services for the user base. We can concentrate on value-add services, rather than just keeping things running," MacDonald said.

He said the university invested "hundreds of thousands" of dollars into the eHealth Suite and the AdvantEdge and SystemEdge products.

Other projects in the pipeline for the university include the expansion of its monitoring and reporting capabilities to cover its Solaris environment, Oracle applications, and the SunOne suite of products.

MacDonald said the SunOne project started last month and is on track for completion in November.

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