Computerworld

Collection agent outsources network management

Queensland-based mercantile agent Collection House, in a bid to correct its existing network management system, has outsourced its network monitoring and application management.

The agency, which listed on the Stock Exchange in October 2000, had grown to be the largest consumer agency in Australasia, but felt its existing network management system was not comprehensive or flexible enough to manage multiple devices.

With 15 geographical sites, 65 servers and 750 staff and users, Collection House was struggling with the installation and maintenance of its management applications, wich were costing a large amount of money and time.

The organization wanted to be able to monitor a variety of applications, map the performance of customer transactions to back-end infrastructure and provide universal and real-time data access to performance data.

Darren Semmler, Collection House manager networks and communications, said the agency had two options - an in-house solution or an externally managed solution.

"We put out a tender and IBM, NetIQ and Concord were among those considered, as well as Dimension Data for managed services; all up there were about seven or eight vendors," Semmler said.

"In the end we went for a bit of a mixture."

In February last year Collection House decided to outsource the monitoring of its network and application management to Priority One which, using BMC's Patrol Express, monitors the performance and availability of servers, applications and storage and network devices.

"The actual implementation didn't take long, because the main components resided at Priority One, not Collection House," Semmler said.

"There was a fine-tuning process of about three to four months however, once implementation was in place, but that's usually the case with every project."

The implementation has enabled Collection House to create a wider disaster recovery and business continuity plan.

The agency also has a proactive, around-the-clock fault alerting (SMS and e-mail) capability, which helps it to quickly restore databases.

A single portal gives it adequate capacity planning enabling it to stay on top of issues such as monitoring user trends and server memory.

"We chose the [solution] based on cost and its ability from a service point of view as well," Semmler said.

"We have reduced outages and now have a tool that we can use for capacity planning."