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Northern Devon Healthcare

United Kingdom

Northern Devon Healthcare

The dependency intelligence is a nice feature that we hope to not have to use, but it makes the identification of the root cause of an outage very easy. This is especially useful in our environment, where the network and server teams are not collocated, so the identification of a firewall fault for instance could otherwise take many minutes to filter to the server team.

Sam Maurice, IT Server Technician, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Key Benefits:

  • managing remote sites
  • proactively monitor server states
  • monitoring dependencies

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Challenge

Before we implemented NetCruch the monitoring of the servers was fairly add-hoc. This included having the servers email some aspects from their logs and manual checking of problem services. It also meant that a lot of the system failures had to be reported through the service desk which impacted the moral of the team and also the reputation of the department.

Before we purchased NetCrunch we did look around at some of the other packages that were on the market. However several partners that we worked with recommended NetCrunch and it also seemed to offer the most relevant features that we wanted at a reasonable price.

Solution

The challenge that NetCrunch helps us most address is the management of our remote sites. On each of our large sites we have remote servers which take the file and print traffic locally. As these servers can be several hours from base it is paramount that we carefully monitor and maintain these servers, so we use NetCrunch to monitor these servers to help give us prior warning of any issues.

Working in a busy healthcare environment we have to monitor and maintain over 300 servers with the majority being high uptime servers for our user base of over 4000 users. We use NetCrunch to actively monitor server states, which allows us to respond to server issues often before the user base has had time to contact our service desk. We also use the warning states to help with preventative maintenance tasks, such as disk space and CPU utilisation. This means that the team can concentrate on responding to other BAU requirements such as system improvements and upgrades and the inventible projects that an organisation of our size is constantly having to delivering.

The features that we have found to be most useful in our environment are the Service monitoring on the server states, the Disk utilization function and the dependency intelligence. We monitor the pertinent services for the individual servers, this way we can tell if a system is functionally correctly at a much more granular scale, than, the “it is up” and therefore working assumption. Our environment is mostly virtualised now and due to the way that the organisation has grown in recent years we have had to be very careful with the apportioning of the central disk storage. Using the disk monitoring functionality we are able to apportion the smallest possible disk space to the individual servers and increase it as it starts to run out. This has allowed us to sweat the SAN environment for at least another yeah and allowed for capital planning to replace the aged environment. The dependency intelligence is a nice feature that we hope to not have to use but it makes the identification of the root cause of an outage very easy to identify. This is especially useful in our environment where the network and server teams are not collocated, so the identification of a firewall fault for instance could take many minutes to filter to the server team.

About

The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has its headquarters in Barnstaple. The Trust manages acute services from North Devon District Hospital and community services across northern Devon. In 2014/15, they treated 96,636 inpatients, saw 431,689 outpatients and delivered 1,472 babies.