What's Up Gold, Unified. Flexible. AffordableFor those of you who didn’t make it to attend Cisco Live this week in Orlando, FL, here’s what we’ve been up to on the show floor and elsewhere.

At Cisco Live, folks from the network management division of Ipswitch have been busy sharing guidance for best practices to monitor, isolate and solve network and application performance issues before they start impacting users and slow access to critical business applications.

We’re there in full force to show folks how to:

  • Monitor infrastructure and applications in one unified view
  • Customize dashboards, reports, profiles and action policies
  • Isolate complex service problems before users notice

We created a video to share the building blocks for unified, flexible and affordable network monitoring and management solutions. Check it out on YouTube: http://bit.ly/14pR7A1

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Building Blocks for Unified, Flexible and Affordable Network Monitoring and Management

We are just WILD about LEGOs this week. At the booth, Brian Korte from Brickworkz is using LEGO® bricks to creating a mosaic based upon a famous science fiction character – whose identity will reveal itself over the course of the week. (Hint: Star Wars big bad). Ipswitch theater presentation attendees will be entered into a drawing to take home the completed art piece. In addition, attendees who speak with an Ipswitch expert or watch a product demonstration are receiving a customized LEGO minifig.

This morning Matt Cline, Senior Systems Administrator from Optim Healthcare presented “Unify, Simplify, and Save Time”. Cline described how his organization improved patient loyalty and quality of care through the implementation of a network management and application performance monitoring solution. The implementation provided a single view into critical data that has proven to proactively fix problems and eliminate downtime. You can check out his guest blog for more details.

For those of you who did make it to Cisco Live this week, have fun ya’ll.

Note: LEGO and LEGOLAND are registered trademarks of the LEGO Group.

Ipswitch Booth 1301
Ipswitch Booth 1301
What's Up Gold Minifigures
Highly Collectable WhatsUp Gold
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By Matt Cline, Senior Systems Administrator at Optim Healthcare, a network of hospitals and orthopedic medical practices based in Savannah, Georgia.

Stethoscope on a Computer Keyboard

The ultimate goal for our business – IT included – is to deliver the best care and experience for every patient and community we serve.  And this all depends on two key IT resources:

  1. The electronic health record (EHR) system that our 1,400 internal users access to track and update patient records. When this system is unavailable, the staff must revert back to paper records and update the EHR system later. If that happens, patient information could get lost in transition.
  2. Our website and patient portals are also a critical component of our success – much like any company’s websites. Current and prospective patients expect 24/7 access to our portals, whether they want to pay a bill or research our services, and it’s our job to ensure that need is met.

The quicker we can diagnose an application performance monitoring problem – before it impacts our staff or patients – the better.

I use WhatsUp Gold Application Performance Monitor from Ipswitch. In this post I will cover some highlights from the first phase of its implementation. At that time I created and then began using profiles for:

We first tested the Ipswitch IIS profile on a production server and immediately discovered the unknown: 3-4 major deficiencies were the root causes of slowdowns in our database. We found a similar problem in our Microsoft SQL server.  If we hadn’t run the test, we wouldn’t have found these deficiencies issues until a significant slowdown or, even worse, downtime.

The unified dashboard is the best interface I’ve used for these types of tasks. I get a single view at a highly granular level and am getting the data I need to proactively fix problems and eliminate downtime.

I’d be glad to hear about your experiences managing application performance. Feel free to post a comment.

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“Ipswitch FT’s secure MOVEit solution gives us full visibility and management of file transfers, and enables us to avoid fines of up to £250,000 for non-compliance…”Wayne Watson, information security manager for NHBC 

The National House-Building Council (NHBC) , the UK’s leading home warranty and insurance provider has greatly expanded its use of MOVEit to ensure the organization adheres to  file transfer best practices, while meeting compliance with internal standards and external regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Securing Builders’ Drawings, Architectural Designs, Legal Files and More
Secure, managed file transfer (MFT) is a high-priority for NHBC. In the past six months alone, the company has doubled the number of employees successfully using MOVEit, with over 200 active users now securing file transfers. Its business straddles the heavily regulated insurance and building sectors, and daily activities demand a constant flow of secure, confidential, copyright and personal documents and communications. These include builders’ drawings, architectural designs, legal files and more, sent between internal departments and on to external stakeholders such as solicitors, lawyers, builders, architects and homeowners.

No More File Sharing Via USB drives, Email Attachments, or Unsecured Apps
By using Ipswitch File Transfer’s MOVEit system as a compliance solution, NHBC now meets strict ISO 27000 internal security standards and exceeds compliance and regulation requirements such as those set by the FCA and the Data Protection Act (DPA). Previously, NHBC employees had to encrypt and share files via SD cards, USB drives, CD-Rs, email attachments and an assortment of unsecured web-based file sharing apps. But a tremendous shift in attitudes in recent years has led to more organizations like NHBC integrating MFT platforms, making unsecured email attachments and portable media things of the past.

Wayne Watson, information security manager for NHBC, said: “Ipswitch FT’s secure MOVEit solution gives us full visibility and management of file transfers, and enables us to avoid fines of up to £250,000 for non-compliance, as well as maintaining our company’s 75-year trusted reputation.”

Complex networks make it hard to detect issues before service degrades; isolate root causes before veering down the wrong path; or manage a flood of alerts – while not missing the most important ones. These layers of complexity can easily increase mean time to recovery (MTTR) which is the average time that a device will take to recover from any failure, and it’s expensive.

2011-08-29-difficulties

In fact, last year the Aberdeen Group issued a report* that calculated the cost of downtime to average $181,770 an hour.

To fix this problem you may turn to a Big IT Vendor to seek an application performance monitoring (APM) product that promises to resolve issues more quickly in order to avoid downtime and performance issues. In reality the “solution” can become almost as big as the problem – as evaluations take too long, costs run high, features get overloaded, and integration becomes too complex.

Before you get yourself into this situation you might want to consider three success factors that can help you find the best APM product to reduce MTTR:

1. Control
The biggest obstacle to reducing MTTR is finding and isolating the root cause before any compromising event occurs. In order to do this you should be able to define complete dependencies for each application in order to find the quickest path to the root cause.

2. Visibility
One unified dashboard view of conditions across the entire application ecosystem can give you the required visibility into threats against overall health, and the ability to drill straight down to root cause. In order to avoid taking too many steps (and missteps) you should be able to use a single monitor.

3. Agility
Being able to easily find a root cause is a big deal. Once you find it, you have to be able to fix it immediately. In this case, the fastest route to resolution means you should be able to easily set up automated policies and actions.

Be optimistic. You can reduce MTTR by comprehensively monitoring of all of your critical applications, and their dependencies to better detect problems, isolate root causes and restore services.

You just don’t have to break the bank and wait too long for it to happen.

 

*”Datacenter Downtime: How Much Does It Really Cost?” by D. Csaplar, Aberdeen Group, March 2012