Located on the Red Sea’s Port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabian Glass Company, Ltd (SAGCO) has become one of the world’s prominent suppliers of high-quality glass containers for soft drink, food, dairy and perfumery industries. Since its founding more than three decades ago, the company’s products have shipped around the world.
Every day, with 24x7 regularity, a highly automated manufacturing plant produces about 1000 tons of glass bottles. The IT team must deliver unbroken access to the network by the sophisticated and powerful industrial machinery connected to it, while additionally supporting the warehouses and business offices spread over SAGCO’s 16 network distributions. The company’s substantial output puts a lot of pressure on the IT staff. Applications must be consistently available to plant employees. That’s why Saudi Arabian Glass Company monitors its network with WhatsUp Gold.
Ajay Bhatt is responsible for keeping the network available to machines and people alike. Despite the plant’s size, heavy automation and a dedication to high efficiency allows a smaller network infrastructure than one might assume from walking around the company campus, with about 25 Cisco switches and routers in place. While the factory is wired with fiber cable to accommodate its high bandwidth requirements, the warehouses are less data-intensive, allowing the company to lower costs by employing radio frequency devices in those buildings.
WhatsUp Gold was installed specifically to monitor the health of the plant’s routers and switches during a period of transition that included virtualization upgrades and an IT operations consolidation. “Before we used WhatsUp Gold, if there was a switch or router down, it was very difficult to find the root cause,” Bhatt explains “So In our first year with the software, we concentrated on monitoring just the network devices,” he adds.
“With WhatsUp Gold, we can see not just what is wrong, but also where it is wrong. That is the primary need we had to address. System tracking is very, very easy with WhatsUp Gold. It makes it simple to sort out an issue and reduce downtime.”
Where once the plant suffered device performance problems that were difficult to react to, pin down a cause and fix, Bhatt uses WhatsUp Gold to anticipate them before they affect productivity. He described a recent situation where he took advantage of WhatsUp Gold’s ability to collect granular details about each device through layers 2 and 3 discovery and use them to troubleshoot issues.
“We found from WhatsUp Gold that some of the devices had problems that caused them to go down frequently. We were able to inventory the problems and take organized action to change out those devices and also to replace one or two network cables that were not performing properly. Our network performance improved substantially.”
Now that WhatsUp Gold has proven its value in monitoring the newly consolidated network infrastructure, Bhatt plans to expand the company’s use of the software to help fine tune the network for efficient performance. “Right now we use only about five percent of WhatsUp Gold’s full capability, but we will be working to take greater advantage of all the monitoring functions built into it,” he says.
“For example, we have expanded to use Network Traffic Analysis, and we plan to use it to fine-tune and optimize bandwidth use in the near future. We are also exploring the use of other integrated WhatsUp Gold add-ons including Application Performance Monitor, which can be used to improve application availability.”