The IT infrastructure at L&T increased
in complexity over the years, as the group expanded.
To address the criticality of its operations, L&T Infotech
deployed a process and a tool to manage its vast and
complex infrastructure. by Brian Pereira
The multifarious business activities
of Larsen & Toubro India and the nature of its operations,
make for a sophisticated IT setup. L&T is one of
the pioneers in Information Systems in the country,
with the installation of an IBM 1401 system way back
in 1971. The then Computer Center became an independent
division—the Information Systems Division (ISD) in 1977,
with the responsibility for computerizing the various
groups of L&T. The ISD took its first step towards
globalization in 1987 with the execution of a 30 person
year project in Europe. Several more projects followed
in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific and in 1997 L&T
ISD was spun off as a 100 percent subsidiary of L&T,
becoming L&T Infotech Ltd. This was done to provide
greater customer focus, operational flexibility and
quicker response targeting the global market.
Larsen & Toubro Limited is India's largest
engineering and construction conglomerate with
additional interests in IT, cement and electrical
L&T Infotech Limited, a 100 percent subsidiary
of Larsen & Toubro Limited, offers comprehensive,
end-to-end software solutions and services. Its
services encompass a broad technology spectrum,
catering to leading international companies across
To address the issue of increasing complexity
of the Group's IT infrastructure, and the criticality
of its operations, L&T Infotech started pursuing
a process and a tool to manage its vast and complex
L&T Infotech decided to set up a network operations
center (NOC) in 2001. The NOC would be used not
just to manage L&T Infotech's infrastructure,
but also that of its parentthe L&T Group.
L&T Infotech also decided to deploy CA Unicenter
to manage the entire network infrastructure.
Over the 12 months that have elapsed since its
inception, the NOC has already made up for the
cost due to significantly reduced downtimes on
desktops, servers and networks.
With 2,200 professionals,
L&T Infotech is today a SEI CMM Level 5 software
house and a complete IT solutions provider. It has seven
development centers in India, and a global presence
through its various offices in the US, Europe and Japan.
With its strong
domain focus, L&T Infotech caters to the following
verticals: Utilities, Telecom, Manufacturing, (discrete
and process) and Financial services (banking, insurance,
securities). It has expertise in the following niche
- Legacy system maintenance
on IBM platforms
- Porting and re-engineering
- Internet related services
- Application development
- Euro-currency solutions
- ERP consulting (SAP R/2,
- GIS services
- Telecommunication services
- Embedded systems
The IT infrastructure
at L&T increased in complexity over the years, as
the group expanded. To address the criticality of its
operations, L&T Infotech started pursuing a process
and a tool to manage its vast and complex infrastructure.
Given the nature of its software contracts, L&T
Infotech also felt the need to provide its global customer
base with a strong assurance—it could not allow its
infrastructure to be a barrier to providing world-class
The main criteria
for the selection of a solution: It had to effectively
monitor and control downtime and utilization so as to
pro-actively manage the infrastructure.
In this context,
L&T Infotech decided to set up a network operations
center (NOC) in 2001. The NOC would be used not just
to manage L&T Infotech's infrastructure, but also
that of its parent—the L&T Group.
The NOC, which
became operational in April 2002, is situated at Powai,
Mumbai. It spans an area of 2,000 square feet.
The resources managed
by the NOC include:
- Hardware - midrange and
low-end servers. Desktops, storage and backup devices;
- Operating Systems - Various
flavors of Unix, Windows NT/2000.
- Applications - SAP, messaging
applications and their respective databases.
- WANs and LANs using multi-protocols.
- L&T's own networks comprising
VSATs, a CUG comprising domestic and international
leased lines and L&T Netcom (the L&T group's
infrastructure has been brought under a single umbrella
called L&T GlobalNet, and the NOC is the nerve center
for L&T GlobalNet.
Within the NOC,
the support team/service desk is split in three levels.
Level 1 accepts calls (referred to as an incident or
service request), through either a Web interface or
via phone calls. This level handles routine incidents.
If higher skilled
personnel are required to resolve the incident, it is
transferred to Level 2 (OS administrators and network
engineers) or Level 3 (specialists).
be forced or automatic when the time allotted to resolve
the incident is exceeded. Each user is provided a portal
view giving current status of all elements relevant
to the service provided to him/her. Thus each SBU (Strategic
Business Unit) or division is provided a view of servers,
network elements and reports which impact its business.
has developed its own reporting tool to monitor and
measure the resolution of incidents online. The tool
provides the reports that become the basis for a monthly
performance review meeting. During the meeting all SLA's
are reviewed and corrective actions taken where necessary.
Proof of continuous improvement, all-important to a
CMM 5 company is sought, and problems and weak process
The NOC fulfills
the basic needs of establishing a managed service by:
- Ensuring the delivery of
customer focused IT services using a process-oriented
- Offering services that meet
cost and performance targets such as ensuring high
availability and optimum capacity utilization.
Over the 12 months
that have elapsed since its inception, the NOC has already
made up for the cost due to significantly reduced downtimes
on desktops, servers and networks. Downtime is crucial
to an organization that is dependant for virtually all
its business processes on IT. L&T hosts 14 instances
of SAP for its various businesses including cement,
where downtime results in the stoppage of dispatch of
cement laden trucks from its plants, (one truck every
three minutes)—something unthinkable.
According to L&T
Infotech, the implementation of the NOC is unique and
significant for the following reasons:
- Required the participation
of in-house teams to pilot the roll out of CA Unicenter
at six locations in India.
- Was one of the first implementations
of CA Unicenter version 3.0 in India.
- The functional design was
undertaken in-house by the company's IT infrastructure
- Involved the implementation
of IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a standard specifically
developed for IT service management. ITIL has now
evolved into the BS 15000 standard.
- Roadmap includes support
of applications such as SAP, messaging and related
- Roadmap includes the establishment
of a Knowledge Repository to ensure efficient troubleshooting
by less experienced personnel.
selected the Computer Associates Unicenter network management
solution to manage the entire infrastructure in a phased
It took five months
to deploy CA Unicenter. L&T Infotech deployed the
following modules of this network management solution:
- Unicenter Service Desk
- Desktop Management Suite
- Unicenter Network and Systems
- Unicenter Service Level
- Application Management -
Unicenter Lotus Notes management
Currently SAP is
managed using its native Solutions Manager. Integration
with Unicenter will be deferred to a later opportunity.
Says J.C. Colaco,
General Manager-IT Services, "The service desk implementation,
along with the ITIL-based (Information Technology Infrastructure
Library) incident management processes have enabled
us to deliver a significantly improved service level
with a high degree of consistency and repeatability."
According to Colaco,
a valuable fallout has been that almost 50 percent of
incidents are handled by level 1, the relatively less
experienced personnel. This frees the experienced personnel
for more challenging work.
(Service Level Management Option) provides a vivid snapshot
of multiple parameters of each of our communication
links including availability, utilization, etc. From
these we are able to plan the capacity and ensure service
quality," says Colaco.
option enables the tracking of hardware and software
assets, the latter being compared to license availability
to ensure compliance. Data from the Asset database is
extracted along with user data to improve the efficiency
of incident reporting.
L&T was one
of the first to implement Unicenter v3.0.
Content with the
implementation results, L&T Infotech is now constantly
fine tuning its network management tool to extract maximum
benefits. In fact, L&T Infotech created its own
reporting portal tool which helps to create and publish
customized reports on the Web with a great deal of flexibility.
THE NEXT STEPS
Having gained implementation
experience on this network management solution, L&T
Infotech plans to develop and build on the experience
through training, and thereafter take up external projects
in the area of enterprise management. It also plans
to bundle infrastructure management along with its offshore
software maintenance capability.
Brian Pereira can be
reached at email@example.com
Click on image for
Technology Infrastructure Library) was developed
by United Kingdom's Office of Government Commerce
(OCG) in the 1980's with the objective of improving
management of IT services (www.itil.co.uk/).
It contains a best
practice framework for quality management of IT
services and infrastructure, with contributions
from expert IT practitioners around the world.
ITIL broadly divides
IT service processes into two categories. The
first category called Service Support processes
includes, Service Desk function, Incident Management,
Problem Management, Change Management, Configuration
Management and Release Management.
The second category,
known as Service Delivery Processes, includes
Service Level Management, Availability Management,
Financial Management for IT Services, Capacity
Management and IT Service Continuity Management.
These best practices of ITIL are now known as
the BS 15000 standard for IT Service Management.