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Remote help in management

Wipro Technologies' Network Operations Center in Bangalore has been operating for more than two years now. Wipro Technologies successfully manages its internal IT infrastructure through it. by Abhinav Singh

Wipro Technologies set up its Network Operations Center (NOC) also called Global Network Operations Center at the beginning of 2001 with a workforce of just 10 people. The main aim of setting up the center was to provide round the clock remote support to its offices in India and across the globe.

Today with a 100 people, the NOC manages and monitors the complete IT infrastructure of Wipro Technologies. It has 18 offices in India (including development centers), 8 offices in the US, 7 in Europe, and 1 each in Canada and Japan.

Services from the NOC

The services from NOC are split in different internal groups that operate out from it; for example networking operations group, security operations group, server operations group, back-up operations group and remote support for desktops group.

Besides this there is a helpdesk at the NOC, which accepts calls and allocates them to the different internal groups at the NOC. On an average the internal groups at the NOC receive 10,000 breakdown calls for IT support every month.

The networking operations' group: This group has around 20 personnel who specialize in monitoring and supporting all the networking equipment at Wipro Technologies. It manages routers, Layer 3 switches, video-conferencing equipment, and IP Telephony and communication links.

The group manages and monitors around 285 routers, 300 links including leased lines and VPN connectivity, 30 multiplexers and 40-video conferencing devices.

The security operations' group: The 25 people in this group monitor any malicious or unauthorized activity on the network and generate virus alerts, apply virus patches, and inform the security managers about any security breaches. All users can also report any problems relating to any security breaches to this group.

The servers operations' group: This group comprises 25 people who manage all the 250 servers that Wipro Technologies has deployed. The back-up operations' group has 12 people involved in data back-ups from different servers on to tape drives.

The internal group: This group backs up data and stores it in secure fireproof 'vaults'. Data from mission critical servers is taken on tape drives are transferred to Wipro Technologies' Disaster Recovery (DR) site in Chennai. The NOC also has a group, which provides remote support to desktop and notebook users. Currently more than 16,000 desktop and laptop users are in use at Wipro Technologies.

All the internal groups of the NOC have a three-level team that has different levels of skill-sets to deal with different levels of problems. The Level 1 team is equipped to deal with routine calls and known problems. In case the Level 1 team is unable to solve the problem then it goes to the Level 2 team. If still unsolved the problem passes on to Level 3 team.

Value through the NOC

The ability to provide round-the-clock support coupled with proactive support has been an important value proposition. Sunil P Rangreji, General Manager, Global IT Infrastructure, Wipro Technologies said, "The smooth IT infrastructure management from the NOC has helped save costs. We follow the Information Technology Information Library (ITIL), which is considered to be the best practice in IT service management. It has helped to reduce the response time in error rectification."

Equipment at the NOC

The NOC has a large number of network monitoring equipment. It uses CA's Unicenter for helpdesk operations and CiscoWorks to manage all Cisco routers and switches. A proprietary tool from Alcatel is used to manage multiplexers. A tool from Polycom manages video-conferencing equipment, which is a global management system for managing video conferencing equipment.

The Microsoft Operations Manager manages all the Microsoft Exchange servers and for non-Microsoft servers the NOC uses NetSaint, a tool for monitoring heterogeneous servers. The security operations group also uses tools from different vendors for intrusion detection, virus, and spam control. The NOC also has a 10X6 feet video wall with four quadrants. This wall can be seen by the different group members and is used to flash alerts on a regular basis.

The Physical Security set-up

The NOC has a tight physical security set-up. It uses biometric access control systems, and each employee has to press his/her

palm on the system to gain access to the NOC. There are also electronic proximity cards for the employees entering the hosting area. The hosting area has separate racks, which are under lock and key. For added security there are vigilance video cameras and security guards monitoring the entire NOC.

The Network Security set-up

All the internal IT infrastructure of the NOC has been kept isolated from the rest of the IT infrastructure of Wipro Technologies. There is also a secure authentication system, which combines the Active Directory from Microsoft and TACACS from Cisco, to facilitate controlled access. This keeps a track of the logins and the logouts of users to different systems at the NOC.

There is also a change management system, which keeps track of any changes made to the network architecture of the NOC. If the change is radical it has to be sent for approval to the higher authorities.

Power back up and physical infrastructure

The NOC has a dedicated power backup supplied by two different power grids coming in from the BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) and two units of 120 KVA UPS's that give power backup. There are two diesel generators and a FM-200 based fire-extinguishing system. The center has a dedicated air-conditioning system.

Wipro Technologies' internal Network Operations Center

Services offered

*Network monitoring and support
*Security management and alert services
*Server management services
*Backup operations group
*Remote support for desktops

Abhinav Singh can be reached at

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