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Issue of October 2004 
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Network Management

A lesson in network management

Wipro Technologies' Global Command Center wanted to grow its business and provide world-class remote IT infrastructure services to its clients. Hence, it deployed a network management solution to enhance services offered to its Fortune 500 clients. by Abhinav Singh

Wipro Technologies (WT) set up a Global Command Center (GCC) in September 2002 to offer 24X7X365 IT infrastructure management services to its clients. The aim of the business was to deliver quality IT services to match the best of standards available in the world.

In order to keep ahead of competition and provide better managed services, the company had to devise means to remotely manage large IT infrastructure, which includes websites, enterprise applications, and IT services across heterogeneous platforms and diverse enterprises.

Hence, WT chose to deploy an enterprise remote management solution that would help the company deliver its services effectively and enable smooth remote management of complex IT infrastructure.

Aimed for high standards

Five years ago, WT had identified remote management services as a strategic key business offering for its clients across the world. But it knew that competition in the managed service provider market was tough. An organization needs to possess high level of sophistication to deal with a heterogeneous environment.

The company realized that it would have to deal with customers with diverse and unique IT infrastructure. Moreover, the tasks to monitor, measure, and deliver as per the Service Level Agreement (SLA) requirements would need special skill-sets in a robust Network Operating Center (NOC). It also wanted to offer robust management capabilities of website transactions to its clients.

WT set up the GCC and it was responsible for management of IT services across heterogeneous platforms and diverse enterprises. Besides, it was expected to assure 99 percent availability of IT infrastructure across clients' infrastructure across different geographical locations and business types.

It was time now to deploy an effective remote management tool.

Desired features

The GCC carries out anti-virus management and backup restore services for over 16,000 users. 350 heterogeneous servers run Novell, NT, AIX, and Dec Alpha operating systems.

More than 3,235 networking elements and 40 databases (Oracle, MS SQL) are used for clients spread across 16 countries. The GCC also remotely monitors and manages around 10,000 mailboxes.

To support such a large base of users, the company looked for the following benefits and features in the network management application solution:

  • Remote management capabilities
  • Proactive approach
  • Interoperability
  • Infrastructure trouble shooting
  • Web server management

The tool is chosen

After a stringent interoperability evaluation exercise at Wipro Technologies' 'Centre of Excellence'-an internal lab that tests products before they are deployed in different departments of the company-HP OpenView was chosen as the network management tool.

WT found that its framework-based architecture tool had strong systems and network management capabilities.

Prasanna G K, Vice President-Technology Infrastructure Services, Wipro Technologies, explains, “The tool performs well in network and systems management. The process of discovery, information management, and element level management are some useful features of its architecture.”

The company also found that a network management tool could be integrated with other tools used in the GCC like Remedy, which is a help desk tool. Additional modules like Network Node Manager and OV Reporter were also deployed at the GCC.

Proactive management

The network management solution gave GCC the capability to perform proactive management. The GCC can proactively track calls and prioritize them on the basis of urgency. The priority can be 'high' for application server cluster-related calls, and 'low' for others.

The network management solution allows tight process-layer integration based on the Information Technology Information Library (ITIL) standards. ITIL is considered the best practice in IT service management standards.

An incident management engine in GCC ensures that every incident is tracked very closely by raising appropriate alerts. This, in turn, results in higher availability of network for all the e-business applications for the client, and added customer satisfaction.

A live example

Prasanna explained the benefits of a network management solution with a live example. He cited the instance of a UK-based customer's cluster server that went down on a Sunday morning.

The cluster server was based at its corporate headquarters and the top management team depended on the information that ran on that cluster server. The proactive management capabilities of the network management tool at GCC were able to sound an immediate alert and detect the failure.

An onsite engineer was rushed to the customer's site in UK. The engineer found that the cluster server had crashed because the UPS was down. The engineers rectified the fault and the server was restored within a couple of hours.

Simple solutions

Post deployment of the network management solution, GCC's proactive problem detection has improved by 95 percent. Wipro's GCC has been successful in managing a multi-site environment and has acted as a 'single console' for consolidating, correlating and escalating faults to the operations staff.

It has successfully captured all network systems, database and application events in a multi-tiered hierarchy. The management tool also has standby intra-site and inter-state capabilities to eliminate single points of failure. Its Internet services modules extend SNMP-based monitoring of network devices to stimulation—based monitoring of both—the network devices and co-located servers.

Forward with network management

Post implementation of the solution, WT plans to use the network management tool for diverse activities like Web monitoring, management of URL response time, and interfacing with specific products like MS Exchange, Lotus Notes, and SAP using Smart Plug-Ins (SPIs) available with the solution.

Abhinav Singh can be reached at abhinav@expresscomputeronline.com

<In a nutshell>
The company

Software services major Wipro Technologies wanted to offer shared IT infrastructure services over a network to multiple customers.

The need

The company set up a Global Command Center (GCC) to provide remote IT infrastructure services to its global clients. In order to keep up to its standards and to be one of the best amongst the other managed service providers in the market, it wanted a tool that could help it effectively deliver its services.

The solution

Wipro Technologies chose to deploy HP OpenView and modules like Network Node Manager and OV Reporter.

The benefits

The solution has provided the GCC benefits like end-to-end IT infrastructure management services, server monitoring, remote administration, trend-based proactive infrastructure management, infrastructure trouble shooting, URL monitoring, and Web server management.

 
     
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