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Issue of February 2007

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Keeping a tab on IT resources

Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi

The Punjab Government’s Department of IT faced problems relating to managing its computer systems. It was looking for software tools that would it in this endeavour.

Says Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi, Director-cum-Secretary of the Punjab DoIT, “The management of 500 machines at the secretariat was proving difficult. We had to figure out a way to manage things right.” Staff were starting to use office computers to download music and install unnecessary software. “We were basically repairing other people’s faults,” adds Kalsi.

Furthermore, there was no proper mechanism for ensuring that virus definitions were kept up-to-date, resulting in security threats to computers that carried critical information. The amount of spam inundating the department’s servers was also rising.

Avoiding downtime was an imperative. The answer was to deploy a monitoring system. Remarks Amarjeet Singh, Systems Manager-cum-Consultant at the DoIT, “The critical factor was managing 500 computers at the secretariat.” He says that there was no real business case as such, and that infrastructure management was the only thing troubling them.

A state technical committee was set up, and it evaluated a number of vendors and their solutions including HP’s OpenView and IBM’s Tivoli. Says Kalsi, “We wanted a vendor who would be ready to do undertake this project on a pilot basis.” In the end Computer Associates (CA) was chosen as the partner for implementing an information technology monitoring system.

Quick Implementation

Amarjeet Singh states that the DoIT and CA took about two-and-half months to complete the implementation. “It was started on January 10, 2005 and was finished in seven weeks by February 25, 2005.”

According to Amarjeet Singh, the project was a success from the very start because it took less than the projected 10 weeks. He says that there were no phases per se, but that the modules were implemented in a staggered manner.

A Modular Approach

The Punjab DoIT implemented six major modules of CA’s Unicenter. Kalsi explains that Network and Systems Management allows them to have a centralised view of the entire network, enabling them to locate a single system that may be sending out faulty packets or using excessive bandwidth. Further, the Network and Systems Management Network Performance Option was implemented to ensure that all IT assets can be managed centrally.

Another module that has helped the DoIT is the Secure Content Manager. “All we have to do now is make policies, and the software automatically scans both incoming and outgoing traffic,” says Amarjeet Singh. Thanks to Unicenter Remote Control, DoIT is now in a position to operate, scan and even isolate faults remotely, saving time and money in the process.

For the future

The Punjab DoIT has plans on the IT infrastructure front. The present infrastructure management project will play an integral part in how the scaled-up infrastructure will be managed.

“In the near future, we plan to connect the entire state of Punjab on a WAN with not less than 15,000 computers,” discloses Kalsi. He adds that around 85,000 systems from the Education Network of Punjab will also be connected through the WAN.

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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