Keeping a tab on IT resources
Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi
The Punjab Governments 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 peoples 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 departments 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 HPs OpenView and IBMs 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.
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
Punjab DoIT implemented six major modules of CAs 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.