JSI Tip 3835. Windows 2000 Magazine review OpalisRobot 3.6.


Read the Windows 2000 Magazine review of OpalisRobot 3.6.

Additionally, here is a case study written with an OpalisRobot customer:

Tom Schmidt, Network Operations Manager
Next Generation Network

The Challenge

Next Generation Network (NGN) is the largest digital out-of-home media network in the world. It provides timely news and information to more than 52 million consumers each week, airing on 7,000 flat panel video screens in convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies, office buildings and countless other locations nationwide and internationally. Programming is supplied by trusted sources like ABC News and The Associated Press, and advertisers use the digital network's display monitors and LCD panels to reach a wide range of targeted audiences.

NGN took advantage of the latest developments in information technology and capitalized on the convergence of the telecommunications, computer and media industries. The company uses IP technology to deliver programming and advertising content, enabling it to use wireless networks, landline phones, or DSL networks to transmit data. This provides wide flexibility in data delivery, but also requires NGN to maintain extra-tight control over its network.

With so many content delivery channels and critical real-time information to be transmitted, NGN needed to incorporate a system that would notify them of network failures before service is lost, take corrective actions and reliably automate many redundant server tasks.

The Situation

NGN does not outsource any information technology functions. All web site content, email operations and informational databases are internally managed. The company has a large corporate Intranet built on in-house applications. In addition to the content delivery network, the organization's sales network must also be monitored to prevent downtime.

"Our customers rely on us to bring them up-to-date news, weather, stock and other information in a continuous and often real-time manner," said Tom Schmidt, network operations manager at NGN. "It's imperative we not only know of any network problem immediately, but have it corrected before our customers are affected."

The Solution

After evaluating products such as Heroix's RoboMon and ServiceKeeper by Active+ Software, NGN chose OpalisRobot to manage and automate its networks. OpalisRobot is currently installed on three servers that in turn control all of the company's 50-plus production servers.

"OpalisRobot best satisfied our needs when it came to controlling services and monitoring our networks for failures. With the critical nature of our services and servers, the flexibility of OpalisRobot allows our technical staff to be proactive instead of reactive," said Schmidt. "Not to mention since we're working on both Intel and Alpha, OpalisRobot's compatibility with those platforms allows our staff to standardize on one software package."

OpalisRobot monitors NGN's content delivery network for failures by notifying network administrators of problems and starting back-up procedures. It routinely runs network job tasks that validate data, check server uptime and email detailed reports on a regularly scheduled basis. And because NGN uses Windows NT services that need to be running on a 24 X 7 basis, OpalisRobot monitors these services and restarts them, or, in the event of a critical failure, starts the services on another server as necessary.

NGN also plans to use the OpalisRobot Call Add-On to trigger network events in the Windows NT Event Log and OpalisRobot Email Add-on to send emails instructing the server to take certain actions. By utilizing these two features, NGN staff will have the ability to remotely manage their OpalisRobot network processes by using any telephone or e-mail account.

The Benefits

"The most significant benefit of OpalisRobot is realized by our advertising and content partners and customers," said Schmidt. "They are our greatest asset and the instantaneous network failure notification capability has vastly increased our network's uptime."

Schmidt also said OpalisRobot's advanced scheduling features and other automation tools have improved overall company and network performance. The solution eliminated the need for IT staff to spend numerous late nights in the office correcting problems or scheduling redundant network jobs manually. IT staff can now track network tasks and errors using OpalisRobot's detailed reporting mechanisms and continually maintain tight control over the technology infrastructure.

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