SLAs with Service Providers Demand Enhanced Monitoring and Reporting
This organization interacts with many other financial institutions resulting in a continual data stream between different systems and applications. As its core competence is banking and financial services, the team partners with an external provider to monitor the operations and health of over 6,000 servers. These deliver approximately 300 service management tasks leveraged by some 6,000 users. The partner maintains this infrastructure and configures the tools, as a Team Lead in the IT organization explains: “We are monitoring over 140 applications, ranging from cloud applications to business and financial applications, as well as our infrastructure toolset. The usage of monitoring to automatically raise tickets to the responsible technical teams is a huge improvement. We no longer need technical people sitting in front of consoles to monitor events in real-time and react to any issues that arise. This was time-consuming and manual work that we wanted to automate.”
The team needs to create regular reports and measure IT performance against agreed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with internal stakeholders, as well as monitor the availability and performance of over 80,000 ports across all applications. Micro Focus IT Operations Management solutions was chosen because of the overarching capabilities for Monitoring and Service Management. Micro Focus Operations Bridge, specializing in automated event and performance monitoring also includes Business Process Monitor (BPM). BPM provides visibility into the user experience with consistent predictable measurements that help the team link business impact with its root cause so that affected SLAs can be reviewed immediately. Micro Focus SiteScope is used for agentless application monitoring. In combination with BPM, SiteScope monitors utilization, response time, and availability across a variety of application platforms.
Automated End-to-End Monitoring and Issue Resolution
Close monitoring makes it easy to measure exactly how long a specific transaction might take so that availability and capacity reporting can take this into account. The organization integrated the monitoring tools with its Micro Focus Service Manager implementation. Service Manager is used as a service desk to speed up issue resolution times. When an issue is highlighted through the monitoring effort, a Service Manager ticket is automatically generated and tracked. This closed-loop automation also helps keep the external partner to account. “If an event triggers an incident, we can now track the ticket and see exactly what is done to resolve the issue. The transparent process, supported by BPM, SiteScope, and Service Manager, helps us in internal audits and give us the materials to have qualified SLA discussions with our partner,” comments the Team Lead.
The enhanced monitoring, and the efficiency in onboarding new use cases for monitoring through BPM, has improved the service provided, as Team Lead explains: “We class a major incident as a complete outage of a business-critical service, or an outage affecting our underlying infrastructure. Since we’ve had the Micro Focus monitoring solutions in place, we have noticed a major improvement in this area. The integration between the tools also allows us to easily schedule planned outages for change implementation or system maintenance. This has improved the overall confidence in our systems. Users know when and why an outage is happening, and so if there really is an issue, they respond immediately, without thinking it’s another ‘false alarm’.”
The organization is in the process of adding Micro Focus Application Performance Management (APM) to the mix. This will help isolate problems in real-time for all monitored applications. Virtual users will be simulated continuously by running scripts at regular intervals from multiple physical locations, alerting the team to availability and performance issues before internal users are impacted. The infrastructure and network changes that will happen alongside this means that the architecture will be more resilient, with built-in redundancy, and the team is expecting a performance improvement as a result.
Valuable Dashboard Capability and Data Analytics Potential
The centralized monitoring dashboard enables the team to pinpoint service issues better and determine the exact general or local impact, so that relevant users are always kept informed. The Team Lead is interested in deploying more advanced data analytics to support the onboarding of new applications into the monitoring infrastructure: “At the moment it takes time and resources to onboard new applications. Advanced analytics, available in the Micro Focus suite of solutions, could help us model a process to streamline this.”
The Operations Bridge Business Value Dashboards (BVD) functionality is much valued by the organization. It can be customized for different audiences and provides excellent visualization for user-friendly presentation of system availability, capacity, and incident management.
The Team Lead concludes: “Although we appreciate the Micro Focus tools, what really makes the difference for us is the partnership we have with Micro Focus. We receive excellent operational support, dedicated service, and proactive problem resolution which we see reflected in an improved user experience within our organization.”