“Anyone looking for one tool to monitor any size network would be money ahead by using NetCrunch with all the monitoring tools and reporting capabilities that it offers.”
Director of Vocational Services
COF Training Services, Inc., Kansas, USA
Wayne Baylor; Director of Vocational Services at COF TS, is responsible for maintaining a multi-vendor network infrastructure that incorporates 3 Novell 6.0 servers, 3 Windows 2003 servers, 2 Cisco routers, 5 Cisco switches and 80 workstations. Given the profile of COF TS, the key function of the company's network infrastructure is to empower internal employees by enabling critical administrative processes such as file sharing, email, Web site, Intranet, and accounting.
When supervised by only one person, this relatively modest-sized environment can become a real challenge for an administrator tasked with ensuring a seamless and efficient operation. This was the case with Wayne Baylor, who was extremely busy juggling various system-specific tools in order to constantly check the network hardware, analyze faults and do repairs. In addition, he was inconvenienced by having to visit each router or switch, and manually determine its current status.
In this situation, new initiatives and process improvements were inevitable. Baylor decided to scour the software market for an affordable off-the-shelf solution that would deploy quickly and provide a real-time picture of the whole network from a single screen and across all the platforms and vendor technologies. His other requirements for a network management solution included problem alerts and graphical analysis of the network performance history. After comparing several software offerings, he determined that NetCrunch was the perfect solution for his needs.
According to Baylor, NetCrunch took 30 minutes to get up and running and was "very user friendly". The program made the critical difference straightaway as the COF TS administrator could now see the entire network and current status of all hardware from a single location. “Prior to NetCrunch, I was using the Novell Remote Manager for the Novell servers and the Windows tools that came with the 2003 Server,” Baylor says. “With these programs, I had to keep switching back and forth to get a good idea how the network was running. On my routers and switches, I had to manually go into each to check the status. Now I can do all monitoring from a single source”.
Baylor was impressed with NetCrunch's ability to scan the entire network for all devices and automatically build a map of the IP addresses and a map of the physical topology. Because NetCrunch discovers the network using SNMP and ICMP protocols, and queries a vast array of data sources such as Active Directory, Windows Workgroups, and eDirectory, the picture of the network that it created was precise and realistic.
NetCrunch's other forte in the COF TS network has been the ability to report service, application and system degradations. Using the flexible alerting mechanism, Baylor can configure detailed thresholds on status and performance indicators, which means that the breach of any threshold value triggers a user-configured response action. Being able to detect and address crisis situations earlier than before, he improved the overall quality of network services as experienced by end-users.
Finally, with NetCrunch, the history of the hardware performance can be plotted on charts. This allows Baylor to analyze asset utilization, pinpoint potential trouble spots and make informed as well as timely investment decisions.
Evidently, the deployment of AdRem NetCrunch brought about tangible productivity gains for COF Training Services. “I was looking to implement a solution that could do all administrative checks on my network. With NetCrunch in place, I can easily do that from a central location as well as from a remote computer, which saves me about an hour per day compared to how I used to have to monitor the network,” Baylor admits. “Anyone looking for one tool to monitor any size network would be money ahead by using NetCrunch with all the monitoring tools and reporting capabilities that it offers” he concludes.
COF Training Services (COF TS) was founded in 1968 with the goal of providing residential, vocational, employment and family services to individuals with developmental disabilities who are resident in the area of Coffey, Osage and Franklin counties, Kansas. Apart from service provision, the company is responsible for Quality Assurance, contract/regulation compliance and distributing local, state, and federal funding that serves individuals with mental retardation and/or developmental disabilities.