NG Bailey Case Study
Established in Yorkshire in 1921 NG Bailey is a family-owned business with a proud heritage and a proven track record of achievement. With 2,500 employees and a £400m turnover the company is committed to offering tailored and innovative solutions and has a proven track record in doing so in a broad range of sectors including rail, manufacturing, power & industrial, healthcare, retail, energy and financial services.
The Mutiny network monitoring solution has been implemented at NG Bailey for the past five years. Installing and setting up the physical appliance was straightforward according to NG Bailey's Technical Analyst, Shieraz Bashir, who had been eager to see how it would measure against alternative network monitoring products he had used before. Five years on, Bashir is able to affirm the substantial functionality, ease-of-use, and considerable benefits the Mutiny system provides.
Network equipment is located at two datacentres serving the 17 offices and approximately 100 sites. Mutiny monitors in the region of 450 managed-nodes for NG Bailey, as well as various services though a number of bespoke applications.
Bashir and the ICT team keep up-to-date with the latest versions of Mutiny as and when they are released. Operators find the release-update reminder at login a helpful feature. Mutiny lists a number of optional views which are highly useful in identifying and managing the company's infrastructure across the numerous sites; the network can be represented as branches, blades or servers and viewed by hierarchy or location.
For any given period Mutiny routinely monitors CPU load, memory and disk usage as well as traffic data which can be viewed in graphical form. In the event of a fault the Mutiny monitoring solution reports from the specific level of the network and displays a clear point of failure to direct the NG Bailey network operators to the source of the error, reducing disruption to services. For example, a red critical mark appearing against a VPN view would be quickly investigated by the ICT team. The team also benefits from an alerting process by email and also by SMS in the event the email service itself is down.
Another function beneficial to the business is the ability to monitor values from within Windows applications. This is done via the Windows PowerShell scheduler provided by Mutiny for Windows servers. The scheduler is available through a simple GUI which allows users to drop in ready-made PowerShell scripts. NG Bailey has generated customised scripts, submitted them to the scheduler and reported on the results through Mutiny.
The ICT team find that having supporting information to hand through the document management facility adds to the convenience of the network performance tool. It is also easy to capacity plan since simply clicking on a server icon clearly shows the free disk space available.
As servers are load-balanced faults can be detected and rectified without end-user awareness. Where an end-user logs a support call, a network problem which may otherwise be attributed to the end-user side is easily identified, saving valuable time for the ICT team.
Mutiny displays the network to the ICT team and management in customised views. Visibility to all parties has proved invaluable since everybody is very quickly put in the picture. Justification for hardware upgrades, or further investment in particular services is easily made to the business since management will have witnessed any obvious device failures or unscheduled re-starts. The graphing facility serves to highlight severity and regularity of such occurrences since data can be analysed over time.
The ICT team is pleased that its suggestions are taken seriously and, where possible, incorporated within the next release. All agree that support for the Mutiny solution is exceptionalâ€”an email or phone call will generate not just a response but a solution, typically within a two-hour window.
Bashir summarised: The Mutiny network monitoring system is a very good product. Once set-up you have everything you need to monitor your estate and the visibility allows decisions about support and commercial considerations to be made far more quickly.â€
Looking ahead, NG Bailey is keen to utilise some of the additional functions the Mutiny system provides. For example, the add-on Reporter appliance would supply further management information and assist with showing device health and history and detailed analysis of up-time. Shieraz and the IT team are looking forward to the imminent next release of Mutiny within which a new IP address management module (IPAM) will be available. This will allow customers to export reports of subnet deployment and reduce errors inherent with IP allocation. The business also intends to make use of compatible third-party products to ensure that the network is not impacted by environmental or other external conditions.
Overall, the Mutiny monitoring solution assists NG Bailey to run its infrastructure at maximum efficiency and provide secure and robust business services.