Swedish-based PRC Engineering AB is a growing global firm focused in the areas of process design, electricity and instrumentation, automation and validation for the pharmaceuticals, food and biotechnology industries. With its highly-technical work load, global clients and exacting IT standards, the company has entrusted its IT infrastructure management to the exceptionally capable Stockholm-based Biztelligent Systems AB.

While PRC's growth has been stellar, it's not been without a few IT-related growing pains. In just four years, the firm has evolved from a small, single-office location to a mid-sized operation with four branch offices, three subsidiaries and a complex IT landscape. This tremendous growth has challenged PRC's internal IT department to keep up with the changes to ensure the required reliability and maximum uptime of the company's growing network infrastructure.

Network Growth Demands Monitoring Vigilance

To help monitor the firm's growing and diverse systems, Biztelligent Systems has implemented Paessler AG's PRTG Network Monitor to help prevent downtime, thwart network failures and remain vigilant in ensuring the maximum uptime, reliability and availability of critical IT resources.

"As PRC began to grow, the task of monitoring the diverse systems very quickly became an overwhelming, but critical, task in order to provide early warnings and correlate warnings for troubleshooting," said Thomas Widén, IT Manager of Biztelligent. "The PRTG Network Monitor has allowed us to accomplish this and reduce the workload in our IT department."

To ensure optimal performance of IT resources across all of PRC locations, Biztelligent deployed the core PRTG installation on a dedicated server at PRC headquarters in Stockholm. At each branch office, remote probes on dedicated servers act as sentries, compiling data from approximately 400 ping, WMI and custom sensors deployed to monitor various aspects of the infrastructure. The remote probes compile the data and report back to the core PRTG application at corporate headquarters where IT management can view trending reports and watch for any unusual behavior that may signal a problem in the system.

Network and Environmental Monitoring Provides Peace of Mind

PRTG probes monitor data from all mission critical servers, UPS units, printers and plotters at each location, along with uptime on all LANs, switches, firewalls and aggregation lines. Externally, PRTG monitors VPN lines between the branch offices for up-time, roundtrip and data flow to detect excessive bandwidth usage and ensure link integrity.

"Dataflow to and from the Internet and ISP uptime is monitored on all gateways, and daily, weekly and monthly reports allow us to track uptime and SLA agreements for ISPs and any other out-sourced services, such as the company's website and other external web-based services," Widén said. "In the event of a problem, we not only have the evidence to show the third-party vendor to enforce the SLA, but they can actually use the data to help diagnose and repair the issue."

To help keep its customer informed of network status, Biztelligent has configured PRTG to generate network maps to output data onto the PRC Sharepoint intranet, with sites created for both public use and for detailed private support functions.

In addition to its "traditional" IT network monitoring duties, PRTG Network Monitor is also integrated with SNMP-compliant environmental sensors to monitor for ambient temperature, humidity, smoke, flooding and dry-contacts for door passage monitoring in critical facilities. This additional surveillance provides added peace of mind for the physical safety and security at PRC facilities, including a backup fire protection system.

Ease of Use, Time Savings Prove Valuable

Widén says ease of installation and configuration were key factors in Biztelligent's selection of PRTG Network Monitor, as well as its affordable price, easy maintenance and scalability that would allow the system to grow alongside PRC's expansion. However, perhaps the most valuable benefit has come in the form of the tremendous time savings it offers Biztelligent's IT department.

"PRTG helps us to avoid storage capacity problems and detect and repair network bottlenecks and misconfigurations at a very early stage," Widén said. "It is a key component in reducing workload in our department. We've saved about 25% in IT administration time and deal with 30% fewer support requests due to our ability to preempt or react in time to failures in the system."

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