Canadian FOREX Bank puts PRTG Network Monitor
at heart of new NOC
About Jameson Bank
Jameson Bank occupies a unique niche in the Canadian financial services industry. Specializing in foreign exchange and payment services, the Toronto-based bank serves the needs of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that, due to their multinational commercial activities, are exposed to unexpected changes in currency exchange rates. Jameson mitigates this exposure through a wide range of risk management and hedging programs, along with its lineup of worldwide exchange services.
Canadian FOREX Bank puts PRTG Network Monitor at heart of new NOC, reduces IT administrative time by 25%
Better monitoring needed
Because of the important role Jameson Bank plays for its clients, transferring funds to over 200 countries and in 120 currencies, the bank's IT networks are at the very core of its operations. It recently initiated a major migration project to upgrade its legacy systems and move its data center; as part of the project, a powerful new Network Operations Center (NOC) was planned in order to monitor the bank's extensive internal/external infrastructures, and to troubleshoot issues quickly when they occurred.
According to Jay Fischbach, Vice President of Operations and Technology for Jameson, the specifications for the monitoring software to be installed at the heart of the new NOC far exceeded the power of its existing monitoring product. "We were using Foglight to monitor individual applications, but it was not able to give us a broad view of our system," he stated. "We needed a much more extensive and capable solution to monitor our servers, networks, VMware ESX platforms and such."
Daniel Sadavoy, IT Systems Analyst, embarked on a search for this mission-critical component. He sought a more robust product that was also lightweight, easy to use, and offered an elegant user interface.
"The whole experience was great. PRTG was easy to deploy, easy to maintain and most importantly, lovely to work with. PRTG is my favorite tool."
Daniel Sadavoy, IT Systems Analyst, Jameson Bank
"As soon as we came across Paessler's PRTG Network Monitor, we were impressed by both its features and its GUI," recalled Sadavoy. "We downloaded the free trial version, ran it through our testing regimen-and fell in love with it."
A trusted solution
Used daily by over 300,000 system administrators worldwide, Paessler's PRTG Network Monitor is a complete monitoring solution for LANs, WANs, servers, websites, applications, URLs and much more. The trusted product, capable of monitoring virtually any kind of device, application or service, helps IT professionals identify potential outages before they occur as well as remove system bottlenecks and maximize use of system resources.
The Jameson team chose to place PRTG at the center of its new NOC, installing it on a Windows 2008, 64-bit virtual machine supported by 2 CPUs and 4GB of memory. Because Jameson Bank's system is extensive, spanning routers, firewalls, servers, VMware ESXs and various applications, PRTG Network Monitor would be called upon to do a lot of heavy lifting. "We monitor our LAN, all internal switches, all of our edge routers and firewalls, and any other vendor firewall or router in the middle that we can ping," said Fischbach. "Our Sonicwall and FortiNet data lines are covered as well."
"PRTG's range of sensor types are a real advantage," noted Sadavoy. "We have quite a collection; VMware, OS sensors, log file monitors, file/folder monitors, PING sensors, terminal server, SharePoint, MS SQL-the list goes on, including email round-trip sensors for an Exchange server. We also monitor a couple of websites."
To track the health of its Web servers in the DMZ, Jameson deployed five remote probes along with a host of sensors that allowed it to split the monitoring load. The installation team also built several custom components. "We created a Citrix XenApp server sensor, a couple of multi-channel sensors to compare results and raise alerts when necessary, and a hardware sensor that sends XML to PRTG to monitor temperature and humidity in our server room," reported Sadavoy. "All this was fed into our custom-built NOC dashboard," he said, adding that thanks to PRTG Network Monitor's flexibility, it was possible to integrate Foglight into the PRTG GUI.
"The whole experience was great," he continued. "PRTG was easy to deploy, easy to maintain and most importantly, lovely to work with. PRTG is my favorite tool."
Paessler defines one sensor as any particular, individual monitoring entity. One sensor monitors one network service, one URL, one network connection, one port of a switch, one NetFlow export stream, one CPU load, one disk drive, etc.
Remote Probe / Core Server
PRTG Network Monitor consists of two parts: the core server and the remote probes. The probes monitor the network and send the data to the core server. The core server analyzes the data and publishes it. Visit the Paessler Knowledge Base for more information on probe usage.
Stronger, more resilient IT
With the NOC now operational, Fischbach and Sadavoy agree that PRTG Network Monitor, along with Paessler's professional support, has added a new level of strength and resilience to Jameson Bank's IT infrastructure. "Paessler's support team is completely professional, quick and straightforward to deal with. I like the fact that they are so honest. If something doesn't work right out of the box, they give you straight information-no politics involved-and usually they come up with a workaround," said Sadavoy.
Fischbach notes that PRTG Network Monitor uncovers outages quickly-even in vendor equipment. "We usually uncover issues before everyone else, and report it to them before they get it on their end. PRTG helps us solve bottlenecks and optimize our whole IT system."
"We use PRTG not only for monitoring purposes, but also for training our IT staff," said Sadavoy. "A simple look at the four monitors in our NOC uncovers the root cause of the problem. Everyone is impressed with it."
25% IT administrative time reduction
According to Fischbach, PRTG Network Monitor reduced the bank's IT administrative time in 2013 by 25%, as a direct result of the company's ability to actively monitor and manage its applications and vendors through its NOC. He has already recommended PRTG to colleagues at another company-and they purchased the product as well.
"We're excited by the new versions, features, icons and sensors Paessler continues to develop for PRTG," he states. "It's a great product and we can't wait to see where it goes next."