Mast & support system specialist Europoles opts for network monitoring software Paessler PRTG
About FUCHS Europoles: High-tech for heights
FUCHS Europoles helps companies of all sizes implement safe and high-quality measures for their construction and infrastructure-related projects. The market leader in Europe, Europoles offers standard and custom solutions for masts, columns, towers, and support systems made of steel, concrete, and glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). Europoles creates “high-tech for heights.” The company’s success is rooted in innovations both large and small, such as its lowering systems, DCC coating, and the Swinemünde crossing over the Oder River.
Europoles employs more than 1,200 people at its headquarters in Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany, and worldwide. With production sites in Algeria, Germany, Oman, Poland, and Switzerland, branches in France, Spain, and Turkey, and 16 sales partnerships around the world, Europoles is available everywhere the market is in need of solutions.
“Expanding horizons – reaching new heights” is the motto of FUCHS Europoles, a global leader in the production of masts, columns, towers, and support systems. This motto also serves as a symbol for the company’s IT at its German headquarters in Neumarkt, as well as at all its locations worldwide. In order to ensure its network infrastructure could withstand increasing loads and demands in the future, the decision was made to implement a new digital pillar: the network monitoring tool PRTG Network Monitor.
Europoles had already been using network monitoring software for a number of years to safeguard the “stability” of its IT systems. However, its previously used tools, “HP Systems Insight Manager” (HP SIM) and “OpenNMS” no longer met the network’s ever-increasing needs for bandwidth and availability monitoring. The company required more in-depth and detailed monitoring of its hardware, virtual, and line-based systems. It wanted to monitor VMware, network traffic, load distributions, physical network cards, and data throughput to other locations, as well as hardware components such as routers, switches, and the telephone system. In addition, the print services, file services, and mail servers were to be monitored within the virtualized systems.
“At the end of the day, we were sold on the cost-effective licensing model offered by Paessler AG. PRTG is an all-in-one tool. It provides us with countless sensor types for all kinds of devices and components, without any hidden costs whatsoever. What’s more, the software allows for a cluster installation that helps us maximize the uptime of our systems.”
Michael Becker, IT Administrator at Europoles
netmon24 helped select and set up the monitoring tool
Europoles considered a variety of different tools, with versatility, resource-saving monitoring, price-performance ratio, and agent-independent installation its top selection criteria. During the selection process, Europoles was assisted by the company netmon24. Over the course of several web presentations, this IT service provider introduced the main network monitoring solutions. PRTG from Paessler AG quickly stood out from the crowd, especially in the areas of price-performance, sensor types, and agent-independent installation. Europoles decided to take PRTG for a spin.
The trial was a success, leading the company to implement the tool along with extensive product training from netmon24.
With the cluster installation of PRTG, Paessler enables Europoles to optimize the availability of both the monitoring tool itself, as well as (thanks to comprehensive monitoring data) its systems. “The monitoring configuration, as well as software updates, are automatically distributed by the core server, which makes the tool extremely easy to manage and use. This configuration allows the individual installations in the cluster to simultaneously monitor the entire system,” explains Rainer Breidling, Technical Sales Representative at netmon24. “In the Europoles network, two cluster installations are run on virtual servers. 13 PRTG probes were installed on additional virtual servers. This setup helps prevent failures and is ideal for monitoring the distributed locations.”
In particular, PRTG monitors all the routers, switches, ESX servers, Exchange, SQL, file services, print services, and hardware (hosts), as well as the telephone system. In total, around 3,000 sensors (primarily SNMP, WMI, Exchange, ESX, and SQL sensors) were set up to continually monitor the various components of the network. Furthermore, the IT team installed PRTG “remote probes” to monitor the external networks at the other locations. These probes stay in constant contact with the main PRTG installation, and collect all the relevant data at the various sites – even if the connection to the core server is interrupted. The monitoring data is then sent in encrypted form to the core server for evaluation. As a result, all external locations are connected to the main installation in Neumarkt. Europoles uses both the PRTG app for desktop and the web interface of PRTG. These interfaces simplify network management for the admins, who can keep an eye on the status of all devices in the network at the same time. Both interfaces display real-time and long-term data in graphs, as well as the current status of all configured sensors.
Europoles can also use PRTG to perform quality assurance on its own services, as the software checks the availability of hardware resources, bandwidth, web pages, memory, disk space, and more. In addition, PRTG automatically notifies the IT team if failures occur or a predefined threshold value is exceeded, allowing the workers to take appropriate measures immediately. Based on long-term analyses generated by PRTG, Europoles can also perform targeted optimizations – such as on the internet connections of individual sites. The software constantly monitors available bandwidth in the Europoles network on the lines of the respective location, as well as those extending outside. The IT managers at Europoles can also determine the availability and bandwidth utilization of leased lines between different locations, and monitor all network connections, routers, switches, etc. at each site.
As a result, signs of congestion can be detected before a connection breaks down. Customizable PRTG dashboards provide in-house administrators with a quick overview and keep them constantly informed on the status of the infrastructure, including all lines. What’s more, they obtain in-depth information on usage trends that allows them to identify impending bottlenecks and connection errors in the future, as well as to define threshold values that enable them to take advantage of an early warning system which immediately alerts them if these limits are exceeded.
Summary: More than just a “must-have”
Since installing PRTG, Europoles has benefited from the detailed recording of bottlenecks, server malfunctions, and load peaks, as well as the generation of long-term analyses and trend reports. With this information, the IT managers can quickly allocate all the necessary resources as needed. Europoles uses the PRTG app for desktop and the web interface of PRTG, both of which present all monitoring data in an easy-to-read manner for admins. By promptly detecting impending errors, countermeasures can be taken quickly. Another (unexpected) benefit of PRTG was that it enabled the Europoles IT team to optimize the internet connections at the individual locations. The state-of-the-art display options on the company’s 55-inch monitors were not required in advance, and simply made the use of the tool that much better.
“We were pleasantly surprised to discover that PRTG comes with more than just a selection of “must-have” features,” explains Michael Becker. “Overall, we’re extremely satisfied with the Paessler product, as well as the support we received from netmon24 during our selection and implementation processes. Above all, our IT team was impressed by the ease of use of PRTG, in addition to its extensive monitoring possibilities. We also like how the software alerts us before something goes wrong. So far, the technical support we’ve received from Paessler and netmon24 has been out of this world. Thanks to this positive experience, we’ve decided to implement the software at our production site in Oman at the end of November. We’re also planning on using the software at our site in Poland.”
netmon24, a nationwide service provider based in Limburg an der Lahn in Hesse, Germany, specializes in network management, analysis, and monitoring. As an independent partner, netmon24 offers unbiased advice on the selection, evaluation, and implementation of monitoring and analysis tools.
netmon24 shares its know-how with users during individual training courses and on-site seminars. In-house workshops are also held to provide technical support for the installation and setup of software, as well as for the optimization of existing installations.