Paessler PRTG hears even the slightest discords in the network of the Vienna Music Association
About the Vienna Music Association
“The sound of an orchestra is not made unique by the orchestra itself, but by the conductor,” once declared Herbert von Karajan, an Austrian conductor and the last concert director of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna (“Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna”), or in short, the Vienna Music Association (“Vienna Musikverein”). The Society of Friends of Music in Vienna was founded way back in the 19th century, more precisely in the year 1812. In 1831, the members of the society moved into the concert hall on the present Musikvereinsplatz in Vienna.
This square is also home to the Great Music Association Hall (“Großer Musikvereinsaal”), which is equipped with more than 2,000 seats as well as a standing area, and which is considered one of the best-sounding music halls in the world. Over the years, six other halls have been added, including the Glass, Metal, Stone, and Wood Rooms in 2004. Music lovers can attend concerts in these halls every day. The Vienna Music Association holds internationally renowned events such as the annual Summer Night’s Concert and the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Society of Friends of Music in Vienna (“Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien”) promotes the “elevation of all branches of music.” Among other things, it has achieved this goal by way of its concerts (which have been held for centuries), through the creation of an archive for historical musical documents, and via the founding of the first public music school in Vienna. Today, this school is Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts. Every year, around 800 concerts are held on the premises of the Vienna Music Association, including events for children and young people.
In addition to music, the association also diligently manages the technical aspects of its operations, including its in-house IT, website, and online store where tickets are sold. The IT infrastructure is operated internally and has been maintained by the IT system experts k2netsolutions (who are also based in Vienna) since the beginning of 2013. k2netsolutions was hired to consolidate the existing servers by way of virtualization, and to ensure the fail-safe operation of the association’s subscription management and ticket sales systems. This was achieved by implementing a Hyper-V failover cluster with Windows Server 2012, and around 15 virtual servers.
One of the company’s most important considerations was availability, especially when it came to Microsoft Exchange and the SQL database used to store the concert dates (and tickets) and online ticket sales. The complex network topology mainly consists of Cisco equipment.
“As system experts, we really appreciate the reliability of PRTG. Every day, the software saves us a considerable amount of time and hassle. The previous system sent us daily status reports by email, which not only clogged up our inbox but took ages to decipher. PRTG only sends us an email if there’s a problem. With PRTG, we can create our own reports with data that allows us to keep track of the infrastructure, and if necessary, plan optimization measures during our regular discussions with the staff of the music association.”
Georg Karner, CEO of k2netsolutions
800+ monitoring sensors detect dissonances in IT
As a partner of Paessler AG, k2netsolutions is known for its reliability. At the Vienna Music Association, the company installed PRTG Network Monitor, a monitoring tool that provides for the real-time monitoring of entire infrastructures, including local area networks (LANs), remote connections (WANs), servers, websites, devices, URLs, and more. Unlike System Center Essentials, the tool offered by the competitor that only works with Microsoft products, PRTG is an all-inclusive monitoring solution.
The music association and the IT system specialists at k2netsolutions use PRTG to provide for maximum availability along the “classic IT pyramid.” With more than 800 monitoring points (so-called “sensors”), the software monitors both the hardware (temperatures/air conditioning, hard disks, fans, etc.) and operating systems (among other things, for available storage space and errors), as well as applications such as the SQL cluster and Exchange Server. k2netsolutions receives a comprehensive overview of all monitoring data in real time, in the form of a “dashboard” on a large screen. Mostly, SNMP and WMI sensors are used.
If a threshold value is almost reached (or exceeded), PRTG immediately sends an alert to the respective worker(s). This was once the case with a backup job, during which time an enormous load almost brought the database to a standstill. Thanks to PRTG, the workers were able to promptly identify the problem and take action before the start of ticket sales at eight in the morning. In this case, the alert was based on the average duration of previous backup jobs, which is determined by PRTG. PRTG immediately notifies the person(s) in charge if a backup starts to take longer than usual. The IT experts can also keep a constant eye on the network while on the go by using the PRTG smartphone app for Android and iOS.
PRTG provides for smooth online ticket sales
PRTG is also crucial for ensuring the association’s online ticket sales system is always up and running. All payment and purchasing processes must go off without a hitch, especially during peak times (e.g., in the lead-up to the New Year’s Concert). Thankfully, PRTG comes with custom sensors that make it possible to create individual monitoring points according to specific criteria. The Vienna Music Association uses “Jet Ticket,” a ticket sales system developed by an Austrian manufacturer. k2netsolutions used PRTG custom sensors to set up a workflow (sensor chain) that checks and tracks the unfolding of the various processes. These workflow sensors provide data on the “system health status” of each of the system components involved in a transaction.
PRTG even keeps an eye on IT security. Fraudsters sometimes try to trick the system and steal tickets for the New Year's event and other popular concerts. PRTG works with the installed security software to keep an eye on all activity, and immediately sounds the alarm if something unusual (e.g., an attempt to penetrate the firewall) occurs.
“For us, PRTG is the ideal monitoring tool,” explains Peter Hamm, IT Director at the Vienna Music Association. “It perfectly complements the overall system expertise provided by k2netsolutions. We were especially worried about our online ticket sales system, which thanks to PRTG always runs like a charm. In particular, now we are much better prepared for peak times. And even if a bottleneck arises, the monitoring software shows us exactly where the problem lies so we can take action immediately.”
The IT infrastructure of the Vienna Music Association resembles that of a medium-sized company. As a result, each of the components in the infrastructure must always work properly. Similarly, processes must always run smoothly, in particular those that handle the heavy traffic to the association’s online ticket sales system. The association must not only secure payments and the proper selection of tickets, but also defend against cyberattacks including the theft of credit card data and the fraudulent purchasing of concert tickets. With PRTG, the Vienna Music Association and its partner k2netsolutions keep a constant eye on the network, even while on the go by using the PRTG smartphone application. The software comes with both preconfigured and custom sensors, allowing for the components of all manufacturers to be seamlessly integrated into the monitoring environment.
Based in Vienna, k2netsolutions consulting GmbH is an IT service provider that specializes in server, network, and virtualization solutions, IP telephony & network security, and the outsourcing of IT. Founded in 2004, the company offers one-stop IT outsourcing to small and medium-sized businesses. k2netsolutions technicians boast advanced certifications and help implement individual projects, all the while providing regular maintenance. Support is provided on site or via the telephone helpdesk.