Financial assets at Volksbank Rüsselsheim are secure with Paessler PRTG
About Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG
At Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG, 158 employees manage investments and develop financial & retirements plans for their customers. Without a reliable IT infrastructure, the company cannot provide these services. In particular, the bank relies heavily upon its servers, which provide the applications and services used for everyday business operations. All Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG employees must have constant access to data kept in large-scale storage systems. If data lines become clogged due to an error, then suddenly the bank’s customer advisors no longer have access to important information.
Network monitoring: When the penny drops
When it comes to money, who doesn’t want sound and reliable advice? Customers from the Rhine-Main region of Germany have been entrusting their money with Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG for more than 150 years. The financial institution relies on numerous management tools and IT components for nearly all of its services. If vital systems suddenly malfunction, the first step is to identify the cause. Often, it can take a long time before the error is found. A constant, comprehensive overview is required to prevent failures in the IT infrastructure. Deciding it was time for professional monitoring software, Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG opted for PRTG Network Monitor from Paessler AG.
“Above all, we wanted a monitoring tool to help us with job monitoring, disruptions that occurred outside business hours, and data line issues. With PRTG, we were able to gain control of each of these areas. The software also automates many of our troubleshooting tasks, such as the rebooting of important services.”
Sebastian Wiegand, IT Organization Team Leader at Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG
Top priority: Customer satisfaction
IT infrastructure disruptions not only affect employees, but also customers. In order to keep its services running around the clock, the team of network administrators at Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG needed a comprehensive overview of the company network at all times (day and night) to immediately identify errors and prevent downtime.
The IT managers were hoping to gear up against potential problems such as transmission delays and server failures. In particular, they were advised by the IT consultants of banking & network it solutions GmbH (bn-its), who specialize in hardware and software solutions for credit unions and small & medium-sized companies. The bn-its experts recommended using a monitoring tool that would allow the bank to keep a constant eye on its network and servers. With such a tool, anomalies could be detected in the IT environment before they became more serious.
A simple, all-in-one package
The specialists at bn-its wanted to offer the credit union an all-in-one monitoring solution that required very little administration. In addition, the software was to complement and monitor “Private Inhouse Cloud,” a virtual, in-house system consolidating all of Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG’s business processes. This system stores documents and provides services that allow the bank to advise its customers.
“Private Inhouse Cloud” is modeled after a VMware data center and consists of a SAN system and three ESXi servers. The statuses of the virtual machines (VMs) are consolidated on the vCenter server, while most of the VMs themselves are Windows-based servers. WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) interfaces are used to determine the parameters of the Windows-based systems to be monitored. In addition, switches are used throughout the entire infrastructure, at the bank’s headquarters as well as in its branch offices.
Every piece of hardware and software in Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG’s IT infrastructure needed comprehensive monitoring. The bank conducted a thorough search (including tests) for a professional monitoring solution, after which time it decided to go with PRTG from Paessler. PRTG is a straightforward monitoring tool that is extremely easy to use. PRTG runs directly on-site, allowing the bank to manage and administer the tool autonomously. In fact, this was one of the main reasons why PRTG won out over competing tools such as Nagios and Icinga.
The IT consultants at bn-its subsequently set up 975 sensors to monitor the various parameters of all the network devices and connections. They used a default configuration and structure developed especially for their customers, thereby allowing for a large number of the sensors to be automatically created using special device templates. Each sensor in Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG’s IT infrastructure has predefined threshold values.
If these thresholds are exceeded, the respective sensor immediately sounds the alarm. The Rüsselsheimer admin (who receives the alert by email, SMS, etc.) uses the PRTG web interface to check the alert message. Thanks to this platform, the admin can stay connected to the monitoring environment at all times. The platform’s real-time data allows admins to assess the extent of a malfunction or error and initiate appropriate countermeasures.
Example: In the past, admins were often required to reboot a server or service manually in the event of a crash. Thanks to the PRTG notification system, these reboots can now be performed automatically by way of a special network sensor.
“PRTG also comes with handy graphs that allow us to visualize historic data via the web interface. By comparing past and present values or current trends, our IT team can initiate optimizations in individual areas of the network.”
Sebastian Wiegand, IT Organization Team Leader at Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG
Remote visibility for admins
Monitoring the branch offices used to be extremely challenging for the admins at Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG. With PRTG, however, they can now monitor the switches in the branches from the main office. The respective values are consolidated by the monitoring software, which allows the admins to monitor the offices remotely. In particular, the IT team pays close attention to the switch ports used by the routers: an sFlow sensor is used on these ports to monitor the utilization of the WAN connection and determine the makeup of the traffic. Example: if a data line in a branch office is at full capacity, the IT team can use PRTG to determine what is causing this load.
24/7 performance checks
PRTG uses SNMP sensors to monitor these switches as well as all routers, servers, printers, computers, etc. from one central location. Ping sensors are used to keep an eye on the status of applications and services running on IT components. In addition, PRTG monitors the performance of Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG’s security elements (e.g., the Kaspersky server services) around the clock.
PRTG also uses HTTP sensors to check the performance of the corporate website. Among other things, these sensors monitor web page load times, display page visits, and inform admins when bandwidth is low. This helps the IT team prevent bottlenecks on the Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG website.
PRTG summarizes all the monitoring data collected by its sensors in easy-to-read graphs and reports. Current (and past) data on the individual components and systems in the Volksbank IT network can be conveniently viewed on the dashboards in the software’s web interface. This data includes the CPU and RAM usage of all servers and computers. PRTG reports allow admins to identify trends in network and bandwidth utilization. If necessary, the IT team can compare the current and past data for specific situations. If the current values are worse, then an optimization is in order.
“Above all, we wanted a monitoring tool to help us with job monitoring, disruptions that occurred outside business hours, and data line issues. With PRTG, we were able to gain control of each of these areas,” explains Sebastian Wiegand, IT Organization Team Leader at Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG.
“PRTG monitors the Veeam backups in our “Private Inhouse Cloud” around the clock. The software also automates many of our troubleshooting tasks, such as the rebooting of important services. This saves us an enormous amount of time and hassle. What’s more, the deluge of emails that our IT team used to receive can now be bundled in PRTG. As a result, our admins have more time for other things. We have therefore noticed an immediate increase in productivity. PRTG also comes with handy graphs that allow us to visualize historic data via the web interface. By comparing past and present values or current trends, our IT team can initiate optimizations in individual areas of the network.”
Conclusion: Network errors detected – and eliminated – quickly
The network monitoring software PRTG provides the IT team at Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG with a comprehensive overview of all the servers, systems, applications, services, etc. in the corporate network. Special sensors monitor the performance of all network components, as well as the “Private Inhouse Cloud.” The data backups in this cloud are also monitored around the clock. In the event of errors, malfunctions, or disruptions, the admins are alerted by the software immediately and can take action at once. PRTG summarizes all monitoring data in reports that make it possible to identify trends with regard to individual devices. Thanks to PRTG, Rüsselsheimer Volksbank eG’s IT infrastructure is always up and running, keeping the bank secure for the future and allowing it to continue to offer the best possible service to its customers.
banking & network it solutions GmbH (bn-its) offers hardware and software solutions to credit unions and small & medium-sized companies in southern Germany. bn-its solutions help optimize the costs of IT landscapes. When combined with standard IT tools, the software solutions developed by bn-its can help keep long-term IT costs to a minimum. bn-its helps optimize IT landscapes, thereby increasing the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of services and applications. The company develops custom-fit and specially tailored solutions for each of its corporate customers.
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