The UNITE Group plc (UNITE) is the UK's leading developer and manager of student accommodation. It provides homes to 41,000 students in over 130 properties in 23 of the UK's strongest university cities. UNITE works in partnership with over 30 higher education providers, as well as renting rooms directly to students. The foundation for UNITE's success is providing high quality, well-located, safe accommodation that is close to university campuses, transport and local amenities.
UNITE came to Paessler in search of a single source of infrastructure monitoring
IT is essential to the smooth running of the organisation. It is used for general office based functions such as the Internet, emails and file servers, and is also crucial to a number of external functions including booking systems and maintenance planning at UNITE's various properties.
UNITE came to Paessler in search of a single source of infrastructure monitoring, one that could also provide real-time reporting to executives on sales data. It was looking to monitor its WAN network, which is connected to all of its properties, along with its booking systems, emails and file servers. It also needed the ability to constantly monitor its call centre infrastructure, which supports sales and accounts, in order to ensure problems were solved before they escalated.
UNITE IT Operations Manager Ben Tyson says, "We needed more than a network monitor; we were looking for a complete and reliable tool that could query Windows and LINUX hosts as well as check URL's, create daily performance reports and give real-time information on service."
PRTG enables UNITE to identify and resolve issues in its IT network
PRTG Network Monitor from Paessler provides UNITE with a single view of its online services. This enables UNITE to identify and resolve issues in its IT network before any of its 41,000 customers feel the affects. UNITE can produce custom maps for sales figures with a view of intra-day performance. It can also produce maps for live monitoring of key links and servers to pre-empt operational issues. Alerts and reports can also be generated on exceptional events and used for capacity management.
UNITE's Tyson adds, "We chose PRTG over competing monitoring products as it could handle monitoring across the full estate of hardware we own. It can monitor all the applications and operating systems we have and is intuitive enough for us to use without having to have specialist expertise."
UNITE has been using PRTG since 2006 and currently has 7,485 sensors in place to monitor things such as; Cisco equipment (routers, switches, Voice Gateways, firewalls), Windows Servers (SQL Database servers, Email Servers, File Servers, Domain Controllers, Web Servers), VMWare Infrastructure (VMWare Hosts / SAN infrastructure) and LINUX Servers (external customer facing Web Servers, Application Servers, and Database servers). The top 10 sensor types it uses are SNMP Traffic, SNMP Custom, WMI Vital System Data, Ping, NTP, HTTP, WMI Network Card, Oracle SQL, RDP and WMI Free Disk Space. UNITE also uses remote probes to monitor its distributed network and in the future is planning to cluster its server to avoid monitoring downtime.
"The net result is that we have been able to deploy PRTG for less than £8k. It didn't involve the setup and deployment of 'agents' on host systems and now provides a very comprehensive monitoring solution, meeting all capacity management, MI reporting and real time monitoring needs throughout our business."
Tyson concludes "We invested in PRTG in order to provide an increased level of detail in monitoring our UBS system. Not only has this been achieved, but PRTG has also been able to perform a whole host of other tasks we hadn't previously thought of essentially, operational, real-time monitoring has been the main benefit to the business, ensuring that any potential issues are addressed before they affect our customers."