Paessler PRTG Network Monitor gives small MSP competitive advantage in crowded market

As a small but agile managed service provider in Norfolk, Va., Green Olive Tree has evolved from a web hosting provider to a complete remote server management firm responsible for ensuring the high-availability uptime and network responsiveness that today's data-dependent businesses require. With clients all over the world, including the UK, Brazil, Israel, Greece, and Belgium, Green Olive Tree owner Jon Berry has learned to leverage technology to its fullest extent in order to efficiently manage his growing operations with a very small staff that includes himself and just two part-time assistants.

"Uptime and connectivity are critical for my clients," Berry said. "They pay me to make sure their servers are running, so I do whatever it takes to deliver that assurance. I need to know before they do when a server goes down so I can get it back up with as little interruption to their business flow as possible."

To keep his client's server systems running smoothly and his customers happy, Berry uses PRTG Network Monitor by Paessler AG. With real-time monitoring, historic data retention, and instant alerts for a wide range of customizable network conditions and thresholds - all available at the lowest all-in-one licensing rate in the industry - PRTG enables Green Olive Tree to deliver a caliber of service that meets or exceeds that of larger MSPs in this market. In addition to a wealth of vital network information available with a click of the mouse, PRTG provides Berry the affordability and efficiency that gives his small company a distinct advantage in an increasingly crowded market.

Exceptional speed and ease of use

As a long-time user of IPCheck, Paessler's first incarnation of a network monitoring system, Berry has been a Paessler customer for about seven years and recently became a member of the Paessler Partner program. After years as a satisfied customer, Berry made the decision to get on board as a reseller after his most recent upgrade to PRTG 8.3.

"I cannot BELIEVE how much faster this is," he said about the new version. "I have about 600 sensors and page loads were painfully slow before. I had learned to live with it because otherwise the product was fantastic. But these new speeds are nothing short of miraculous... it's at least three times faster than before. I am blown away by the performance here. Everyone who runs [PRTG] should upgrade as soon as they can."

Berry's glowing testimonial about the enhanced speed of PRTG v.8.3 is the result of a recent database upgrade in the PRTG system. PRTG now uses its own internal database for the entire dataset of PRTG, not just for the monitoring data. In testing against a SQL server, the enhanced PRTG database performed up to 100 times faster. In addition, historical monitoring data is stored as raw data, rather than as an average as is the case with other solutions. This historic accuracy provides much greater insight into historical performance to enhance understanding of current conditions.

PRTG makes troubleshooting 10x faster

PRTG's graphing functionality allows Berry to instantly view network activity at a glance and easily see exactly where problems may lie; it even allows him to provide his customers with a log-in portal to view their own server loads, traffic, and network activity, providing a level of transparency that many appreciate.

"We often use the historical graphs to investigate server problems and also alert us of potential problems before they become serious," Berry said. "We can use this data to find problems, find out what happened prior that may have been the cause and look at server load and traffic spikes as part of our troubleshooting protocol. PRTG makes it easily 10x faster to diagnose problems and some would not even be possible to solve without it," Berry continued. "You can't go back in time to duplicate the problem and solve it if you don't have the historical log. PRTG captures everything to give you a historical picture of events that makes troubleshooting so much faster."

Without the data PRTG provides, Berry would have to gather this data manually. In the case of mysterious, intermittent problems, Berry notes that, in many cases, by the time they'd get all the information together, the problem may have disappeared temporarily, only to reappear at a later date.

Instead, with PRTG, when a server problem does occur, Berry and his team receive a notification within two minutes via text message, email, or cell phone call. Without PRTG in place, he'd simply have to wait for the client to let him know about the problem. It might be hours before they realize there's a problem and Berry said they'd most likely already be upset and angry by the time they call him. Whereas, with PRTG, the Green Olive Tree team can be well underway in solving the problem before the client even notices - and sometimes they never do notice the blip.

PRTG provides a distinct advantage

This outstanding efficiency enables Green Olive Tree to differentiate its service offerings in a competitive market.

"All of my competitors have some kind of monitoring service in place, but PRTG is a lot better than anything I've seen my competition using," Berry said. "The depth of information I get from PRTG makes us so much more efficient. I've gotten a lot of clients who have left other MSPs because their service wasn't good. When I show them what I can offer through PRTG, it's an easy sell."

Recently, Berry even used PRTG to help a client get to the bottom of a bandwidth problem that was crippling her e-commerce site. His client, author and entrepreneur Dani Johnson, was selected to appear as a featured guest on ABC's reality TV Show Secret Millionaire, with appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and Good Morning America fueling the publicity surrounding the show. As anticipation mounted leading up to the episode's airing, traffic on Johnson's web sites were spiking higher and higher. Berry determined the e-commerce servers in Panama were choking under the pressure, but the e-commerce provider was pointing the finger at the web server. However, with the data he gleaned from PRTG, Berry knew the servers were holding up just fine.

Presenting his traffic load data analysis to the e-commerce datacenter, Berry forced them to admit they'd imposed a traffic cap on their server, which the client was unaware when she first signed up for the service. Berry was able to get the limitations lifted for the client, based on the solid data from PRTG to prove his case. Otherwise, he says, they would have likely continued to deflect the problem onto another source and, without PRTG, there would have been no way to know for sure.

Powerful and affordable

In addition to exceptional levels of data analysis, speed, and ease of use, Berry says PRTG is priced just right to provide an affordable option for a small company. With its unique all-in licensing model, PRTG users pay one flat fee for every monitoring tool in the PRTG package, based on the number of sensors required, with no added costs for each additional type of sensor.

"We place a high priority on delivering outstanding service to our clients," Berry said. "With its robust monitoring and a price that fits my budget, PRTG makes it possible for me to deliver the technical level of service my clients expect from a big company with the hands-on personal attention we can offer as a smaller provider."

Jon Berry <br>Green Olive Tree owner

Jon Berry
Green Olive Tree owner


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