Accedian Skylight Review

Beyond the savings of the IT team’s productivity, the reduction of the performance degradations has helped save money.

Despite their ability to monitor availability and resource consumption (CPU, RAM, Disk…), our SNMP monitoring tools (Microsoft SCOM) did not provide any useful information to deal with user complaints. “Wireshark”, which we used to use for firefighting operations, could not provide us with an easy way to understand the origin of an issue. 

First, we felt the need to monitor proactively our IT usage, as well as the performance of both our network and applications. In case of complaint, we wanted to be able to quickly qualify:

  • Which application was impacted? Which users were impacted? When?
  • Was our WAN network overloaded? By which applications?
  • Was there any abnormal behavior on our network (virus or worm)?

Second, due to the limited WAN capacities with a maximum of 10Mbps per connection, we needed to fully understand our network usage: which application was using which capacity and when? The objectives were to be able to anticipate congestions and their nasty consequences on our users and to get the right information to optimize our network and its usage.

Our IT infrastructure partner, AB Network, presented Performance Vision from SecurActive, which seemed to respond to our requirements. To validate its capabilities in a real life environment, we organized a proof of concept with AB Network. The conclusion was fully positive!

Each collaborator of the IT team has a full access to the solution. Each of us looks at the information he needs to execute his tasks: two developers, two people in charge of the infrastructure administration, one person in charge of the relationship between industrial engineering and IT, and myself:

  • Our developers use Performance Vision to troubleshoot performance issues on our http applications which are critical for our users located across all our sites to access to our databases. A good example is our planning software: this application is accessed from several sites by users from different companies within the group. It connects to several ERPs to consolidate planning information for several countries. Performance Vision helped optimize its performance by providing a clear understanding of how the application chain works.
  • The administrators in charge of the infrastructure monitor specifically the WAN usage and the bandwidth consumption. A recent example was the identification of a malfunction inside our antivirus architecture: in principle our antivirus system is composed of servers located on each of our four main sites. A configuration issue made that some clients communicated with the antivirus server of a different site and overloaded the WAN network.
  • My team access to the data from the three probes distributed on our main sites through a single graphical interface, which is particularly intuitive.
  • There are many examples of diagnostics run thanks to Performance Vision: without this tools, these incidents would have had strong consequences on our business. With Performance Vision, our administrators have been able to quickly pinpoint the origin of the issue and to solve it:
  • Citrix Performance degradation: some time ago, we received a growing number of complaints from users based on Poland trying to connect to our central applications. We could quickly identify that the performance was degraded for the Citrix flow only and not for the applications themselves. We identified that the slowdown of the Citrix flows was due to the configuration of our PDM/PLM application, which was using too much bandwidth during office hours.
  • We have a file synchronization software which runs over multiple sites. Our sites have different bandwidth available depending on the number of users present on each site. Thanks to Performance Vision’s reporting, we tuned the configuration of this software to manage this synchronization on all our sites, without any harm to our daily business operations.

Our team is currently working on a degradation that appeared on a customized application which relies on VB6 to query our SQL databases. I have no doubt that we will find the necessary elements to solve this problem in a very short timeframe.

On my end, I read a daily report to validate that our response times (application, network, and bandwidth) are fine. Automated, these reports represent no additionally workload for my team and allow us to share an objective history of our network & application performances and usage.

After 15 months of use, our feeling is strongly positive. I recommend Performance Vision to other IT directors on a regularly basis, to have a good visibility on the network and to diagnose or optimize the performance of their IT. It is a key element to help our teams to efficiently collaborate both at the development and infrastructure levels.

Beyond the savings gained on the IT team’s productivity, the reduction of the performance degradations for the business users, the monitoring of our bandwidths and the optimization of our applications, Performance Vision also helped saving the money we would otherwise have spent in the upgrade of our WAN network.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station has made contact with the reviewer to validate that the person is a real user. The information in the posting is based upon a vendor-supplied case study, but the reviewer has confirmed the content's accuracy.
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