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DBSi now Polls all Performance Data in Real Time.

Customer Story
  • SevOne’s flexibility and industry-unique one second polling capability made the most sense
  • DBSi leverages SevOne’s instant graphs to rapidly troubleshoot and generate reports in increments from 2 hours to 2 minutes without re-polling entire database
  • Can now poll all performance data in real-time
  • Enhanced device visibility
  • Expedited data retrieval with impacting other users through distributed architecture
  • Moving from open-source to SevOne provides flexibility and control

DBSi Banking LogoDBSi is the leading regional provider of high availability disaster recovery, managed hosting, and data center services in the Mid-Atlantic region. Headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the company’s business model is based on flexible, cost-effective solutions tailored to the specific needs of its clients. DBSi has provided customized solutions to mid-sized and Fortune 500 corporations around the world for over twenty-five years and offers the personal care and attention companies expect while providing enterprise level infrastructure and expertise. DBSi operates multiple advanced technology recovery and hosting centers which also contain hundreds of seats for workspace recovery; and through its high-speed fiber optic networks provides seamless connectivity between its facilities, clients and the world.

Challenge:

As a managed hosting provider that offers disaster recovery and data center services to major industries such as the healthcare, pharmaceutical, energy and financial services, DBSi specializes in high-density, high return on investment managed hosting and disaster recovery solutions for clients who would prefer not to build the infrastructure themselves.

Now in its 27th year of business DBSi operates two main data facilities, in Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, PA and the other in Norristown, north of Philadelphia.

According to Chris Black, Director of IT and Service Delivery, DBSi manages and maintains a client’s core systems infrastructure; essentially, everything from the server on down including patches, backups, monitoring, centralized web collection, hardware break/fix, firewalls, Internet presence and web communications.

Additionally, DBSi hosts approximately 1,400 onsite workspace recovery seats, each deployed with client-based images. “We send our clients a PC, and they load onto them with mission critical applications to customized settings. In the event of a man-made or natural disaster or relocation we can port those images to our workspace recovery seats. In turn, our clients also have a place for their people to work as they’re putting the pieces back together.”

Putting those pieces together, however, cannot always be accomplished with existing resources.

“We also know our client’s limitations,” said Black. “We help companies leverage our internal IT assets to offset the day-to-day operations of their infrastructure that they don’t have the bandwidth or time to accomplish.” To keep up with demand the company is in the midst of doubling the size of its data center – a development that prompted Black’s resolve to find a more efficient way of monitoring client services without adding substantially to DBSi’s internal costs of doing business.

The first step, said Black, was to migrate away from open source applications and towards a solution that fostered improved device polling and reporting efficiencies.

“Like many companies in our industry, when we first started out we relied heavily on open-source applications and their proficiency in monitoring applications in-house,” said Black. “As we continued to grow and our business model began to evolve to accommodate more data center space and more visible clientele, for our core monitoring solutions we made a decision to switch from open source tools to a commercially-supported software solution, which is when we turned to SevOne.”

Black also points out that as a managed hosting provider performing centralized logging and monitoring for clients, DBSi needed a way to “segment” device level interfaces that allowed clients to gain access and visibility into their data performance statistics in an on-demand fashion.

Solution:

According to Black, SevOne’s flexibility, industry-unique one-second polling capability and competitive price point “made the most sense.”

Specific feature sets also proved persuasive. For example, DBSi leverages SevOne’s Instant Graphs to rapidly troubleshoot and generate reports in increments ranging from two hours to two minutes – without having to re-poll the entire database.

“A portion of polling statistics is cached. When you’re trying to troubleshoot an issue, time is of the essence, the last thing you want to do is wait for the data to refresh,” said Black. The way SevOne structures its database – taking into account historical trending also proved a differentiator for DBSi. “A portion of competitive systems are monitoring components using a Round Robin Database, or RRD. Over time these RRD’s eliminate and remove spike information. When you’re looking at the history of a data point 12 months later most applications appear as if there was an even pattern of growth in the environment, which may not reflect actual peaks and valleys that occurred,” said Black.

As for Black’s requirement to “split out” device level interfaces for unique clients and their devices, SevOne worked in tandem with DBSi developers to customize an interface that allows Black and his IT staff to poll the statistics for individual components, individual devices, or individual metrics within individual devices, without having to give clients access to the entire device.

“Take for example, one of the core infrastructure switches in our Bethlehem facility. The switch, is used as an Internet aggregation point, consisting of over 200 interfaces,” explained Black. “Let’s say our client is using our Internet services and, in turn, wants to be able to maintain and record past trending history, bandwidth utilization, interface errors, packet loss, and more. What we’re able to do using our SevOne interface is to take that device, with its 200 interfaces, and give clients access to only a specific interface on that device so they can see their statistics, but no others. They have, in fact, the same visibility into the same statistics that we do. In other words, complete network and application transparency.”

Black has also been impressed by SevOne’s agility and ability to respond quickly to DBSi and its clients’ requirements.

“The example of the client interface illustrates that SevOne is a nimble organization, willing to work with their clients to customize an interface or settings in order for our organization to give the client exactly what they’re looking for,” said Black. “Our SevOne solution has the ability to send me reports once a day, once an hour or once a minute, depending on how I want them configured and where I want them to go.”

“The nature of our business demands that we’re able to respond quickly to our clients. While the configuration and set-up time for monitoring servers is usually quick and painless, the licensing and procurement of additional licenses typically takes time with most applications. With SevOne, however, I can place a request for thousands of elements and have them within a day’s time.

Results:

Moving from an open source Unix-based application to the user-friendly SevOne interface has also provided Black with the flexibility and control to deploy his team where they’re best utilized, with support administrators or NOC operators tasked to configure and bring up new devices, adding them into to the monitoring “mix,” and setting up the recording and scheduling manifest and Unix administrators focused on developing and implementing value-added infrastructure management solutions.

“Migrating from open source based tools to a commercially supported application with a more user-friendly interface it allows me, as a network professional, to redistribute resources accordingly,” said Black. “Virtually anyone in my organization can now bring up devices and all of the attendant operations without having to understand the intricacies of Unix. SevOne gives me the flexibility to choose who on my staff will deploy the new applications or new monitoring services allowing me to deploy staff resources strategically versus tactically.”

As an outcome of its relationship with SevOne, Black has also been discussing synthetic application testing and synthetic application transactions with the company and plans to move in that direction with SevOne’s assistance.

“Synthetic transaction testing has the ability to enhance the functionality of our monitoring processes, allowing us to step through an application to validate all layers of functionality, not just the availability of a service. In the long-term that’s how I see SevOne scaling with our future needs.”

For DBSi the SevOne application performance monitoring solution is all about visibility – the aforementioned single pane of glass – and control.