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April 1, 2019 – Intelligent CIO

MSP improves visibility, scalability and control at low cost

OST, a managed services provider (MSP), needed to improve its IT operations monitoring which is crucial to maintaining reliability and therefore building trust and success with customers. It chose Opsview Monitor to provide automated and centralised visibility and control across legacy and modern cloud environments, supporting the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) methodology. 

The challenge

Customer satisfaction is absolutely key to OST’s success, but was difficult to secure without comprehensive insight into its clients’ IT environments. The MSP has a relatively small customer base of large organisations in sectors as diverse as healthcare and manufacturing — each of which may be running between 1,000-10,000+ servers. This required effective IT operations monitoring and automated response covering a diverse range of legacy and digital environments, so that OST can crucially identify and resolve issues before the customer even knows something is wrong.

Another challenge was the breadth of different client systems OST needed to support. These include: AS400, mainframes, OpenVMS and other decades-old but mission-critical systems; a dozen different on-premises storage system brands; and cloud-native application infrastructure. Another important factor in OST’s decision over which IT Operations Management (ITOM) provider to partner with was its adoption of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE). This Google-developed methodology aims to create highly scalable, ultra-reliable IT infrastructure, requiring a high degree of automation in IT monitoring and is now the core element used by major cloud providers to run their organisations.

Scalability and support

OST initially chose to partner with Opsview a decade ago, with a free version of its ITOM tool. As the company grew, it migrated over to Opsview Monitor Enterprise, which added support and extra modular features such as reporting, a data warehouse and plug-ins to third-party platforms like the service desk. Opsview offered everything OST was looking for in an ITOM provider: a full feature-set at approximately a quarter of the cost of rival enterprise tools.

OST has scaled its business with Opsview over the past seven years without having to consider different systems, according to OST’s MSP manager, Matt Glenn. Over that time, as OST’s adoption of the SRE methodology became more important, Opsview seamlessly stepped in to support the insight, control
and automation it required. Its support for open source Nagios plug-ins was also key, helping to provide visibility into a broad range of legacy and modern IT platforms.

Another key reason for choosing Opsview was because it supports such diverse infrastructure which is crucial for any MSP monitoring the enterprise space. A significant number of OST’s customers were undergoing Digital Transformation initiatives and rearchitecting applications to the cloud for cloud-native deployments. OST found Opsview’s single pane of glass invaluable in ensuring that all applications running were performing well and for the MSP it was also good news that Opsview has developed integrations to the cloud monitoring platforms from AWS, Azure and Google so that all metrics could be seen from a central environment.

OST felt a strong cultural affinity with Opsview. “Opsview is somewhat similar to OST and we like having partners that we have a cultural connection to,” said Glenn. “We’re both organisations that put our employees first and that resonates with us personally.”

Automation success

OST hasn’t looked back since implementing Opsview for ITOM. Automation is key to the value of Opsview Monitor: it enables monitoring and remediation of any issues before they have been noticed by the customer. In total, this has generated time savings estimated at around 40%.

“When an incident is detected and there is an actual outage, our response time to those tickets is typically under five minutes and in a lot of cases, it’s within one minute. That’s because Opsview immediately creates the incident in our service desk, then our paging system immediately pages someone and allows them to acknowledge it directly from their phone,” Glenn explained. “When they acknowledge the ticket, it is then communicated to the customer. On average, most of the incidents created out of Opsview are resolved in 10 minutes.”

By automating and spotting incidents early on, OST is also able to drive cost reduction. The money saved has to then be reinvested in the company to further improve service levels and drive growth.

“In driving down costs, we can have one person supporting a much larger number of systems than we could before,” said Glenn. “This means that we can hire more knowledgeable and skilled people than before to drive customer satisfaction, enabling a great balance and growth.”

Other notable benefits of Opsview for OST include:

Single pane of glass visibility for a wide range of legacy and digital systems – including diverse cloud systems
Scalability: One new customer runs 33,000 servers, which Opsview is helping OST manage
Reporting: Adds further value for the end customer by enabling quarterly reviews of their IT infrastructure use, capacity and service levels
Accountability: Direct integration of Opsview into the OST ticketing system enhances transparency with customers and highlights the value of speedy incident response

Having come so far already, Opsview is right behind OST as it continues its growth journey.

“We are a smaller organisation and we provide services to organisations that are much larger than we are. So, we have to go to them and operate at their level,” said Glenn. “Opsview represents to them an enterprise toolset with enterprise capabilities. It shows them that we’re enterprise-ready.”