Südtiroler Gemeindenverband

Stefan Kofler, System Administrator at the SGV

Sector: Public Administration

Employees: 70

Synthetic Application Monitoring Replaces On-Call Service

„You can be sure that the service is running only by clicking through it.”

Challenge

Classic monitoring showed the functioning of the single IT components but did not verify if the critical applications were actually running. It had to be found a way to monitor the interplay of those components.

Solution

Definition of several typical transaction sequences, which are automatically executed by Alyvix. The obtained results are displayed on a dedicated website, which is accessible for all interested parties.

Result

On the website, IT- employees and nursing personnel have the possibility to inform themselves about the availability and the performance of all applications at any moment in time.

Cost Optimization: Synthetic Application Monitoring Replaces On-Call Service

Whether an application really works or not, can only be verified by using it. Being conscious of this, SGV, the association of municipalities of South Tyrol (“Südtiroler Gemeindenverband”), established a continuous and automated application monitoring approach. With its 40 IT-employees, the association is operating the data center for all South Tyrolean municipalities and district communities. To provide optimal working conditions, it is crucial that all members can reliably access their applications at any time during the day and the night, each day of the week. SGV is responsible for this. Especially critical are applications belonging to the retirement homes, particularly the main one, where important information about the residents is held. Nursing personnel can get vital information like: Who must take which medicines, how much and when? Have the medicines already been administered today? What is the residents’ medical history? It is obvious that this application is playing a key role and has to be clearly available 24×7.

From wishful thinking to reality: Alyvix replaces manual verification

Despite of the business-critical characteristics, system failures occurred. Unfortunately, they often remained unnoticed by the IT-employees until the employees form the retirement homes reported them. Therefore, it became necessary to create an opportunity to be informed about the system status all the time. However, a 24×7 on-call service was excluded from beginning. „Our wishful thinking consisted in creating a procedure that starts the program, logs on and enters data. This is the only way to quickly and reliably ensure that the interactions among databases, application server and processes are working as they have to. Through our ordinary monitoring checks it was just possible to see if there are the preconditions for a smooth operation, but you can be sure that the service is running only by clicking through it.”, explains Stefan Kofler, System Administrator at SGV.

At the South Tyrol Free Software Conference (SFScon) the association met Alyvix for the first time and decided to implement this open source solution. Due to human resource constraints, it was decided to appoint Würth Phoenix for the implementation and the simultaneous staff training. After one-and-a-half days, the system was operating and the SGV IT-employees were able to independently build the necessary test cases.
The result is a continuous simulation of typical interaction sequences and the subsequent output of the check results on a dedicated website. In this way, the employees are informed about the actual application state at any time.

Conclusion: Optimal complement to classic monitoring

Stefan Kofler, the responsible System Administrator at the association of municipalities summarizes the benefits:

The result is a continuous simulation of typical interaction sequences and the subsequent output of the check results on a dedicated website. In this way, the employees are informed about the actual application state at any time.

Conclusion: Optimal complement to classic monitoring

Stefan Kofler, the responsible System Administrator at the association of municipalities summarizes the benefits:

“Alyvix is a very good complement to classic monitoring. Despite having a monitoring system, we did not know if everything was really running, prior the implementation of Alyvix. The reasons are obvious: A firewall or a virus scanner on the application server could block a service, or the interplay between application server and database could be disturbed although all components were running fine individually. The classic monitoring approach does not take into consideration these aspects. We never knew for certain if everything was really working. Today things look quite different: Thanks to the continuous Alyvix tests we are informed about the availability and the performance of all our applications at any time.”

Stefan Kofler, System Administrator at SGV

The association of municipalities, SGV, is responsible for consulting, assisting and promoting all South Tyrolean municipalities and district communities. In this context, the association executes various activities among which also the creation and operation of common data processing and information systems. Similarly, the development and maintenance of hard- and software are part of its essential tasks.