Public Trust IS staff have been emancipated from the task of looking after the network to concentrate on more long-term projects following an outsourcing deal with Anite Networks (formerly Cray Communications).
After outsourcing its network management to Anite’s Sentinel network management service, Public Trust has been able to put staff, formerly tied up with “fighting fires”, to work on more productive projects, says Rob Johnston, Public Trust’s general manager of information systems. He says no IS staff have been laid off and the network manager has now become a special projects manager.
Using Cabletron’s Spectrum management suite Anite monitors the Public Trust’s overnight processing and Oracle database.
The Public Trust has around 60 sites networked throughout the country.
“They also do an early morning health check,” says Johnston. So if there’s a server down they can organise someone to reboot it, if it’s a router they will fix it, or if there’s a problem with a Telecom line they can get on to Telecom.”
Anite provides monthly reports and because Public Trust is rolling out new applications it also gets weekly reports.
Sentinel, which launched in September, now has three customers including Public Trust and Commercial Affairs.
Anite managing director Tom Meijer says Anite is a “boutique” service provider, taking on companies such as NetWay, Datacom and EDS at the high end.
“We’re definitely not aiming at the mass market, just at a small number of larger organisations,” he says.
“We realise there are a lot of players in the market, so we are providing a niche service with a very high level of value-added reporting. We want to provide managers with highly relevant reporting, not just dump information on them.”
Monthly reports include an executive analysis which highlights problems and follows up on any positive trends. All analysis is integrated into one custom-isable report covering network availability, link availability, a log of link outages with customer services reports logged against them, and contour mapping of link usage.
“We have very high use of graphics to deliver information,” says Meijer. “And it’s all written in business terms. We try to stay away from serial numbers, IP numbers, router identifiers and so on.”
Sentinel has six support staff and the disposal of Anite’s field staff including five CCIEs (Cisco Certified Internet Engineers). To ensure the Anite network is up at all times the company has not only a UPS unit but a diesel power generator.
For security each Sentinel communications line has its own router and customers with high security requirements can have their own management station.