With global economies facing the growing threat of shortage in food production, companies in the farming industry are developing innovating solutions to protect crops and ensure better crop yield. Certis is one such established name in the crop protection business. They have direct operations in key European markets like Belgium, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain and the UK; providing solutions to crop production challenges for customers in a wide-ranging portfolio.
Certis' centralized business infrastructure is contained in a data centre and standardized to HP equipment like Blade servers and EVA SAN. On these servers, they run VMware vSphere with Windows servers deployed for virtualization. A major chunk of the company's knowledge is consolidated on SharePoint. End-user applications are deployed through Citrix XenApp. The sales teams in Certis also rely on mission-critical applications like Exact ERP packages, Microsoft Office, SQL 2005 DB, HR applications and so on. Over 200 users employ this infrastructure from their office locations, homes and hotels all over Europe.
The Certis Information and Communication Technologies Team (ICT) are responsible for innovations in the company. From a centralized location, they manage the 50 virtual servers that make up the IT infrastructure of Certis.
Guido Thonissen, ICT Manager explains "As the ICT department, you need to see to everything - issues or potential problems - before the end user in the company does. As part of the technical continuance and our SLA towards the customer we needed an application which could monitor all different end points we have in our company like servers, applications, services, network devices and network latency."
Applications Manager monitors all the different end points in Certis like servers, applications, services, network devices and latency issues.
Certis benefits from Applications Manager's ability to send notifications, take automated remedial actions by executing custom scripts and to restart critical services automatically.
Create custom dashboards. In their help-desk office, they use a plasma screen where custom monitors are displayed as well. Performance charts help them identify looming issues and areas for improvement - fast. The Certis monitors as well as the iFrame code are displayed on the ICT utility web-page.
The ICT team at Certis now receive early email alerts to potential conditions of concern. Having the flexibility to set up thresholds at different levels of sensitivity allows administrators to keep a close eye on areas of suspected trouble; proactively informing the company about problems, latency issues,etc. Certis plans to set up an alerting platform for the whole of the company via SMS.
The portfolio of monitoring services available in Applications Manager also helps report server-specific statistics such as CPU load, memory, HDD space, SQL buffering and disk utilization. Operational processes at Certis rely on Applications Manager to establish internal SLAs and provide business with SLA reports; measure and compare SLAs agreed with SLAs of external suppliers. The reporting functionality has gone a long way to help justify Certis's decision to use Applications Manager.
Besides keeping an attentive eye on the nuts and bolts of advanced applications, Applications Manager remains easy to use and implement without a steep learning curve. A great deal of time and resource is saved from troubleshooting issues and the number of help-desk calls has reduced by at least 30%.
Certis's wide range of crop protection technologies support growers from soil preparation through to harvest. Even a very small downtime can bring their sales operations to a standstill. Applications Manager provides Certis's centrally located ICT team the ability to track performance from both the end-user perspective and at a detailed infrastructure level. Maintenance optimization goals are achieved. User satisfaction is retained. Mission accomplished.