A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd is a renowned food retail distribution company based in the United Kingdom. From its humble beginnings as a counter-service grocery store in 1917, it employees 7,300 today in its retail stores, wholesale distribution, food service, logistics, and shop fitting divisions. A.F. Blakemore is also a member of the Unitas Wholesale group, and a significant supplier to the independent grocery sector across the UK.
With a strong presence in the retail business sector, A.F. Blakemore has two internal data centers that process and manage logistics, retail, and distribution data. Given how retail operations work on tight margins and cost-control policies, A.F. Blakemore did not have a separate tool for monitoring its network, which added to its problems. The company struggled with managing its data centers, and often could not determine the root cause of its IT issues. This meant its IT help desk often exceeded its mean time to repair (MTTR) metrics, and wasn't able to track or resolve similar problems when they occurred, resulting in on-going issues.
According to Lee Pritchard, technical architect at A.F. Blakemore, "We had no way of discovering what was wrong. Only what was down. Disk space monitoring, CPU, etc. was a pain."
ManageEngine OpManager helped resolve A.F. Blakemore's data center difficulties by providing troubleshooting tools and performance monitors that helped reduce network downtime, and trace the root causes of issues. Implementing this solution also ensured similar issues could be easily tracked and documented, saving valuable IT help desk time and resources.
A.F. Blakemore evaluated OpManager for its network performance monitoring solution and determined it could reduce its network blind spots and downtimes. Today, it uses OpManager to monitor its network, servers, virtual devices, storage systems, databases, files and folders on a daily basis. A.F. Blakemore is pleased that OpManager provides a high return on investment (ROI) through its scalability, multi-vendor support, and fast troubleshooting capabilities.
A.F. Blakemore supplies over 1,000 retail stores, and has warehouses full of data to manage to manage, so storage monitoring was another challenge. OpManager strengthened the company's network monitoring by introducing storage monitoring within its console through an easily installed add-on. From managing existing storage capacity to predicting future storage requirements based on historical trends, OpManager has become an integral part of the company’s capacity planning decisions. Apart from managing their storage, it allows easy threshold alerts and notifications during anomalies.
OpManager gave A.F. Blakemore a single, integrated solution for the problems it faced while monitoring its servers. OpManager persistently monitors physical servers, VMs, HyperV, and XenServers, ensuring they are up and running at their optimum performance level at all times. A.F. Blakemore is now able to drill down into what causes network slowness by examining the processor time, the queue length, and other critical memory monitoring metrics that have a direct impact on its servers.
Another major concern A.F. Blakemore faced was finding CPU, disk, and memory utilization glitches as it was not aware of when these would spike, causing network slowdowns. OpManager came to the rescue by helping A.F. Blakemore assess the health of CPU, memory, and its disk utilization with over 25 performance monitors.
A.F. Blakemore now receives alerts prior to dangerous situations which helps it prepare and results in minimal performance downtimes.
The employees at A.F. Blakemore had special praises for OpManager's user-friendly interface, that did not require them to possess any additional technical expertise. "Clean Simple GUI. Don't need to be an expert. If you are stuck, there are loads of videos on youtube, and support is really good", said Pritchard, when talking about how easy it is to use OpManager.
Apart from seamlessly monitoring servers, storage systems, and setting up alerts, OpManager's Threshold-based Alerts, Rack View, Layer 2 Maps, Custom Monitor Creation and 3D Floor Maps are features A.F. Blakemore found particularly insightful for its distributed network.
OpManager is a network management platform that helps organizations, service providers, and small medium enterprises manage their data centers and IT infrastructure efficiently and cost effectively. Automated workflows, intelligent alerting engines, discovery rules, and extendable templates enable IT teams to set up a 24/7 monitoring system quickly and easily. Do-it-yourself add-ons extend the scope of management to include network change and configuration management, IP address management, as well as monitoring of networks, applications, databases, and virtualization. For more information about OpManager, visit manageengine.com/opmanager