After three years of being the official provider of network monitoring and help desk, it never ceases to amaze and challenge us that together - the vendors, the staff and the volunteers - build an enterprise-class network literally from the cables up in just under 3 weeks. Quite an accomplishment and it happens for every Interop show.
Monitoring is one of the last things that is deployed, but especially for an real-world interoperability exercise like InteropNet - comprehensive and proactive monitoring is critical. At Hot Stage and during the show itself, we are that check that all systems are up and running and playing well with each other - and hopefully the first alert if anything needs some attention...before people start showing up at the help desk.
Over the years, we've learned some things and decided this was the right time to showcase something truly innovative as part of InteropNet (and make things easier and more efficient for everyone involved). With the help of the new EM7 G3 Integration Server and a few days of Tim May's extraordinary programming time, we developed an InteropNet Self-Service portal, allowing vendors and staff to set up monitoring for their own gear on-demand. On the back-end of the portal is some code that leverages the Integration Server and monitoring templates pre-defined in EM7 to automate monitoring set-up. Monitoring status is shown in real-time - color-coded for the IP's that are successfully setup in EM7 with additional detail on how to complete the process for the ones that need a bit more help.
With just 3 weeks to get everything working, simplicity and speed are paramount and it is these qualities that have been at the core of the EM7 product philosophy from the very beginning. We were able to deliver our self-service portal in just one week with just one programmer. If you've tried an integration like this yourself with other monitoring tools, you know just how long this type of project might take - traditionally weeks or months and a whole lot more than one programmer. The EM7 difference is that it is already a set of pre-integrated tools - covering fault and performance management plus asset management and service desk all in one solution. And now the Integration Server offers an easy, quick way to integrate EM7 monitoring with third party systems and solutions like this custom self-service portal - we can show you the proof at InteropNet.
So what? Why does anyone care?
Ask the NOC staff. One in particular, Josh Archambault from McAfee, was really excited about the self service portal. Josh basically said that the integration server allowed InteropNet to deploy this solution so quickly and so easily that it really had that wow-factor - something that provided real-world benefits. IT tends to be siloed and the group responsible for network monitoring is usually the last to know when there is something new on the network. By providing something like the self-service portal (an integral part of any private cloud initiative), the network monitoring group makes it easy and quick for their 'customers' to set up monitoring themselves; the result - comprehensive and standardized monitoring of network elements and an IT group that enables business agility.