Financial Services Company Lays Foundation for End-to-End Infrastructure Management Using Entuity

A major European financial services company first used Entuity to reduce operating expenses and improve productivity by auditing and rationalizing disparate network environments following a merger. Entuity’s integrated performance, fault and inventory management, reporting capabilities and extensibility continue to help them ensure their network is optimally deployed and efficiently performing at minimal cost to the corporation.

Company Highlights
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Company Size: 8 Million Customers

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Countries Supported: United Kingdom

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Network Management Software: Entuity network management

Business Needs and Solutions

Managing its network effectively is key for any organization, but when a merger or acquisition has recently taken place, as in the case of a major European financial services company, it becomes a much bigger issue. Previously independent networks need to integrate successfully in order to allow the IT infrastructure to work efficiently and support the business function.

In this case, the company formed after the merger of two major UK-based service companies. It now offers a complete range of financial products, ranging from online and high street banking to credit cards and insurance. The company has more than 10,000 employees who are spread out among eight large offices and 99 bank branches, plus 25 remote locations for its insurance division. The two individual companies were previously run by two separate networks, but as a result of the merger, they have been integrated into one.

The new single network now handles applications, including financial management tools, call centers for the banking and insurance divisions, all of the software and security for the company’s online bank, and mainframe applications. In addition to running an increased number of systems, the infrastructure has to support more offices and employees. As a result, it was decided that network management software was required to assist with monitoring of traffic, tracking devices and identifying any faults quickly.

To choose which software to deploy, the company identified its requirements internally and used these to carry out a paper evaluation on six of the leaders in the network management industry, as identified by analyst houses Gartner and Forrester. This produced a shortlist of two products, which were put into a proof-of-concept trial. Entuity’s network management software most closely matched the laid out criteria and proved to be the obvious choice.

A manager of network projects at the company said: “It was important to [us] that the majority of functionality would be available ‘out of the box’. This was the case for Entuity, which meant that we were able to begin to use it almost as soon as it had been installed. We also needed it to support the Cisco and token ring network we run, which it did. In fact, as it’s product-neutral, Entuity has been completely successful in integrating with and monitoring all the devices on our network.”

The company has more than 130 premises throughout the UK, resulting in a very complex IT infrastructure. Entuity is well suited to deployments that are spread over a number of different geographical locations and, through its discovery and reporting tools, it provides a complete, detailed topology of its network and the relationships between the devices on it. Its reporting function can also be used to support any service level agreement audits.

Entuity’s discovery function is automated, meaning it will look at the network at regular intervals and identify which devices are connected and how efficiently they are working. This Auto Discovery takes place as soon as Entuity is installed. How often it takes place after that time can be determined by the network manager.

Laying Foundations Using Entuity

Traditionally, recording the devices on a network would involve somebody having to manually check all the connections over a number of different sites. As well as being an extremely time-consuming task, this leaves the audit open to human error and has the potential to become out of date almost instantly should a connection be unplugged somewhere or new devices installed. Entuity eliminates this and also opens up the opportunity to make considerable savings. The network project manager commented, “After looking at the inventory report, we noticed that approximately five percent of our ports were idle. Although they were cabled up, they were not actually in use. Knowing this meant that we didn’t have to go out and buy more equipment, which we would have done, had we not had Entuity in place. This resulted in immediate and significant cost savings.”

Minimizing downtime was a key requirement. With its large number of employees and the wide geographical location over which they are spread, it is vital that the IT team has a tool that supports its ability to identify a fault before a user reports it. Through its Auto Discovery feature, Entuity enables companies to be proactive with its fault management by finding and fixing any problems before they affect the user. This reduces the length of time the computer is offline, which protects revenues and ultimately provides the company with a much higher quality of service.

Entuity also has a root cause analysis function which can be used together with the fault management tool to identify where the problem originated. By looking at both the topology of the network and the fault itself, Entuity can help to find and resolve the issue. Previously this would have been a time- consuming task requiring the network manager to locate the cause and fix it himself, but Entuity eliminates the need for this by doing it automatically.

The services company also uses Entuity’s reporting facility for trending and capacity planning so that it knows when the network is about to reach full capacity before it gets to that stage. This is something that happens at least once or twice a year, or if an application is added that requires a particularly large amount of bandwidth. By having this information available before it happens, They are able to reallocate resources or remove devices that are no longer being used.

“It is vital that our network is running to the best of its availability at all times. Entuity has enabled us to make effective use of capacity, as well as identify faults before they have had any significant impact.”

Manager of Network Projects

In the future, the company has plans to integrate Entuity with its existing service management framework, as part of the ‘Manager of Managers’ initiative it is creating. It is also planning to use Entuity to monitor backplane integration on its key devices.
The network projects manager is confident that they will soon begin to see a return on their investment. He says, “The deployment of Entuity has definitely been beneficial [to us] by enabling us to make the most of our network. [We] rely on the IT infrastructure to remain competitive, therefore any length of downtime can have a major impact.
It is vital that our network is running to the best of its availability at all times. Entuity has enabled us to make effective use of capacity, as well as identify faults before they have had any significant impact.”

Factors Considered

In choosing Entuity as their network management solution, the company considered many factors.

Key Solution Characteristics

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Eighty percent of functionality available “out of the box”

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Inter-operability with current systems management platforms

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Scalable and extensible for an expanding business

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Standards based, e.g., IP, SNMP, RMON, COPS

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Intuitive, web-based user interfaces

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Fit for purpose, i.e., meets defined requirements

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Suits deployments characterized by many geographical locations

High Level Functional Requirements

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Network fault detection with automated root cause analysis

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Automatic topology discovery and visualization

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Service Level Reporting (SLR)

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Automatic availability and performance exception alerts

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Business impact analysis and prioritizating of network faults and degradations

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Support for all CFS network hardware, including token ring

“The deployment of Entuity has definitely been beneficial [to us] by enabling us to make the most of our network. [We] rely on the IT infrastructure to remain competitive, therefore any length of downtime can have a major impact. It was important to [us] that the majority of functionality would be available ‘out of the box’. This was the case for Entuity, which meant that we were able to begin to use it almost as soon as it had been installed.”

Manager of Network Projects

About Entuity

Entuity takes the work out of network management. Our highly automated, unified enterprise-class solution puts deep network insight at your fingertips, frees IT staff to focus on strategic projects and easily integrates with major frameworks and networking environments. Entuity’s support and services teams are frequently praised for their rapid response, networking expertise and involvement in special engagements. Founded in 1997 by two senior-level IT executives from the financial industry, Entuity is headquartered in London with US operations in Boston.

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