Monitoring of the Fire Brigade Information System
Full-stack and unified monitoring of the IT infrastructure and applications to support department firefighters
Public sector case study
Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of the Somme French department (called SDIS 80)
Challenges of the IT department
- Find a unique monitoring solution that fully covers the SDIS information system
- The software must be easy to administer and implement
- Optimize the performance of infrastructures to offer the best application services to firefighters in the Somme region
Selected monitoring solution
Monitoring of the fire Brigade SDIS 80 Information System
The challenges of departmental IT surveillance of a fire service
The centralization of monitoring and simplicity of administration quickly proved to be essential for the IT teams of the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service (SDIS). The missions of firefighters are diverse: fire-fighting, prevention and assessment of technological and natural risks, organisation of rescue resources. To carry them out and ensure their services without interruption all year round, the monitoring of IT performance is essential.
SDIS 80 represents 779 municipalities, or more than 600,000 inhabitants, and carries out no less than 40,000 interventions each year. It covers more than 50 protected natural areas on 5000 hectares. For each intervention, IT has become an essential tool in order to respond as quickly as possible to incidents. Indeed, it would be unthinkable today to ask firefighters to look for operational information as before, that is, from an atlas of 74,000 pages in A2 format drawn and colored by hand! This is an example of why the performance of the network, infrastructure and GIS (Geographic Information System) application is critical.
"The main challenge is to be able to see at a glance if there is a problem that can impact the distribution of application services. We need to know at all times whether each part of the information system is functional. It's a critical point within SDIS."
A new surveillance software at SDIS 80
The IT Director and his team decided to improve the overall process for monitoring IT performance, but with the condition of capitalizing on what has already been done in the previous tool. The introduction of the new tool had to be quick and offer teams clear interfaces to easily detect what is wrong with the various IT silos (servers vs. networks vs. applications vs. databases vs. storage...).
The tool also had to meet the geographical challenges of monitoring by making it possible to very quickly locate sites that had been impacted or had performance incidents.
Managing IT in a Fire Brigade
The IT management of the SDIS IT plays a central role in the operational performance of each barracks.
Here is what ServicePilot provides in terms of monitoring to speed up the diagnosis of production incidents:
- Monitor the performance of Astech, ARTEMIS®, SDIS Admin, GIS, Human Resources and Payroll, DNS, DHCP, Messaging, etc. application resources
- Monitor network infrastructures, network cores, DRP systems, virtualized and physical server farms, storage racks and security devices
- Produce IS maps, business applications, networks and real-time IT service weather maps
- Have customized dashboards with historical operational data
- Analyze dimensions and anticipate potential risks based on performance history
- Automatic reporting on availability and performance....
Especially since SDIS IS do not have the same possibility to be proactive on changes in the sizing of servers or other equipment as in other sectors. In administrations such as SDIS, decision-making processes are very cumbersome, so optimizing service performance and availability is all the more critical because when equipment degrades, it must continue to be used until the possibility of changing it is possible.
An operational IT monitoring tool
Mapping provides IT teams with essential, real-time information on the health of the network, business applications and IT infrastructures that support them; above all, it provides them with up-to-date information to quickly locate and diagnose incidents.
"At a glance we can see the status of all our centres in ServicePilot as well as display all the interventions in progress in the region. This allows us to know if there is a large emergency request in real time."
The ServicePilot monitoring software allows you to analyze critical data from your IS in order to optimize performance, resource utilization and reduce operating costs.
"ServicePilot allows us to control the performance management of our information system. We can be proactive on our replacement or upgrade process on our VMWARE farms. With a simple view of our links between the different sites and locations needs, we were able to immediately see several oversizes. So we were able to save money by adapting our bandwidth or resource requirements."
SDIS can easily create and distribute PDF reports to answer questions such as:
- What was the availability and performance of my ARTEMIS®, SDIS Admin and GIS applications this month?
- What is the list of unprocessed system incidents from the previous day?
- What are the network resources whose sizing needs to be reviewed in order to optimize their costs?
A scalable and dynamic IT monitoring solution
ServicePilot can extend the monitoring perimeter by adding relevant IS indicators to increase the automation and ease of managing the datacenter.
"When we looked up the temperature data from our Datacenter in the ServicePilot web interface, we directly saw that our air-conditioned room needed to be optimized. There were temperature fluctuations, which we were able to correct quickly. The strength of ServicePilot is to have a simple display user-friendliness and an immediate result within our monitoring perimeter."
In addition to the POM Monitoring v5 functionalities, ServicePilot offers new features such as enhanced automatic application discovery, application traces, log analysis... Thus, the SDIS 80 can complete its monitoring perimeter by adding additional bricks to it in order to facilitate the correlation of the performance of the various elements of the information system.
- Go further on the network by determining who is doing what and how on the network behaves with a top of NetFlow conversations on a few switches or routers
- Track the response times of distributed application transactions on JAVA, IIS, .NET servers or analyze every single HTTP transaction on a server
- Implement log management, more advanced SNMP Syslog or Traps management and automate security event analysis
- Use the monitoring agent with automatic discovery, mapping and monitoring of applications on servers
A project completed in a few days
"The deployment required a little investment from our teams because it is a different tool, but the ServicePilot teams helped us a lot. From the person who takes the communications, to the engineers who handle the call, I ALWAYS felt a real desire to understand our need, and make us get the most out of the tool. ServicePilot's employees are concerned about our migration and the health of our information system."
Here is how the project went with the ISD engineers of SDIS 80:
- Recovery of the POM Monitoring v5 configuration and preparation of the automatic migration mill
- Establishment of a production infrastructure
- Installation and handling by the customer in coordination with the ServicePilot support team
- Customization of new interfaces, functionalities, and implementation of new monitoring bricks
- Creation of new maps, specific dashboards or custom views
- Monitoring the implementation and performance of new applications
"The handling was very simple, it's "point and click". Only one person is required to administer ServicePilot. What I appreciate most about ServicePilot is the ability to use meta data in the mapping of the equipment to be monitored. The possibilities for customizing dashboards are very well done."
Benefits and results with ServicePilot
Here is what ServicePilot has achieved in a short time:
- Coverage of the different IT layers and silos (Networks, Applications, Systems, Datacenter...)
- Ensuring that resources are monitored in a transparent, optimal and uninterrupted manner
- Better understand the IT service delivered to end-users
"ServicePilot is an effective and relevant solution with richer features than the POM Monitoring v5 solution. We have a clear and complete overview of all our sites and the main resources to monitor."
- Significant improvement in visibility on IS performance
- Weather map monitoring cockpits
- Real-time application chains and health status
- Faster detection and resolution of problems
ServicePilot thus contributes to optimizing the work of the SDIS 80 IT teams as well as that of the fire brigade.