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Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall

Since 1971, Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall has been delivering a variety of technical services. The-community owned power company provides electricity, natural gas, heat and water for the city and adjacent communities. 

Technical services include network management and system monitoring, power plant optimization and heating, contracting and meter readings. In the 24-hour manned control room, data from approximately 15,000 data points and around 700 system are monitored.

The Need for Opsview

Looking for a scalable monitoring solution to monitor their entire IT infrastructure Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall tried out Nagios, the free version of Opsview and Icinga. However, none of these tools could completely meet their requirements.

According to Mark Käpplinger, IT manager at Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall, "As an energy provider and energy industry service provider we have extensive requirements for an IT monitoring solution. Our data center includes approximately 300 virtual servers, 33 blade servers and 30 physical servers. In addition to these numerous field offices need to be monitored and managed with servers, data storage devices, printers, networks and fibre channels. At the data center there are about 60 customers connected via VPN using the various service benefits of Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall."

Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall required a monitoring solution which included all the necessary core services that display utilization values and pro-actively detect problems to prevent customer-impacting failures. Query automation and simple integration of new devices were also high on their priority list.

Furthermore, the network control centers of the power plants are unmanned from 6pm and monitored via the data center at Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall. Monitoring of clients connected via VPN was therefore a critical issue and all access needed to be traceable and secure.

Why Opsview?

With the purchase of a new data center, it was decided to use the existing Opsview installation but to upgrade to the licensed version of Opsview Enterprise. In addition to using the advanced Opsview functionality, additional systems could be quickly integrated and new dependencies mapped. Scalability was important to address future service growth, such as the integration of video systems in parking garages, gates, ticket machines, turnstiles and lockers.

Mario Hochhaus, Group Manager at Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall said "With the amount of network devices, it was very time consuming and resource intensive to set up the free tools and check for each device and configure separately. With Opsview, we can define and check once and then use it multiple times. The Network Scanner detects new equipment, auto discovering the equipment and placing it into a template for quick monitoring.

Deployment and Result

Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall today uses Opsview Enterprise to monitor and manage their entire IT infrastructure in a single dashboard.

Using the auto-discovery function, Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall can easily integrate network devices, servers, data storage, printers, etc. These can then be monitored as individual devices or as groups of devices. In addition to saving valuable staff time, it also protects the personnel resources of the company. Plus employees and system administrators who do not have special monitoring skills can easily integrate devices and define checks based on jurisdictions set within system.

The cluster monitoring in virtual environments is greatly simplified by the use of the Opsview monitoring Packs for VMware. With Auto-discovery, ESXi hosts are automatically identified and then tested again using VMware scan. Thus, the virtual machines are quickly captured in the monitoring templates included out-ofthe box in Opsview.

Mario Hochhaus was also impressed with the smooth installation of updates. "If one reviews the processes in detail as described in the Opsview documentation before the update, and then performs it step-by-step, it is very easy to update it yourself. Using the documentation we were able to easily optimize the Reporting services and it’s performance”.

Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall is completely satisfied with their decision to upgrade to Opsview Enterprise. "We are pleased with the new version and other functionalities of the solution," said Mario Hochhaus.

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