cover story                                                    open sourceAdoption of open source infrastructuremanagement...
cover storyremain a big attraction for adoption of                “organizations need to identify andopen source solutions...
flexibility and innovation at fraction of      “Usage of open source tools is acosts. However, as with any other open     ...
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InformationWeek covers InfoAxon Technologies for Nagios Implementation


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Transcript of "InformationWeek covers InfoAxon Technologies for Nagios Implementation "

  1. 1. cover story open sourceAdoption of open source infrastructuremanagement tools on the riseA growing number of Indian CIOs are considering open source network managementtools to manage their infrastructure By Srikanth RPWith shrinking IT budgets and “The open source tool performs the rolegrowing scale of the IT infrastructure, of an ICU center for us, as it gives usa rising number of CIOs are lookingat open source solutions as a viable predictive reports on the health of thealternative. Today, the open source entire IT infrastructure”ecosystem is quite mature and offersa number of attractive alternatives for Ajay Dhir, Group CIO, JSLCIOs to save operational costs. As manyof these open source infrastructuremanagement tools have many of the to monitor applications, services, center for us, as it gives us predictivesame capabilities that their commercial operating systems, network protocols, reports on the health of the entire ITproprietary counterparts offer, they are system metrics and infrastructure infrastructure.”being actively considered by many CIOs components with a single tool. Fast Cost is perhaps the biggestin India. detection of infrastructure outages are motivator as organizations can save India’s largest integrated stainless made possible as alerts can be delivered huge costs with respect to licenses. Insteel manufacturer uses open source to technical staff via e-mail or SMS. the case of JSL, the implementationinfrastructure management tool, Escalation capabilities ensure alert costs have been limited to theNagios, to manage an IT landscape that notifications reach the right people. procurement of a server and modem –consists of over hundred servers, 2,500 The importance of the open source which works out to ` 10 lakh. Dhir saysdesktops, 50 network printers and 20 tool is best summed up by Ajay Dhir, that a comparative commercial systemWi-Fi devices. With the implementation Group CIO, JSL, “The open source would have easily cost the company aof Nagios, the IT team has the capability tool performs the role of an ICU minimum of ` 40 lakh. Manoj Chandiramani, who was earlier a CIO with MF Global, and is WhO is Using Open sOUrCe infrastrUCtUre management tOOls? now President and CEO, SAIMAA Global Solutions, explains the mathematics. Company Open source solution Usage “On an average, the bare minimum JSL Nagios Uses Nagios to manage an IT landscape software license cost for managing a that consists of over hundred servers, 2500 desktop is ` 600. For an organization desktops, 50 network printers and 20 Wi-Fi with 300 desktops, this works out to devices ` 1.8 lakh per month. If you add the InfoAxon Technologies Nagios Uses Nagios for monitoring 25 servers for server and network components, the overseas customers costs go up exponentially,” explains Lifespring Hospitals Zabbix Uses Zabbix to monitor its internal IT Chandiramani. For large organizations infrastructure with thousands of servers and network components, the infrastructure Indo Asian Fusegear Nagios, ntop Uses open source solutions to monitor 50 management costs only due to licenses servers in addition to routers, Wi-Fi devices, can be upwards of ` 50 lakh per year. print servers and IP cameras. While lower costs continue to january 2011 i n f o r m at i o n w e e k 29
  2. 2. cover storyremain a big attraction for adoption of “organizations need to identify andopen source solutions, what has also fill functionality gaps in open sourceswung the tide in the favor of opensource is the rising number of firms solutions such as nagios”who offer professional support services.The icing on the cake is the fact thatprofessional support services are Nikhil Kapoor, CTO, InfoAxonprovided by most of the open sourcecompanies that have created the opensource product or platform. any cost,” points out Balwant Singh, monitoring 25 servers for overseas Some CIOs are also looking at Head-IT, Indo Asian Fusegear. The firm customers using source solutions as an alternative is using Nagios and ntop and is alsovendor strategy. “We wanted an exploring OSSIM (Open Source Security Lessons from the open roadalternate licensing strategy against Information Management). Using open For enterprises that are used togoing with the normal strategy of source solutions, the firm is monitoring consulting the vendor for any problemschoosing a traditional software vendor. 50 servers in addition to routers, Wi-Fi that they face while using the vendor’sUsage of open source tools is a viable devices, print servers and IP cameras. solutions, open source may initiallystrategy to reduce software licensing The ability to customize and pose some minor roadblocks. While thecosts, which are probably the single innovate is a big draw for system software itself is free to use as therelargest cost for most IT capex budgets integrators and service providers, as is no license, many enterprises mayin an enterprise,” says Noel Thomas, VP- IT and CISO, Integreon. Besides lower costs, customization the open source community thrives on sharingis a big attraction. For example, of knowledge and overcoming issues. hence,InfoAxon Technologies, which calls itselfIndia’s first open source integration organizations must be open to share their experiencecompany, uses Nagios to monitor the – both good and bad with their peershealth of its servers and proactivelymanage the availability of missioncritical business applications for its they can add features according to find the learning curve steep. To getcustomers. The firm chose Nagios as business requirements. acquainted, Indian CIOs are turning toit wanted a tool which was easy to “We have enhanced Nagios and the Internet, and resolving problemsconfigure and did not have a complex written our own monitoring agents for by posting their queries in dedicatedand heavy footprint. monitoring processes and integrated forums. Hence, as open source tools it with an SMS engine for automated “We did self learning over theare maturing with active help from alerts on mobiles. We have also Internet, installed the package ourselvesthe community, CIOs are using this integrated Nagios with other open on a test server, learnt the nuancesopportunity to customize open source source BI frameworks for complex of the same over a period of time andtools to suit their unique requirements. data analysis and visualization. This then started the implementation,” says“In the case of open source, we select has helped us in providing SLA-based Dhir of JSL. Dhir says that his teamthe features required by us and not support and maintenance services to had to adjust the threshold levels forwhat the product offers. Moreover, our customers,” explains Sanjib Dey, alerts generated by the application soif you have an internal IT team, then OSS Infrastructure Head, InfoAxon that there were no false alarms andthe same can be implemented without Technologies. The firm is currently the firm did not miss out on important alerts. Once this was fine tuned, it has been smooth sailing and today JSL can“most CIos do not have the experience or monitor all its important devices.the people with the required skill sets to While savings in license costs areget the best out of open source solutions” a big motivation, adoption of open source without a proper roadmap can lead to failure of using open source to its full potential. “As a leading open Manoj Chandiramani, President and CEO, SAIMAA Global Solutions source monitoring platform, Nagios provides the key business benefits of30 i n f o r m a t i o n w e e k ja nua ry 2 0 1 1
  3. 3. flexibility and innovation at fraction of “Usage of open source tools is acosts. However, as with any other open viable strategy to reduce softwaresource solution, one needs to have aproper roadmap around what you want licensing costs”to achieve out of the solution—both inthe short term and the long term. Mostorganizations stop at just implementing Noel Thomas, VP - IT & CISO, Integreonits out-of-box capabilities,” says NikhilKapoor, CTO, InfoAxon. Kapoor advises CIOs to plan “Organizations must follow the Plan Do of open source solutions. With ourand invest for continuous upgrades, Check Act (PDCA) cycle. In fact, Plan experience, we can build and manageresources and documentation. He also and Check in great detail before you the open source infrastructure and offerbelieves that organizations need to start Do and Act,” cautions Dhir. it as a service,” says Chandiramani. Theidentify and fill the functionality gaps in For CIOs who are just starting out firm has already signed three customersopen source solutions such as Nagios. to explore the open road, choosing for managing infrastructure using open“Analysis and visualization gaps can non-critical applications may be a source solutions. As Chandiramani’sbe filled by integration of other open starting point. “Consider open source firm takes away the trouble ofsource analysis software and reporting tools for your non-mission critical areas. installing, configuring and monitoringframeworks. Similarly, open source After doing your research on available the infrastructure and provides it atsolutions can be integrated with SMS options, consider the impact - both a fraction of the costs of comparablefor rule-based alerts on mobile phones. direct and indirect – on the criticality of proprietary solutions provided by otherFurther, integration with help desk or the area where you are deploying the vendors, his firm is seeing huge demandbug tracking software can be done to tool,” opines Thomas of Integreon. from corporates who are keen to tryautomatically create support tickets,” Like most areas, experience matters open source solutions.explains Kapoor. in the open source arena too. Involving The open source community The timing of selecting the open a system integrator that has good thrives on sharing of knowledge andsource project can also be crucial. For experience of deploying open source overcoming issues. Hence, organizationsexample, Dhir decided to look at open solutions will help an organization must be open to share their experiencesource projects during the recessionary deploy open source effectively. For – both good and bad with their peers.period of 2009, when the whole example, SAIMAA Global Solutions Ajay Dhir, for example, shared hisorganization was trying to reduce costs. offers CIOs the option to outsource the experiences with other CIOs, andOrganizations must also be ready to entire setup of building, operating and provided them with help from his teamface criticism and pressure. managing open source infrastructure. members. To ensure success, organizations “Most CIOs do not have the “It is important to share yourmust plan well – especially if they do experience or the people with the knowledge, learning and success withnot have the guiding hand of a vendor. required skill sets to get the best out others. The more you share, the more you grow. After our case study was published SOme uSeful Open SOurce infraStructure management tOOlS by InformationWeek and honored by CIO Association of India, we got requests from Open source tool Website fellow CIOs for knowledge and experience Nagios sharing and we did so very openly. To OpenNMS our pleasant surprise, we saw these ntop companies doing the implementation GroundWork Open Source very fast and going the extra mile by implementing additional features as well,” Hyperic HQ exclaims Dhir. openQRM While the road to adoption of open Monit source solutions will be not without Munin challenges, the cost benefits and the Zabbix flexibility to customize are compelling Zenoss benefits that a CIO cannot ignore today. n Wireshark Srikanth RP ( OSSIM january 2011 i n f o r m at i o n w e e k 31