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15.02.2010 18:10 Age: 9 yrs
Category: News, Case Study

For CAE Technology Services, Cyclone Technology's netPrefect is proving to be the ideal answer to the problem of managing multiple customer networks in a flexible, efficient and cost-effective way

CAE Technology Services is a leading provider of remote support and managed services to UK organisations.

Proving its worth

For CAE Technology Services, Cyclone Technology's netPrefect™ is proving to be the ideal answer to the problem of managing multiple customer networks in a flexible, efficient and cost-effective way.

CAE Technology Services is a leading provider of remote support and managed services to UK organisations. From its dedicated network operations centre, it provides round-the clock monitoring and management of network infrastructure and help desk support to a variety of customers in the commercial and private sectors. When it decided that it needed to implement a management system that would enable its expert networking technicians to provide a consistent, reliable remote service to customers, it turned to Cyclone Technology's netPrefect™ suite.

Previously, the company had been using a variety of different solutions for different customers. This was not ideal, as Lee Gatland, Technical Director, CAE Technology Services explains.

"We were not happy with the solutions we had been using, in fact we were using different solutions for different customers and that was not ideal. It also means, if you are using several different applications, that you have to be familiar with them all and keep up to speed on all of them. That's time consuming and if you have to use half a dozen monitoring programs, you are never going to be as familiar with all of them as you would be if you were using just one."

Gatland and his colleagues decided that it would be better if they we could move towards using a single management platform that met all its own and its customers needs. This would be more efficient and cost-effective and enable CAE to provide a better and more comprehensive managed services offering.

Positive impression

CAE had become aware of Cyclone's netPrefect™ system through a targeted marketing campaign and decided to take a closer look. Gatland was impressed from the start.

"They came to see us and we liked what we saw. What we liked even more was that Cyclone were willing to listen to what we wanted and adapt their software to fit in with our needs. That was very important. We did start to look at other products but frankly, we were in no great hurry and netPrefect™ seemed to have everything we were looking for in terms of remote monitoring and management."

CAE's priority was having the ability to accurately monitor customer networks. As well as It picking up any incidents on networks, it also wanted to be able to provide detailed customer reports to customers. The netPrefect™ system fully met requirements in both areas. It was also important that netPrefect could support Cisco equipment, as many of CAE's customers have networks that largely based on the vendor's technology. In this respect, netPrefect™ was ideal as it has been developed and thoroughly stress-tested in Cisco environments. There was no question that it would be reliable.

CAE and Cyclone worked together to build in the added functionality that was required and get the system up and running. Cyclone were very helpful and co-operative in this regard, notes Gatland.

"They came up to see us and went through what was required in detail and made a number of modifications we asked for subsequently as well. We then started a pilot of the system alongside the existing applications that we were using with one particular customer. We ran that for about three months and it went very well indeed. After that time we switched to using netPrefect™ as the primary monitoring system and so far, it has worked very well for us."

Admirable performer

While there have been no exceptional issues to deal with since the system was installed, netPrefect™ has performed admirably, says Gatland.

"It has certainly done its job and provided us with a very simple and efficient way to monitor the customers network and ensure that everything is running smoothly. If there are any issues we are alerted via email straight away so we can and deal with it quickly, before it develops into a real problem. So far, it's worked very well for us."

Gatland says that while there is no obvious stand-out feature of netPrefect™, what he likes most about the system, is its comprehensive functionality and flexible deployment model.

"We can remotely monitor just about any kind of network traffic - indeed, any kind of network - from a central point, without having to deploy special agents right across the system and without having to pay the per-user licenses is what appeals to us most strongly. Functionally, it is very powerful and although we are using perhaps only a tenth of what it is capable of at present, it is good to know that the features and the functionality is there if you need it. I am sure that, in time, we are going to need to call on many more of those capabilities."

Cyclone itself has been very supportive and shown that they are more than capable of looking after customers very well indeed, he adds.

"They are clearly very technically competent and have a very good understanding of what's required from a network management system - and especially from an MSPs perspective. The netPrefect™ software - with the tailoring that Cyclone did for us - does everything we need it to and more but I think the biggest benefit for us is the fact that Cyclone were willing to modify the system to meet our needs. That's probably not something you would get from most management software providers and it makes a real difference for us. Also, the fact that they are UK-based and always ready and willing to help us in any way they can, is important. We do have a certain level of dependency on the management software and it is vitally important to us that we keep our customers happy and that depends on a very large degree on us making sure that their networks stay up and running. In summary, it's a combination of the personal service they provide and their technical capability."

Looking ahead, CAE plans to use netPrefect™ to monitor all its managed services customers systems. It plans, in time, to reduce usage of other packages and migrate all existing customers across to netPrefect™. It is now putting the system forward as its primary management platform for new contracts.

Building a reputation

Gatland is confident that netPrefect can do a good job for all CAE's customers

"It has a pretty wide ranging functionality and a good set of features so I think we will be able to use it for just about every conceivable situation"

he states.

Whilst it is difficult to pinpoint the exact benefits that deploying netPrefect™ has brought to CAE, Gatland is absolutely sure that it was a good decision to adopt the software as its primary management platform.

"netPrefect™ basically does exactly what it is supposed to do. We have deployed it on the basis that it will help us to deliver a better, more efficient, consistent and reliable managed service to our customers and so far, there is every indication that it will indeed help us to do that."

"We have really only just started using it in anger so we are yet to see most of the benefits but I'm expecting it to work faultlessly and to enable us to fully monitor customer networks and ensure that we deliver to our SLAs. If it helps us to do that, it will help us to build a strong reputation in the managed services market and in the end, being able to develop and live up to that reputation is what will bring new business to our door and make us successful in the long-term. If netPrefect helps us to build that reputation and ultimately succeed as an MSP, it will have more than proven its worth."