IT managed services specialists, Blue Chip, provide and manage critical systems for many of the UK’s largest brands. Itheon is a critical component of the service they deliver – various teams within Blue Chip use it every day to monitor customers’ infrastructure and software systems.
As Itheon’s first and largest client, we caught up with some of Blue Chip’s experts to gain an insight into how it helps them deliver an excellent
Itheon is arguably the most effective enterprise monitoring solution on the market today. Unlike some monitoring tools, it allows users to manipulate information displayed with ease so that they can focus on the critical stuff.
What does Itheon actually mean for Blue Chip?
“We can only do what we do with Itheon, it monitors and manages all aspects of our customer systems.”
Stuart Hayden / IBM i Technical Lead, Blue Chip
Stuart Hayden is Technical Lead for the IBMi team at Blue Chip. He manages a team of 21 experts who look after 350 customer systems on a daily basis. “We can only do what we do with Itheon,” he says. “It monitors and manages all aspects of our customer systems.”
Itheon identifies critical alerts and monitors messages, informing the Blue Chip team when thresholds have been breached or something needs fixing, along with automatically resolving incidents as much as possible.
It’s the automation aspect of Itheon that makes the biggest difference by eliminating or significantly reducing the need for human interaction, says Hayden.
“Itheon allows us to automate the resolution of routine issues; it’s our intelligent eye on each customer’s system. In every deployment we don’t just take on what the customer’s got, we look to automate and reduce the alerts.
“We review alerts regularly for automation opportunities so that our operators are able to ‘cut out the noise’ and prioritise critical ones.”
First and foremost, Blue Chip’s Operations Service Desk team uses Itheon to make sure servers are responding and communicating with the monitoring software. As well as server responsiveness, they also use it to monitor disk space to ensure that they can continue to run applications and processes.
Darren Cornish is Blue Chip’s Intel Operations Service Desk Supervisor; he looks after 12 operators based at Blue Chip’s Tier 3 & 4 data centres.
He explains: “From an enterprise monitoring point of view, Itheon shows early warnings of potential critical failures. Another thing we use is backup monitoring; we back up our customer’s servers every night so if there was a potential to lose one Itheon would tell us.”
Itheon is an agile software solution that can be configured according to the users’ requirements. This is particularly useful for Blue Chip because they work in so many different verticals, including retail and banking.
For instance, one of Blue Chip’s customer’s servers might be set to breach at 90% storage capacity, whereas others may be set to 95%. Central rules also enable users to implement changes across multiple systems at any one time.
Evans explains: “You can set up central rules to exclude things you don’t need to monitor. Say there’s a server undergoing maintenance or being decommissioned; if we want to remove it from monitoring, we don’t actually need to connect to the server, disable the services and make a change to the backend of Itheon; we can just set up the central rule.”
Mark Richardson is Intel Support Lead at Blue Chip. He notes that the customisation comes in particularly handy in relation to monitoring applications for different industries.
“Some of our banking customers have specific rules set up around their software applications; we use Itheon to automate some of their workload and eliminate the need for human interaction. Itheon can be configured to do almost anything you want it to which enables us to tailor it for each of our customers,” he explains.
Another example of Itheon’s capacity for bespoke automation relates to the retail industry.
Blue Chip’s Intel Solutions Lead David Smith, adds: “During seasonal peaks like Black Friday, some of our retail customers have systems that are incredibly busy.
“We use Itheon to shut down non-critical services so that maximum processing power is available for core processes.”
One of Itheon’s primary benefits is that it’s easy to use and navigate. Users can customise the design of their dashboard for consistency and brand continuity. Blue Chip is able to monitor/ manage 350 customer applications in a single pane of glass.
It’s an all-in-one and eliminates the need for disparate systems. Installation is also easy to set up and the software can be up, running and reporting in five minutes. Itheon’s out of the box rules act as a solid foundation for customisation.
We asked Evans to provide an overview of how this works from a technical perspective.
“Itheon allows you to set up filters quickly which means you don’t have to worry about going through long development procedures where you might spend a week trying to get a single filter changed.
“For instance, you can set up a filter like the one I’m using now for our priority applications; they’re easy to modify and change on the fly.”
In today’s uncertain climate, control is more important than ever.
Itheon allows customers to retain control and gives them insight into the service that Blue Chip is delivering. Blue Chip notes that some of the customers they provide hardware maintenance to have no monitoring and this has the potential to put them in a compromised position. Whereas they’re used to having ‘hands and eyes’ over their IT infrastructure in-house, remote working during lockdown means they have no control.
Itheon puts control back into business’ hands and enables them to monitor critical applications and systems anywhere in the world, remotely.