North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue serves the communities and people of North Yorkshire in the North of England. The service receives approximately 19,000 emergency calls each year and responds to over 9,000 incidents. These include incidents that involve fire as well as attending road traffic accidents, rail disasters and others. Over 850 employees operate from 39 sites around the County.
The efficiency of the service is dependent on communication. IT communications play an important part in this. All 39 sites are connected over a Wide Area Network, which comprises of Cisco routers using a combination of fixed lines and ISDN.
Running IT within a 24hour service organisation presents many challenges. Kyle Whittle, Development Support Technician explains why he first started to look at network management.
“Our requirement covered a number of areas. Our key drivers included understanding network issues during and outside of office hours through alerting, monitoring how bandwidth is being utilised in order to reduce infrastructure costs and looking for spikes in traffic to trace where it is coming from. We quickly found that SNMPc from Castle Rock provided a solution in all of these areas and no other product could touch it for price and functionality.”
First, Kyle downloaded and installed the free 30 day evaluation of SNMPc. Installation is straight forward, with the product automatically discovering and mapping the network, allowing the user to set up a structure for alerting. Kyle defined a number of thresholds so that he and the rest of the IT team would receive email or SMS messages when these were exceeded, an invaluable feature when IT resources need to be accessible on a 24 hour basis. This alerting system not only informs the staff when there are issues, such as errors on devices, but can also act as an early warning system, letting the team know of issues before they become critical.
Reports were then set up to look at bandwidth utilisation on links, to gain visibility of which were used most heavily. Profiling this data over a period of time is useful for capacity planning and builds up a picture of utilisation, which helps to determine whether the links have been sized correctly. Viewing SNMPc reports makes it easy to make a judgement on whether specific links need upgrading or downgrading. This also allows the service to make accurate predictions of current and future WAN costs.
North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue opted for UK partner Teneoís after sales package of training and installation. The system was fully configured to the serviceís requirement and key staff were trained on how to derive maximum usage from the system, utilizing all features.
A number of benefits quickly became apparent, including reduction of costs, greater reliability and availability of the network and the ability to plan for the future. Configuration issues have been identified and corrected to enable informed decisions on down or upgrading links.