Cheshire Constabulary has adopted software from SolarWinds to monitor and track the performance of its IT systems across the county.
The police force has headquarters in Winsford, between Manchester and Liverpool, and serves almost one million people in the North West.
To get the job done there are 4,000 employees across 45 sites, responsible for law enforcement for almost one million people and, as a result, there are a lot of IT systems and a lot of room for error.
“Prior to having a dedicated monitoring and management system, we found – more often than not – that our customers told us we had IT issues before we knew,” said Chris Newton, network and storage manager for Cheshire Constabulary.
The force was originally using HP Systems Insight Manager to try to keep on top of the performance of its servers and storage deployments, with the addition of Link Analyst for watching the network. However, it felt having two separate systems made the large-scale job more difficult.
Monitoring network performance
Newton was also looking for something he considered to be “proactive”, giving the ability to see and rectify bottlenecks in the infrastructure rather than reacting to issues once they had already happened.
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“We wanted to have a single product that could monitor all the different aspects of our infrastructure,” he said.
Cheshire Constabulary decided on SolarWinds’ Network Performance Monitor (NPM) tool after viewing the free online demos the company prides itself on. It bought a number of licences, which SolarWinds sells on a per-disk basis, using the storage capacity as its pricing structure.
The browser-based dashboard displays all the devices running on the network and enables a user to dive into each one to view performance by a number of metrics, such as IOP and response times. This makes it simple to identify the roots of any problems and gives the ability to find gaps where systems could be improved.
Centralising and simplifying IT management
“SolarWinds products have given our technical teams the ability to monitor all aspects of our infrastructure that enables proactive fault-finding as well as important diagnostics to help diagnose faults,” said Newton.
SolarWinds provides us with the basis to find the root cause and resolution much faster
Chris Newton, Cheshire Constabulary
“We are now in a position whereby we know we have issues before our customers, but more importantly, we know where our issues are. This provides us with the basis to find the root cause and resolution much faster. We are now more proactive and can address issues before they start to affect our customer base,” he added.
Since the installation of the NPM, Cheshire Constabulary has added SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) and SolarWinds Storage Manager to its arsenal, which again can all be viewed from the one central hub via a browser.
Newton sang particular praise for the “very affordable price” and concluded: “On the back of our implementation and the benefits we’ve experienced, other police constabularies across the UK have followed suit and implemented SolarWinds solutions.”