IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. is the global leader in pet healthcare innovation, serving practicing veterinarians around the world with a broad range of diagnostic and information technology-based products and services. Headquartered in southern Maine, the company has been conducting operations through more than 70 locations around the world and serves customers in over 175 countries.
To keep track of extensive IT activities, IDEXX sought to manage its data center footprint while cutting capital investment, lowering operational expenses, and attaining the agility to monitor SAP systems on demand. The desire to improve the SAP system landscapes of the organization led them to relocate to a hybrid cloud model with AWS and establish a reliable monitoring solution with IT-Conductor™, all the while minimizing business impact.
IDEXX Basis team has initially identified the following pain points in managing their SAP system landscape:
Performing manual health checks across different types of SAP systems and databases
Monitoring the surge of alerts for failed batch jobs
Lacking the capability for URL Monitoring
Keeping track of expiring certificates that may cause business interruption
Migrating systems to AWS while keeping the monitoring intact
To resolve their challenges, we have partnered with the IDEXX Basis team to build a robust strategy and develop solutions that will cater to their needs as they navigate their journey towards digital transformation.
"For several years now, IT-Conductor™ has been a proven solution for system monitoring, reporting, and automation of SAP IT operations at IDEXX. The team and platform have been a valuable part of our SAP journey to the cloud."
-Prabhat Sharma, Associate Director - SAP Application, IDEXX Laboratories
Job monitoring is at the core of monitoring SAP systems. Ensuring that background jobs are running without issues is normally one of the most laborious tasks for Basis teams, especially in an enterprise environment where several service components are making up the entire system landscape. Oftentimes, job monitoring becomes reactive and only performed when there’s a problem or at critical times like go-lives and busy processing windows.
For IDEXX, performing health checks and generating reports has been their workaround to ensuring systems are healthy. However, as the organization grows, performing this task manually has become one of its technical hurdles. With IT-Conductor™, job monitoring was improved greatly through performance intelligence where data is collected from as many service components as possible, store in a useful format, and have them readily available for analysis and report generation.
Figure 1.1 IDEXX Job Monitoring in IT-Conductor™
In a scenario where a failed job occurs in production, it can easily be detected and reported. Further analysis can be performed using the available information (i.e. start/end date and time, job name, user ID, duration, app server). The platform is also capable of storing historical data of the background jobs from the day/week/month(s) ago, giving Basis administrators more flexibility to investigate aborted jobs.
For IDEXX, user experience is of utmost importance. Part of their efforts to continuously improve user experience is to ensure that their business-critical websites are up and running smoothly. With the different factors affecting website performance, it would be a challenge to ensure websites are performing at their highest capacity without a comprehensive monitoring tool in place.
Figure 2.1 IDEXX URL Monitoring in IT-Conductor™
ITC addressed this concern with its capability to monitor URLs. Integrated within the same service grid, website availability, response time, and HTTP status codes can easily be examined. In a scenario where users are experiencing problems accessing websites, the Basis team can easily gather information using the platform’s drill-down feature, isolate the issue, and determine whether the root cause of the problem is concerning the network, a particular infrastructure resource, or perhaps, just an influx of users accessing the website at a specific time window.
Business-critical applications rely heavily on databases. This is the very reason why database monitoring is important to keep the business afloat. For IDEXX, monitoring Oracle databases once involved a manual and reactive approach because managing several database instances is increasingly becoming more difficult as the environment grows in size.
Figure 3.1 IDEXX Oracle Monitoring in IT-Conductor™
With IT-Conductor™, monitoring Oracle resources including memory, tablespaces, and sessions are easily done from the same service grid with the other service components in the enterprise environment. This made it easier for IDEXX to see the availability and performance of Oracle databases in just a few clicks without the need to log in and run SQL statements, making it extremely convenient for administrators.
To further support the organizational drive of IDEXX to improve their monitoring experience, we specifically integrated Derdack, an alert notification, and mobile response software, with IT-Conductor™. This allows IDEXX users to receive critical alerts from ITC to their end devices directly. At the same time, the Basis team can also track Derdack alerts without leaving the ITC platform, harnessing the platform’s flexibility.
Figure 4.1 Derdack Enterprise Alerts in IT-Conductor™
While ITC in itself is already capable of handling the monitoring of all types of environments, we understand that organizations may still manage their systems using various solutions, whatever fits their needs.
SAP BI BusinessObjects (BOBJ) is normally seen as a challenge when it comes to monitoring its availability and performance as well as managing alerts from an enterprise operation. With IT-Conductor™, IDEXX was able to improve their monitoring experience as the platform seamlessly integrates the various components such as enterprise nodes, servers, connections, probes, and windows services with a growing list of performance counters.
Monitoring the availability of the mentioned components is critical because BI users are typically management users and business analysts needing important reports. Acknowledging this need, ITC was designed to see the system’s availability at a glance and using the platform’s hierarchical service-oriented monitoring feature, one can easily drill down and check the availability of the component in question. When it comes to reporting, the platform can easily give users a quick insight using performance views and dashboards.
BI events are managed as an alert. Using the concept of thresholds and overrides, alerts can be configured to be received only when it meets a certain condition. This feature supports alert filtering and suppression, allowing more flexible alert management.
Monitoring covers Availability, Performance and Exception/Errors Monitoring. Here is the complete list of service components currently in IT-Conductor™.
IDEXX SAP environment consists of Netweaver and J2EE systems running on Linux/Oracle and HANA.
Performance, Utilization, and Availability Monitoring across SAP NW landscape
Shortdumps Frequency, etc.
Certificate Expiration Monitoring
BW Process Chain Status
CCMS App Server Filesystems
Performance and Availability Monitoring across SAP J2EE Landscape
Certificate Expiration Monitoring
PI Services Availability Monitoring
PI Message Monitoring
Messages Not Delivered
Resource Limits, etc.
Total Used Space
Top SQL Statements monitoring
Enterprise Nodes Monitoring
Jobs (i.e. Failed jobs)
Crystal Reports Service, etc.
Replication Backlog Time
Service Performance Overview
Indexserver CPU Utilization
Derdack Aborted Jobs Alerts Report
IDEXX PROD ABAP Health KPI Daily Reports
IDEXX PROD Java Health KPI Daily Reports
Automated Schedule Maintenance
With the growing adoption of SAP HANA, we anticipated the migration of our customers including IDEXX. When they were finally ready to make the move, we were there to support them. At the time, IT-Conductor™ was well-positioned to migrate from Oracle databases to HANA while providing holistic monitoring of its entire system landscape. The vast array of supported technologies and databases by ITC made it effortless to perform the migration.
As a partner in this journey, IT-Conductor™ was used to:
✓Auto-schedule the maintenance window for the period of the migration.
✓ Avoid surge of unwanted alerts during the downtime phase of the migration.
✓ Ensure the continuity of the monitoring of their enterprise-grade application and the HANA environment.
IT-Conductor™ is the partner of choice for the migration of homogeneous and heterogeneous databases.
The IDEXX migration of SAP systems from on-prem to Amazon Web Services (AWS) was also performed seamlessly while keeping the monitoring intact through the agentless technology of IT-Conductor™. From migration readiness and planning up to the actual migration, IDEXX was able to utilize ITC as its sole monitoring tool.
"We are proud and honored to have been an instrumental part of IDEXX's effort to manage, monitor and migrate the SAP environment for almost 10 years"
-Linh Nguyen - CEO & Co-founder, IT-Conductor Inc.
IT-Conductor™ is a fully managed software-as-a-service automation platform for remote agentless monitoring, performance management, and IT operations for SAP solutions. When automating application performance management, global enterprise customers gained a valuable global remote trusted advisor for the entire SAP ecosystem, focusing on IT process automation/SysOps (apps, database, OS, cloud infrastructure), application, IT, and security monitoring (on-premise, cloud, and hybrid), enterprise service management (application health, SLA management, service desk), and real-time reporting and analytics (performance intelligence).
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