“With Centreon, we can handle and relate disconnected events, gaining a better understanding of the context and root cause of problems in the IT environment. This is done by leveraging application and system log data. Analyzing the relationship between events informs issue prioritization and decision-making, resulting in more accurate alerts, which in the end reduce the time spent managing issues.” Alisson Mesquita, Networking Monitoring Center Manager, Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa (RNP)
The project in a nutshell
Centreon IT Edition is part of the toolbox used by RNP, Brazil’s public research, educational, and cultural organizations network specialist, to provide secure and constant connectivity to 4 million researchers, academics, and students.
Business objective: Provide the secure and faultless connectivity needed to support teaching, research, and innovation in Brazil
- Provide 4 million researchers, academics, and students with secure, continuous, high-capacity internet and networking services
- Contribute to strengthening Brazil’s academic and research innovation capabilities through state-of-the-art connectivity
ITOM objectives: Ensure constant visibility over RNP’s national and state academic network links and data center
- Seamlessly manage a large number of geographically dispersed monitoring sites
- Meet superior service quality objectives
- Allow for more automation and optimized IT operations
The solution: Centreon IT Edition
- Improved service level agreement compliance
- Accelerated MTTR
- Integration of IT monitoring to security ops: security issues better anticipated through improved awareness of network issues
- More effective IT operations
The Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa (RNP) is a not-for-profit public-private partnership providing secure, high-capacity internet, customized networking services, and promoting innovation projects in academic and research institutions throughout Brazil. RNP thus offers advanced and high-availability connectivity to 4 million end users, among which teachers, researchers, and students. Over the years, IT monitoring has become a crucial part of RNP’s mandate. RNP monitors its client institutions’ IT equipment and services, on top of monitoring its national and state academic network links and data center infrastructure, which amounts to over 14,102 monitored services and 2,882 hosts.
The main challenge for RNP was to deploy a monitoring architecture that was flexible enough to allow local and NOC access, while promoting unified IT monitoring practices for collaboration between IT stakeholders, ITOps and SecOps, for example. Remote servers, monitoring connectors (Plugin Packs), and dashboarding capabilities are the pillars of RNP’s advanced IT monitoring practices.
The Centreon IT Edition provides exactly the flexibility RNP needs, with 34 monitoring servers installed in each of the 27 Brazilian states including the Federal District, as well as an ability to correlate incidents for a deeper, cross-functional understanding of IT issues, which has enhanced service quality and MTTR.
Since 2018, RNP’s Centreon platform has proven to be a robust ally for more secure, effective, and seamless IT operations. And as IT monitoring needs to evolve at the same speed as business needs, RNP is confident the Centreon platform will easily scale up as they add new capabilities, such as service mapping or AIOps.
The full story
Brazil’s platform for academic and scientific connectivity
Founded as a public-service organization in 1989 with the goal to build a national internet network infrastructure for academic and research use, the Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa (RNP) is today a not-for-profit public-private partnership providing secure, high-capacity internet, customized networking services, and promoting innovation projects in a network of academic and research institutions.
RNP thus offers advanced and high-availability connectivity to 4 million end users, among which teachers, researchers, and students. Universities, educational and cultural institutes, research agencies, teaching hospitals, technological parks, and hubs from across Brazil are part of RNP’s extensive network of clients. In total, RNP serves 800 institutions. RNP is also responsible for connecting its clients to other education and research networks across the globe, through terrestrial and submarine fiber optic cables.
Over the years, IT monitoring has become a crucial part of RNP’s mandate, and since adopting Centreon IT Edition in 2018, IT monitoring has become a robust ally for more secure, cost effective and seamless IT operations. RNP monitors IT equipment and services, on top of monitoring its national and state academic network links and data center infrastructure.
“We use Centreon for continuous IT monitoring to correlate problems and investigate possible causes—it’s an integral part of the means we take to ensure high-quality, uninterrupted service availability. IT Monitoring is also a tool we use to continuously improve service delivery and customer experience,” explains Alisson Mesquita, Networking Monitoring Center Manager, Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa (RNP).
RNP transitioned from Centreon Open Source to Centreon IT Edition in 2018 because they needed to augment their capacity to monitor a wide range of services dispersed across Brazil’s large territory. IT being table-stake to research and education activities, and given the scope of Brazil’s territory, RNP also needed flexible architecture options to enable both local teams and NOC, providing easy data sharing and log access, for virtually instant issue analysis and remediation. In short, they needed a decentralized yet collaborative IT monitoring platform supporting all IT stakeholders.
Decentralizing the monitoring strategy to cover more ground
As RNP’s IT team monitors 800 learning and research installations distributed across the 27 regions of the world’s 5th largest country, they used Centreon to build a decentralized IT monitoring platform capable of collecting historical data from all corners of the IT environment which are then analyzed to determine the overall health of the system and to diagnose issues before they disrupt the work of end users.
RNP thus monitors a large number of services— “In one state alone, there can be over 1300 services made available to the research and learning community,” explains Alisson. “Centreon makes this possible through its very unique architecture which lets you combine central and remote servers.” RNP has implemented the solution with 34 servers installed in each Brazilian state.
“In effect, our Centreon platform is perfectly suited to our specific needs as an organization covering a large territory and overseeing a wide diversity of technologies,” concludes Alisson.
Monitoring anything, anywhere
Aside from monitoring an extensive network and its numerous assets, RNP’s team monitors everything from video collaboration (an essential function for academic and research operations), digital diploma and issuance of certificates systems, as well as hosting and storage equipment. In achieving this, the team makes good use of a range of unique Centreon features: Plugin Packs, to monitor any technology in a snap, and Stream Connectors, to seamlessly integrate with other ITOps tools.
The same IT monitoring platform provides the tools to accomplish a broad range of purposes, from everyday technical support and capacity planning to more advanced analysis and innovation enablement. Alisson’s advice to any organization looking to implement Centreon is to take the time to map and organize service groups and hosts for optimal visibility and collaboration around IT operations.
Decentralized architecture, unified platform used by all support tiers
As much as the Centreon IT monitoring platform provides an advantage for local control, it also offers the benefits of a unified, collaborative platform used by all support tiers. Different RNP teams use the platform at different levels and for different purposes. “We have a team of IT monitoring analysts who can identify and resolve level 1 issues, which do not require advanced troubleshooting or specific subject matter expertise. But we also have staff that troubleshoot more complex, level 2 issues, and subject matter experts (SMEs) solving complex level 3-type of issues through Centreon’s data correlation capabilities,” explains Alisson.
“Centreon is great because it answers so many needs at once. It goes from responding to simple issues to more advanced problem solving, to finding new IT monitoring use cases supporting emerging networking technologies for teaching and research innovations. In all cases, Centreon makes it easy to solve IT issues.”
Continuous transformation is the new DX paradigm
The era of radical technological transformations is gone. Today, the quest to achieve performance gains is centered on a continuous flow of technological improvements. Network Operation Centers (NOCs) are now actioning business strategies by virtualizing, consolidating, or modernizing networks in a continuous fashion, with the end goal of improving security, enabling automation, and optimizing operations. And IT monitoring must follow suit. “An IT monitoring platform must not become the chain’s weak link, with inherent constraints that limit observability and the ability to support and guide constant optimization efforts,” illustrates Alisson.
In other words, a robust IT monitoring platform can very well pay for itself. “Centreon helped RNP solve issues at the IT monitoring level that were limiting overall IT operation performance. Technical constraints at the IT monitoring level result in service slowdown, teams are distracted by false alarms and do not concentrate on important issues… a weak monitoring platform can be detrimental to running effective IT operations,” states Alisson.
“Centreon is not only a highly reliable IT monitoring platform, but also is a cost-effective solution that provides visibility into how resources are used and spent, supporting optimization efforts and limiting the need to add more tools into the observability mix. The RNP team particularly likes transforming data into IT monitoring dashboards,” adds Alisson.
Supporting the collaboration of ITOps and SecurityOps
Security is today’s chief preoccupation in NOCs around the world, and RNP is no exception, especially considering the strategic and sensitive mission of the organizations it supports. ITOps and SecurityOps are now integrated at RNP, which makes for a strengthened organization. “Centreon helped NOC teams resolve issues that were originally perceived as network issues but were in fact emerging security incidents. There’s no time to waste in the event of a breach, so an IT monitoring platform like Centreon, which enables swift troubleshooting and remedial action, can truly make a difference in teaming up with SecurityOps to help safeguard against potential data breaches or network attacks,” says Alisson.
Getting ready for AIOps
Organizations approach AIOps in the same way they do their digital transformation, incrementally, acquiring basic capabilities and building on them over time. For RNP, event correlation capabilities are a precursor of AIOps and this Centreon advanced feature is widely used and deeply embedded in the teams’ IT monitoring practices. “With Centreon, you can handle and relate disconnected events, gaining a better understanding of the context and root cause of problems in the IT environment. This is done by leveraging application and system log data. Analyzing the relationship between events informs issue prioritization and decision-making, resulting in more accurate alerts, which in the end reduce the time spent managing issues. From that basis, we’re building capabilities for automatic fault correlation and remediation,” highlights Alisson.
Looking forward: Fine-tuning the business view
IT monitoring practices, like anything else at RNP, are constantly being optimized and improved. “We’re looking to develop our service mapping capabilities, which will help us manage costs for our clients. Many services are paid for in dollars and the currency exchange forces us to be even more budget-efficient, so our services are affordable for the organizations we serve and more resources can go towards their core business: research and teaching,” says Alisson.
When the time comes, advanced service mapping capabilities will easily be accessible to RNP through upgrading to the Centreon Business Edition.
“The Centreon platform scales to our needs, today’s and tomorrow’s, and that gives us confidence in our ability to evolve our IT monitoring practices and support innovation,” concludes Alisson.