“Centreon’s openness, data collection and correlation engine, and monitoring connectors (Plugin Packs) are key features that are saving us a lot of time in monitoring and controlling IT systems. Thanks to these features, we’ve been able to automate tedious tasks and implement advanced functionalities that brought benefits to all our teams.”Khalid Bounoun – Monitoring and Cybersecurity Engineer
The project in a nutshell: oversee 47 sites around the world, while accounting for local requirements
Strategic objectives: Centralize the monitoring of a heterogeneous IT system while tailoring to local site requirements.
- Modernize monitoring, broadening its scope and improving visibility.
- Guarantee IT availability in each of the 47 subsidiaries worldwide.
- Seamlessly integrate monitoring, managing different levels of criticality and requirements.
- Provide more autonomy and nurture the skills of local IT managers.
IT objectives: Support the cloud migration, for complete peace of mind
- Acquire a solution that can monitor a hybrid environment.
- Ensure teams are enabled with the required functionalities to monitor cloud-based applications.
The solution: Centreon Business Edition
Key benefits: Time savings and added value for all
- Greater reliability thanks to the auto-discovery engine, which guarantees all the equipment is monitored.
- Easier integration of the IT system of new subsidiaries.
- Relevant and flexible alert management.
- Dashboards that can be tailored to each IT and business stakeholder.
- Subsidiaries benefit from greater autonomy granted by a flexible monitoring architecture.
Gerflor Group is a France-born multinational company that creates, manufactures, and markets innovative, decorative, and sustainable vinyl flooring, wallcovering, and finishes. The company serves professionals and consumers, from installation to the finishing touches. With a presence on 5 continents, Gerflor Group comprises 29 subsidiaries, 12 manufacturing units, and 5 technological centers. The company employs 4,000 people and generates 70% of its sales through exports. “Within the IT Department, the Infrastructure division manages monitoring for all of the Group’s IT, with some interactions with manufacturing IT,” explains Khalid Bounoun, Monitoring and Cybersecurity Engineer. “Due to the large number of subsidiaries, our group’s IT assets are very heterogeneous. We have decided to centralize our IT system and are now organized geographically, with local IT support teams catering to our 47 international sites.”
As the group is constantly expanding, the IT systems of new entities must be rapidly integrated, sometimes under significant constraints. The principal objective for the project was therefore to allow IT monitoring to be managed from a central location in France, from where the aim is to control the global IT system, while affording local teams enough autonomy to manage their own IT based on their specific needs. On top of needing to manage a heterogenous, global IT system, the IT Department and the monitoring team had a second objective: supporting the cloud migration. Centreon made it possible to meet both objectives.
Prior to implementing Centreon in 2017, monitoring was highly centralized and could not be tailored to the needs of local IT teams. As the previous monitoring solution proved to be too basic for the group’s complex requirements, a project for modernizing monitoring was undertaken. A search for a new solution was launched to gain the advanced automation functionalities that would expand the monitoring perimeter and provide complete visibility over the company’s entire IT system. Centreon was thus selected for its automation features, performance, scalability and extensive catalog of monitoring connectors (formerly named Plugin Packs).
Managed from a central IT Department location, monitoring is deployed across 47 subsidiaries sites in total, organized by geographical zone. It is based on an architecture that includes a central server and 7 pollers.
Dashboards have been created with Centreon and made available to internal monitoring “customers,” on display screens. These dashboards are tailored to the unique business needs of each internal customer. Centreon is also used to measure the sustainability of IT operations, through collecting data on power consumption and server room temperature, for example.
Khalid uses Centreon on a daily basis, and appreciates the time savings and reliability gains offered by the automation and auto-discovery features, thanks to which blind spots can easily be revealed, ensuring that all equipment is monitored: “I couldn’t tell you how much time I’ve saved with Centreon, but what I can say for sure is that I’ve been able to implement things that I wouldn’t have imagined possible without Centreon, and which are benefiting all the teams. What are Centreon’s strong points? Its openness, which means we can write our own scripts, its data collection and correlation engine, and its monitoring connectors (Plugin Packs), which are absolute time savers. All this adds value to our monitoring system, because we’re implementing features that we wouldn’t have implemented if we’d had to do it manually.”
The full story
The Gerflor Group is a reputed French manufacturing multinational and global leader known for its resilient flooring and wallcovering solutions. Present on 5 continents Gerflor operates 47 sites worldwide, each with its own IT system. Gerflor’s IT Department chose to centralize the monitoring of its global IT system with Centreon all the while affording local entities autonomy. Since it was deployed in 2017, the Centreon monitoring solution has proven its worth. IT teams, whether corporate or plant-based, recognize the solution’s reliability, efficiency, its powerful capabilities as well as its ability to support the entire group’s cloud migration.
GERFLOR Group: Welcome to a world of solutions
The Gerflor Group is a French industrial group that designs, manufactures and markets innovative, decorative, eco-friendly, and holistic solutions for resilient flooring, linoleum, wall and accessibility coverings, as well as safety and anti-static flooring, from installation to finishing for professionals and consumers. Active in 20 markets and 100 countries, the group counts 29 subsidiaries, 12 production units and 5 technology centers. Gerflor employs 4000 people and generates 70% of its sales from exports. The Digital Transformation Division (DTD) is comprised of the Transversal Projects Division and the IT Department (70 people), which is responsible for IT management for the entire Group, except for industrial IT, which is handled by a dedicated division due to highly specific needs. “Within the IT Department, the Infrastructure division manages monitoring for all the Group’s IT, sometimes interacting with industrial IT,” explains Khalid Bounoun, Monitoring and Cybersecurity Engineer, who manages monitoring at Gerflor.
“Due to the group’s large number of subsidiaries, we have very heterogeneous IT assets. We decided to centralize IT grouping sites in geographical zones allowing collaboration with local IT teams. We adopted this federated model being aware that each of our seven zones has its own specificities and must therefore be able to define its own configuration and metrics.”
Strategic objectives: guaranteeing IT availability across the group’s 47 international sites
The group is constantly expanding, requiring that new entities be swiftly integrated to the broader IT system, while making allowance for significant constraints. IT is managed from a central location based in France, but the aim is to provide each local team with enough to manage their specific needs. Khalid explains:
“Some of our applications are highly critical. We monitor such applications, but depending on the site, they can be deployed under different versions and criticality levels. So, for a given ERP, we can implement varying monitoring scopes, tailored to each site’s needs.”
The specific needs of each entity must be fully considered, and the IT Department thus opted for a streamlined yet customizable approach. Managing IT performance in this context requires a monitoring tool flexible enough to match this approach. For example, some sites have only basic monitoring needs, with metrics essentially focused on infrastructure, while others require more advanced data on logs and databases, for example.
ITOM challenges: monitoring a heterogeneous, hybrid system in the context of a cloud transition
Beyond the heterogeneous nature of the IT system, the IT Department and its monitoring team were facing another challenge: cloud migration. While most applications and infrastructure are still on premises, migration to the cloud is underway with defined short-term objectives, as Khalid points out.
“We’ve started to migrate a pilot site to datacenters, and in the long term we want everything to be in the cloud. Whenever possible, the purchase of new licenses is for SaaS options. This means our monitoring must manage a hybrid environment undergoing a cloud transition.”
The monitoring scope is very broad and heterogeneous, covering the usual IT domains such as networks, servers, applications, and databases, as well as data collection to monitor power consumption and server room temperature and monitoring applications supporting manufacturing. Moreover, Gerflor’s IT Department is faced with an additional challenge: the constant expansion of the global IT system to be monitored, with the integration of IT from new subsidiaries.
The project: Broaden the monitoring scope and gain total visibility over a distributed and constantly evolving IT system
Prior to implementing Centreon in 2017, monitoring was highly centralized and did not allow tailoring to local IT needs. As well, the previous monitoring tool proved to be too basic in terms of functionalities (ping management, CPU measurement) and monitoring scope, the decision was made to modernize monitoring with a solution that could provide complete visibility over the company’s entire IT system. Although Khalid was not in his current post when Centreon was chosen, he understands the reasons that lead to the teams’ decision.
“Beyond the aim to broaden and improve visibility over the group’s IT system, the motivation for changing monitoring tools lay mainly in the need to meet the needs of other IT teams, who were being asked by business stakeholders to produce dashboards. Centreon was chosen because of its functional coverage, performance, scalability, and extensive connector catalog (Plugin Packs)”.
The monitoring of all 47 sites is managed by Khalid at the IT Department’s central site, and is deployed across subsidiaries, which are grouped into geographical zones.
“Our monitoring architecture is based on a central server and seven pollers (one for each IT management zone). In each zone, which has its own specific features, we have a local relay. Our aim is to nurture the skills of our local teams and to promote a collaborative model for managing IT rather than a centralized one.”
Dashboards have been created with Centreon and made available to monitoring “customers.” These dashboards are tailored to local business stakeholders and made available on display screens. For example, such dashboards can show principal ERP KPIs (response time, utilization rate, number of transactions), network equipment for each critical site, a summary of Azure AD synchronizations across all sites, and a broad view of IT infrastructure health.
Monitoring provides all IT Department staff with the personalized information they need. For example, we generate a report that compares data from two different periods to analyze and understand a specific situation.
Centreon also contributes to the company’s commitment to sustainable IT.
“As part of our Green IT approach, we set up an IoT project to collect data via UPS and sensors to measure power consumption, humidity levels, and server room temperatures. This was achieved thanks to custom developments. For example, data relating to room temperature is captured by Centreon and fed back into monitoring cockpits.”
“In addition, Centreon is used by the manufacturing IT department to monitor all software linked to manufacturing (excluding machine control), such as specific software for calculating colorimetry or soil resistance, which are often the fruit of the group’s strong R&D activity.”
Results: significant time savings, robust cloud preparedness and added value for all
Khalid uses Centreon daily and appreciates the time savings and reliability offered by the automation and auto-discovery functionalities, which identify gaps and ensure all equipment is monitored.
“I couldn’t tell you how much time I’ve saved with Centreon, but what I can say for sure is that I’ve been able to implement things that I wouldn’t have thought possible before, and which benefit all our teams. In some subsidiaries, we went from needing a few days to resolve an incident to needing just a few minutes to anticipate it and prevent unavailability. We are much more efficient and proactive in detecting and resolving incidents. That’s a real strength that comes with using Centreon.”
Another anecdote reported by Khalid clearly illustrates the value of monitoring for business units: “One of our subsidiaries, which had declined installing Centreon, was faced with an ERP anomaly, resulting in production being halted for several days. Following this downtime, Centreon was deployed. When the incident occurred again, no downtime was reported. Thanks to Centreon, incidents were anticipated and resolved before they could impact production.”
“What are Centreon’s strengths? Its openness, which lets us write our own scripts, its data collection and correlation engine, and its connectors (Plugin Packs), which save us a lot of time. All this adds value to our monitoring tool, because we’re implementing features that we wouldn’t have implemented if we’d had to do it manually.”
Another point that Khalid appreciates is the alerting system, which avoids the Christmas trees syndrome, when too many alerts are lit up so teams cannot follow-up on all of them.
“The checks that are carried out before teams are alerted help avoid wasting time and keeps us focused on the information that’s relevant to our team. What’s more, the use of the solution in the current configuration, which aims to make local teams more autonomous, is facilitated by Centreon’s excellent TCO. And we particularly like the fact that we can make Centreon available to local IT managers at no extra cost. We don’t need to spend more to provide a better service.”
Outlook: Going further through monitoring
The Centreon solution is highly appreciated by all users and is fully integrated into IT processes. Centreon’s intuitive, automated, modern, and scalable approach boosted the IT Department’s confidence. It’s a robust ally in the context of digital transformation.
“We’re still learning and experimenting in our cloud transition. It’s very reassuring for us to know that our monitoring platform has our back for cloud monitoring, as we transition more systems there. We’ll be using Centreon AWS connectors more than ever.”
Another strong point is that we noticed that Centreon is very efficient due to the fact that it has little impact on the IT system’s overall performance, even though it is constantly interacting with IT systems. Khalid already has more ideas for exploiting the possibilities offered by Centreon to the fullest, particularly relating to sustainable IT:
“Centreon enables us to develop our monitoring in sync with our business acquisitions and strategic projects. For example, to take our Green IT approach even further, we are planning to collect and upload new metrics correlated in Centreon from the number of messages exchanged by email, communications between services, file storage or dormant files.”
“The first piece of advice I could give for a successful monitoring project is to clearly define the objectives. Then, deploy only what is truly useful, to avoid the Christmas tree syndrome. Finally, don’t hesitate to involve all stakeholders, such as other IT teams, to ensure the success of the monitoring implementation. It’s important to champion monitoring internally, so that everyone understands its benefits to use it, and the value it brings to the organization’s overall performance.”
To go Further
- Other companies operating in industry or logistics rely on Centreon to guarantee digital performace. Read these cusotmer stories to lean more: automotive industry leader ZF Group paves the way for the future of its digital transformation with an innovative IT Monitoring Platform, Amer Sports, a global player in sports equipment, reinforces the management of its digital value chain through centralizing infrastructure monitoring for 20 IT-critical locations, FM Logistic relies on Centreon for constant IT availability and managing digital challenges in the supply chain
- SaaS or Self-Hosted Monitoring? If you’d like to conduct a careful TCO assessment, don’t go it alone — read our latest expert content “IT monitoring and TCO: SaaS or self-hosted?” You’ll find some insights as well as a complete list of potential hidden costs to consider, so you can choose a monitoring solution which meets both your expectation and budget.
- Looking to run a deeper analysis to decide between open source or paid IT monitoring? Download the first Expert Insight volume, “IT Monitoring & TCO: Open source or off-the-shelf software? Finding the best option for your organization,” which looks at an IT monitoring solution type’s impact on the TCO, helping you opt for one that is perfectly adapted to your organization.
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