“Before adopting Centreon, identifying and anticipating incidents could be challenging. Now, we’ve extended the monitoring scope and manage the IT environment with more accuracy. We can respond faster in guaranteeing IT quality because we are supported in our diagnostics. Thanks to Centreon, we have developed a new work approach based on anticipation and proactivity.” — Jean-François Hesdin—System and network administrator—Institut Florimont.
The project in a nutshell
Business and IT challenges
- Guarantee an optimal digital learning experience for 1,600 students
- Quickly identify incident causes in a 1,700-device fleet
- Bring back IT monitoring management in-house to better control IT quality
- Deepen the understanding of the IT environment through sustained, extended monitoring
- Stress-free cloud infrastructure monitoring (ex. Office 365)
- Improve ability to anticipate issues
- Identify incident causes faster and more accurately
Main benefits: a new culture driven by anticipation
- Monitoring solution users are more efficient in their daily activities
- Broader IT monitoring scope and deeper awareness of the system
- More comprehensive and intuitive dashboards
- Improved diagnostics and responsiveness, configuration optimizations
- Automated deployment using prepackaged monitoring connectors (Plugin Packs)
Case study— The full story
The Institut Florimont, a Geneva-based, century-old private educational institution relies on Centreon to monitor the full length of their IT system and terminals, providing students an optimal learning experience, including for distance learning. By bringing back IT monitoring in-house using Centreon, the IT department enhanced IT service quality, performance, and reliability through an extended IT monitoring scope and a newfound ability to anticipate issues.
Institut Florimont: the quintessential school
Founded in 1905 by the Saint Francis de Sales Missionaries Congregation, the Institut Florimont is a Geneva private school that provides a complete education to 1,600 students aged 3 to 18 years, from kindergarten to university.
Blending tradition and modernity, the Institut Florimont fosters excellence. Inspired by a child-centered philosophy, teaching is focused on the in-depth learning of languages and sciences. The school follows the curriculum set by the local government and prepares students for local or international university education, offering French speaking or bilingual programs.
Achieving its mission, the school makes good use of digital tools, with nearly 1,300 MacBooks and tablets available to students from elementary school onwards. Each of the school’s 350 employees has their own computer.
The IT department overseeing these devices and the rest of the information system comprises 7 people (an IT manager, three support technicians, an ERP and UX manager, a technician to manage the device fleet, and a system and network administrator). The latter, Jean-François Hesdin, bears the heavy responsibility of ensuring the IT system delivers constant, high quality digital experiences—a chief objective for the school. Jean-François explains:
“Our school is highly digitalized which is a real advantage for teachers as well as for students. We’re all thankful that we were able to deploy 1,400 Office 365 accounts two weeks prior to lockdowns, which enabled remote teaching and avoided service disruptions for students.”
Bringing back IT monitoring in house to better control IT service quality
For many years, the IT department chose to outsource IT monitoring, but as the quantity of devices and the criticality of IT increased for the school to provide its programs, they decided to bring IT monitoring back in house, acquiring a new solution. The main criteria for choosing the new solution were simplicity, efficiency, and the ability to create visual dashboards to make the team more responsive.
Jean-François Hesdin explains the school’s approach: “An external service provider using Nagios used to take care of our IT monitoring. After a while, the outsourced solution became obsolete, our IT monitoring provider was getting less and less responsive.”
“It does not really serve us to learn a device is down once it has stopped working! What we really need to do is anticipate when the device might be down. For that reason, we decided to acquire a more powerful tool and to bring IT monitoring back in-house, so we’d have more control over it. I already was familiar with Centreon and I knew that the product could meet our needs.”
Centreon’s extensive monitoring connector library (Plugin Packs) and ability to manage large volumes strengthened Jean-François’s decision to opt for this solution. Jean-François further explains his choice: “With Centreon’s Plugin Packs, the work is all done for you. Few tools on the market will take you as far. We have a large volume of devices to manage (over 1,700), and we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel when configuring monitoring. This is quite a flexible product. Once you’re done with the integration, the possibilities are pretty amazing.”
Broadening the scope of monitoring and deepening the analysis
Jean-François and the IT team’s main expectation was to be able to anticipate incidents and quickly grasp the root cause. IT availability is of utmost importance in this private school, which fulfills the commitment parents make towards a superior education for their children. This entails access to superior digital infrastructure and equipment, a need that intensified during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We manage 1,400 Office 365 accounts and we’re immediately alerted if even just one is not working properly. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we resorted to online classes so older students and faculty were using Office 365 a lot. In a digitalized school like ours, if IT fails to run optimally, classes will likely be impacted, and parents are quick to notice and alert us.”
Offering an ideal learning environment goes hand in hand with an optimal digital learning experience so students are enabled to deliver their best academic results.
Painless IT monitoring deployment using connectors (Plugin Packs)
The Centreon solution has been deployed over a larger scope than that of the previous solution. It monitors all physical and virtual servers (about 40), the campus’ 80 WI-FI terminals, network equipment, firewall, and storage devices. As Jean-François points out:
“We haven’t yet deployed application monitoring although we’re currently monitoring Office 365 in the cloud, leveraging Centreon’s dedicated connector. Before adopting Centreon, achieving this would have required searching the web for hours, trying to find a suitable connector, whereas now 90% of our equipment can be monitored automatically thanks to the Plugin Packs.”
Among the first benefits noted after the installation of the IT monitoring solution was that it allowed us to spot recurring problems and discover how to optimize current configurations. In part, these results were attributable to insights provided by the Centreon solution. “We have strengthened our capabilities by implementing Centreon,” explains Jean-François. “Before, we were mostly pinging the servers to check on them. Now we can tell if servers are overheating.”
Since its deployment in 2020, the solution is mainly used by Jean-François Hesdin and the ERP and UX technician, who both particularly like to work with the graphical and easy-to-understand dashboards.
Friendlier dashboards, improved ability to anticipate, and improved efficiency
In addition to improving IT monitoring quality, migrating to Centreon also produced an impact on the quality of service delivered by the IT department. Teams are more responsive, they can better anticipate incidents, and this is gradually leading to a culture change, effecting a transition to anticipating issues rather than having to react to them. Jean-François is pleased to report:
“Before, when facing an issue, we didn’t always understand the root cause… With Centreon we get a more accurate portrait, it really provides visibility over the system. It’s not just a good-looking piece of software, it does help manage issues and control our IT. All the indicators we track reflect reality. It’s a tool to support us in diagnosing issues, and we want it to transform how we work, supporting efforts to anticipate and respond to issues timely. Centreon drives a culture change within our organization. We’re enabled to catch issues and fix them faster. I really feel more efficient with Centreon!”
The IT team at Florimont also enjoys using the dashboards, which are more graphical than what they used to work with, integrating icons and gauges which, as Jean-François says, “allow us to follow progression, for example, through the gauges displaying memory usage…” The dashboards are considered more meaningful than the old curves and above all, more intuitive. Plus, projections can be made using historical data. It’s also possible to generate estimations.
Looking forward: Connecting Centreon to the rest of the universe
Jean-François Hesdin knows very well how to get the most out of the Centreon solution. Currently, he’s planning to connect the IT monitoring platform to the ticketing tool, to integrate things further and make teams more efficient.
Currently, alerts are generated by email, but Jean-François would like to interface Centreon with GPLI (the ticketing tool) so tickets are automatically opened in the ITSM platform.
“We pay close attention to IT quality. Using Centreon, we’re better at understanding issues and we’re responding faster. Moreover, Centreon’s support team is quick to come up with solutions, and we really enjoy working with Centreon’s commercial and technical teams. We have extended the monitoring scope and we still have room to expand! We will continue to monitor more technologies, more accurately.”