City of Frankfurt

The City of Frankfurt is Europe’s economic hub. Trillions of Euros pulse through its vibrant financial system on a daily basis. Robust and reliable municipal services are important to the City’s continued prominence. Nearly a million citizens and foreign workers depend on the City’s government for daily services. Most of the City’s services – daycare centers, school houses, registry offices – depend on highly reliable IT services to meet its citizen’s expectations.

Overview

Like many IT departments, the City has worked toward centralization over the years. Each department managed some of its own IT resources, such as Active Directory. Eying cost-savings, security, and reliability, The Department for Information and Communication Technology began to offer centralized IT services. Today, over 100 IT services, supporting 10,000 employees across 600 locations, have been centralized.

The City’s IT managers implemented Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) to monitor its 500 servers and 2,500 network nodes. While SCOM provides basic infrastructure availability monitoring, The Department for ICT struggled to accelerate IT shared service adoption as it could not provide a real-time dashboard into the services it hoped to manage for its client Departments. The City of Frankfurt turned to Live Maps to help solve its trust, transparency, and communication challenge with great success.

“Live Maps provides the context necessary for us to properly find the most important SCOM alerts. Understanding the service’s context has really helped us zero in on what alerts we need to act upon in SCOM.”

Head of IT Control Center

Challenge

Giving up control requires trust. Migrating IT services to another team – even internally to another department – requires real-time visibility and two-way communication. Many of the Departments of the City of Frankfurt were reluctant to centralize IT services. Giving up full control of IT resources requires not only high service levels, but also dashboards to provide visibility into these managed services.

The City’s IT Managers also found it difficult to tune monitoring and alerts in SCOM without context of the service provided. “Our SCOM deployment still needs a lot of work to be effective. And without context of a service, configuring alerts is a tough job to tackle,” lamented Jens Hübel, Manager, IT Control Center.

Understanding infrastructure dependencies of the IT services was Jens’ first priority. Establishing a service-oriented view that monitored the end-user, application, network, and compute resources was required. Without a service-oriented perspective, availability and performance alerts flood in without knowledge of its impact to the IT service.

Communicating incidents and recurring problems without IT service context is difficult for Jens and his team. On a number of occasions, the components managed by the Department for ICT were available, yet end-users were still complaining about performance problems.

The challenges led The Department of ICT to deploy Live Maps extensively in its shared environment.

Solution

Live Maps is an essential aspect of The Department of ICT’s strategy to continue to centralize IT services with confidence.

Live Maps service-oriented dashboards provide both real-time visibility and component-level health required by client Departments to trust the shared IT services guaranteed. “Live Maps provides a simple and clean Dashboard for each service that provides enough detail to make each department comfortable,” explained Jens. Service-oriented dashboards also provide service level reporting for added confidence. Defining and monitoring service levels helps the IT Command Center identify IT incidents and escalate them quickly to other teams.

Whenever a new IT service goes live, the City’s IT Command Center is often flooded with noisy alerts. Setting-up and tuning alerts is a top priority. “Live Maps provides the context necessary for us to properly find the most important SCOM alerts,” said Jens Hübel. “Understanding the service’s context has really helped us zero in on what alerts we need to act upon in SCOM.”

Each department that has centralized its IT services has access to a shared, web-based dashboard. Live Maps service-oriented dashboards provide a common view that facilitates communication when incidents degrade a service.

“Overall, Live Maps is an essential component to providing the visibility our Departments require to further trust us with essential IT services,” concluded Jens.