Southern United States
With more than 20 branches serving close to 100,000 members in the southern U.S., a large regional credit union must keep its network and mission critical applications performing at the highest levels to ensure fast and accurate transaction processing. Yet the credit union’s small IT team lacked the tools necessary to accurately determine whether problems were caused by network or application issues, and struggled to identify the specific root cause. In fact, guesswork and trial and error often could take days to narrow down the problem. The organization needed a solution that would accurately monitor network and application performance to both streamline its IT systems and ensure problems were fixed before they impacted members.
The credit union turned to NETSCOUT TruView to improve network and application performance management. As a result, the company has not only been able to quickly pinpoint problems – often within 30 seconds – but has been able to proactively assess and strategically upgrade various portions of its IT infrastructure to forestall future issues network wide.
The large regional credit union has more than 20 locations and is focused on offering services and processing member transactions as quickly, accurately and efficiently as possible. The organization depends on a long list of mission critical applications and an extensive inter-branch MPLS network to keep those transactions humming – even during peak payroll periods.
TruView was just a solid package that had everything we needed in a simple appliance. The combination of features made it a really useful and compelling solution, because it allows us to instantly look at an issue from multiple perspectives, making the true cause of a problem quickly stand out
– CIO at a large regional credit union
Like many organizations, the credit union has a relatively small IT team and must depend on its tools to help ease the workload. Yet the organization lacked any effective way to troubleshoot and pinpoint network and application issues.
“We needed a robust solution that would give us visibility down to the packet level, yet also give us broad insight into the IT infrastructure as a whole,” said the CIO at the credit union. “Our existing tools gave us snippets here and there, but could never provide the full picture we needed to quickly identify problems.”
Unfortunately, issues were common, especially around peak periods like payroll when networks and applications would be swamped with transactions. The team would routinely get reports about branches having response time issues, but were unable to pinpoint the problems.
“I could guarantee that we’d get multiple calls from one branch or another at peak periods,” said the CIO. “But was that a network issue? A problem with one of our many applications or databases? An issue with a payment processor? All we could see was overall bandwidth, so there was no easy way to tell.”
As a result it could literally take days for the CIO and the team to track down issues. For an organization that prides itself on efficiency, the combination of wasted IT resources and unresolved employee and customer problems was not acceptable. “Clearly there had to be a better solution,” noted the CIO.Solution
Given its lack of visibility into IT systems, the credit union realized the need for a strong all-in-one solution that could proactively monitor and measure network application performance, isolate problems and quickly assess the cause and effect of performance degradations. The team selected TruView to address these challenges.
“TruView was just a solid package that had everything we needed in a simple appliance,” noted the CIO. “The combination of features made it a really useful and compelling solution, because it allows you to instantly look at an issue from multiple perspectives, making the true cause of a problem quickly stand out.”
After deploying TruView, the credit union IT team finally got the broad scale network application performance monitoring needed to ensure optimal systems operations and fast problem resolution.
“I think we’re able to identify the root cause of most issues now within 30 seconds,” said the CIO. “No more running around trying to figure out what’s going on, instead we’re focused on solving the problem or preventing it from recurring.”
Now when the team gets reports from a branch about response time issues, using TruView they are able to quickly pinpoint the root cause. For instance the team can see that a particular connection is maxed out, and then quickly drill deeper to determine what IP address, application or conversation is causing the saturation.
“The product really helped us solve one recurring problem with transaction processing on our ATMs,” explained the CIO. “The connections would routinely drop, and we just couldn’t figure out why. Using TruView we were able to immediately determine that the payment processing service was sending a tremendous amount of unnecessary data down the pipe, and log jamming the connection with things that had nothing to do with credit or debit authorization.”
In another instance, TruView helped the team track down issues with response times on the core Oracle database system, showing application response degradations that were associated with a lack of available server resources.
“We were able to use the transaction view in TruView to see what was going on, and engage the system support folks from a position of knowledge to identify what additional server resources needed to be allocated to eliminate the transaction processing delays,” said the CIO.
In fact, for the team TruView is much more than just a troubleshooting tool, allowing the company to proactively assess overall network condition and justify the need for improvements.
“We thought we were okay running 12 Mbps connections between branches,” said the CIO. “Yet we’d still see issues around peak events like payroll week. TruView was able to show us that, rather than being an application issue, we were routinely saturating those connections and causing issues for everybody. I don’t know that we would have realized otherwise that our MPLS network was so undercharged, yet thanks to TruView we were able to right size the connection and alleviate the problems.”
The organization even uses TruView to proactively monitor bandwidth allocation on its disaster recovery connection, since that particular line is both expensive and priced based on utilization. With TruView the IT team can not only better manage those connection costs through job scheduling, but even dispute erroneous carrier billing charges. It’s a significant expense that they would have no other way to manage, according to the CIO.
Overall, TruView has proven to be extremely easy to use. In fact, when the IT team brought on a new member earlier in the year, he was able to quickly begin using the system as part of his daily troubleshooting toolset with minimal instruction and no formal training.
Going forward, the organization plans to take even greater advantage of this combination of ease of use, comprehensive visibility and powerful insight by using the monitoring alarms and performance thresholds for TruView to establish proactive alerts for its multiple business critical systems.
From that perspective, the team is just getting started with the power of TruView. “Every day, multiple times a day, we pretty much depend on the system to give us the visibility we need to manage our applications and network performance. We’ve been very pleased with the solution,” concluded the CIO.
For a deeper look into how this solution can help you solve problems, check out the eKnowledge page at enterprise.netscout.com/eknowledge