Paessler Network Monitoring Bundle Eases Bandwidth Tracking for Redland Brick

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Manufacturing comany uses streamlined solution for monitoring; Switches from expensive, complex system for better results.

We spent two days working with CA’s professional services implementing the solution and then three days training on it

Paessler today announced that Redland Brick is using Paessler IP Check and Paessler PRTG to implement a robust bandwidth-tracking function without the expense and complexity of a larger solution.

Redland, a Maryland based brick maker, used CA's Unicenter for several years to meet some of its needs in IT, but ultimately found that the network-management application Unicenter provided was too complex and specialized for its day-to-day network management needs. Unicenter is a comprehensive enterprise solution that required a significant financial commitment from Redland.

“We spent two days working with CA’s professional services implementing the solution and then three days training on it,” said Mr. Neil Shanholtzer, Redland's IT manager. “Then we had to go to class to learn how to use it -- all at costs above the expense of the software. If we were General Motors, that might make sense, but it didn’t for us.”

Mr. Shanholtzer added that as it was purchased, the Unicenter network-management application didn’t offer Redland the one element of functionality it needed most: bandwidth monitoring. In order to achieve that, an additional Unicenter module would have been required.

Redland's IT department operates the network infrastructure -- including security, safety and performance -- for Redland Brick and its parent company, The Belden Brick Company. The department has 11 servers, which are housed at Redland and include an ERP solution running SQL. Redland also keeps its anti-virus and other mission-critical software in house.

Mr. Shanholtzer also added that the department was “constantly looking to automate” the monitoring of its various servers. The department's staff generally works from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and wanted the convenience of being notified at home or by pager on weekends for network-related issues.

Mr. Shanholtzer and his colleagues selected Paessler's Monitoring Bundle consisting of IPCheck Server Monitor for the availability monitoring and PRTG Traffic Grapher for bandwidth monitoring after their analysis of several shareware and freeware enterprise network-monitoring applications.

The team followed a “few easy steps” to set up IPCheck and PRTG as their new network-monitoring solution. It was also easy, Mr. Shanholtzer said, to add the SNMP community string and hand-pick the service that he wanted to monitor.

“I’m a 40-something IT guy, and I don’t care to read the manual,” Mr. Shanholtzer said. “The software was very easy to setup, but before buying IPCheck and PRTG, I had some questions. I emailed Paessler support and got prompt responses. That experience sold me on the product.”

The Redland IT department can now use IPCheck and PRTG to efficiently monitor its network, servers and various applications, as well as receive timely alerts when there are problems within Redland's network infrastructure.

Mr. Shanholtzer and his colleagues are in the process of upgrading their ERP package and used both monitoring products to strategically plan the changeover. Specifically, Redland's IT department used IPCheck to analyze the company's CPU and memory usage as well as the number of users on its network. The team also set up sensors with IPCheck and ran reports to help them plan for network upgrades. The reports were then passed on to their ERP vendor who used them to easily and quickly size the proper servers for their upgrade.

“I don’t write code,” Mr. Shanholtzer said. “IPCheck gives me 99.9 percent of what I want, and I don’t have the need for a customized solution.”

Redland now uses IPCheck to gain insight into bandwidth usage, which allows them to evaluate trends and help the company's brick-manufacturing operation run efficiently.

“The longer I do this, the more I prefer dealing with smaller companies versus buying from a big corporation,” Shanholtzer said. “Just because they are big doesn’t mean they make the best product.”

Redland Brick operates four U.S.-based plants and incorporates more than 130 years of experience and the latest brick-making technologies. The Williamsport, Md.-based company creates high-quality bricks in every price range and in a range of colors, textures and shapes to meet virtually any building need. Redland Brick is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Belden Brick Company.

Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Fuerth, Germany, Paessler AG builds cost-effective German-engineered software that is both powerful and easy to use. Its products cover network monitoring as well as testing and are used by more than 100,000 network administrators, web site operators, Internet service providers and other IT professionals worldwide. Freeware and free trial versions of all products can be downloaded from http://www.paessler.com.

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Tamarie Johnson
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