In Tough Economy, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics Does More With Less Realizing One-Stop Network Optimization and Monitoring Via Paessler PRTG

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In a tough economy in which network administrators are looking for ways to do more with less, Paessler offers a strategically valuable tool for capturing and analyzing available bandwidth and maximizing data utilization to realize network optimization. A sole IT practitioner at one of Northern California's most well-known health clinics shares how his tool from Paessler helps him get the most out of his network to serve 180 professionals at eight sites.

In developing PRTG, we aimed at putting as powerful a solution of this type as possible into our customers' hands

Paessler AG, a leading provider of bandwidth monitoring tools for use on Windows systems, offers a strategically valuable tool for capturing and analyzing available bandwidth and maximizing data utilization - to realize network optimization.

Many network monitoring solutions are often used just for providing advanced warning of failures or bottlenecks. The Paessler PRTG Network Monitor provides more than just this and offers a broad range of useful features to optimize networks. PRTG allows for the long-term collection of data and detailed analysis which can be used as a basis for effective planning of investment in network infrastructure and optimal utilization of hardware and virtualized environments.

PRTG supplies the basis for in-depth data analysis so that the root causes of network problems can be identified.

Dirk Paessler, President and founder of Paessler AG, says monitoring data collected over time is the ideal basis for network optimization. "In developing PRTG, we aimed at putting as powerful a solution of this type as possible into our customers' hands," he says. "A specially developed database format, optimized for storing monitoring data, as well as comprehensive analysis and visualization options, make recognizing trends simple, quick and convenient."

An example of the effective use of PRTG Network Monitor can be found at one of Northern California's most well-known health clinics. During the social revolution of the 1960s, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics was established to help the thousands of young people on the street in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district whose lives were affected by drug and alcohol abuse, mental and physical problems. With nowhere to turn, they found treatment and support when traditional services turned their backs on them. Since then, The Clinics has grown to become one of the largest multi-service providers in Northern California with eight offices and 180 professionals.

Using Paessler's PRTG Network Monitor, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics' sole network administrator, Adam Eckstrom-Browne, is now able to reduce network delays which extend patient waiting times, cause system downtime and result in a loss of productivity.

Often the cause of the network problems is an over-utilization of hardware resources. If problems occur, rapid action is required to determine the cause to eliminate potential causes such as viruses or malware. PRTG continuously monitors the network and alerts IT staff of problems in real time.

PRTG collects long-term data about processor and RAM utilization, available hard disk space as well as line load and transfer volume information. This information is invaluable and allows the ability to optimize network usage within the limits imposed by the hardware and maximize bandwidth use. PRTG Network Monitor allows users to determine if network bottlenecks are caused by system inadequacies or are caused by a less significant issue such running system backups at peak times.

At Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, thin clients run software programs that handle everything from sending and receiving of email to billing, patient/client scheduling. The thin clients connect to a single network that also supports Internet and phone usage for all users. The nine offices are supported by a hybrid phone system that combines digital and VoIP technologies. At the main site there are 70 users, with a further 110 spread over the eight other sites. Two Primary Rate Interface (PRI) lines each support 46 simultaneous calls, a T1 line for VPN traffic, and a DSL for Internet.

"When a lot of people are checking their voicemail, it puts a great deal of stress on the T1 line," says Eckstrom-Browne. "PRTG helped me watch usage of various communications modes supported by the network, and I could detect trends of high usage. I am able to determine how much of my bandwidth is actually being used to make better decisions on upgrading/downgrading Internet connections."

Eckstrom-Browne notes that PRTG informed him the network has the highest usage mid-morning when people are logging on to check their emails.

He says that there were times when he detected a spike in usage and subsequently was able to increase bandwidth so the network wouldn't perform sluggishly.

Eckstrom-Browne adds that he received an unexpected benefit from PRTG when he found that he could determine server loads and printer usage with the PRTG WMI manager.

About Paessler AG:
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Nuremberg, Paessler AG builds cost effective software that is both powerful and easy to use. The product range is specialized on Network Monitoring and Testing as well as Website Analysis. Its products are used by Network Administrators, Website 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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