Hospice Care Of Southwest

Michigan, USA


"NetCrunch is like insurance - we need it to be able to identify problems that we hope will never happen. But of course, problems do happen and it's better to know earlier. That's why I would recommend NetCrunch as the tool for proactive monitoring of the activity of network devices."

Paul Weston
Network Administrator
Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, USA

Key benefits:

  • Improved system utilization and reduced response time to problems through proactive alerting system
  • Integration of network monitoring tasks and procdures
  • Fact-based asset management and capacity planning

The Challenge

Being the sole Network Administrator in his organization, Paul Weston was searching for a dependable network monitoring system that would identify and provide early alerts on performance issues such as connectivity anomalies, system outages or high system utilization (CPU and disk space). Other selection criteria included the ability to graphically display the status of disparate systems and the integration of monitoring procedures in a single management interface.

The AdRem Solution

Within the HCSM network, solutions deployed prior to NetCrunch were not up to par with the Administrator's expectations of network management. "I was using Network Instruments LinkAnalyst but it continuously failed to query on our network. Then I tried GFI LANguard and it failed to build the graphical network display to watch the devices," Weston recalls.

Unlike these tools, NetCrunch got off to a flying start in HCSM - within a day, it was installed on a 2.5 GHz machine, it scanned the network for equipment and it built a concise diagram of the physical and logical network topology. Within a week, Weston began fully utilizing all of NetCrunch's capabilities to monitor the routers, servers, hubs, printers, and workstations from a single, consistent management interface. With the program's web access feature, he soon found he was able to "[resolve] problems in weekend situations, before the staff realized there were problems. We are now alerted when servers or routers are not functioning, in the past we didn't know until the next business day. This allowed us to substantially reduce our response time to outages on weekends and after hours," he admits.

Prior to implementing NetCrunch, all the printers - and other devices as well - came from different vendors, which became a nuisance for Weston, who had to handle several different printer-monitoring tools. He monitored the printers using HP JetAdmin, Sharp Admin, and Lexmark Admin. With NetCrunch, he's no longer forced to juggle these various utilities as the network equipment can be monitored for status via the single software package from AdRem.

Proactive monitoring capabilities such as alerting on device system utilization turned out to be the greatest time-savers for HCSM's Network Administrator. When something is wrong in the network, he receives a problem notification, for example a page, reporting that a key device is unavailable, or that a server's CPU, memory or hard disk are running high. As a result, he can focus on the problem area before it turns into a fault and affects end-users. This process improvement alone allowed him to save "around one hour a week on watching network devices."

According to Weston, the major change that NetCrunch brings to a network administrator's practice is the transition from the reactive management mode to the proactive methodology that maximizes network availability and reliability. "Without the proper software we were always reactive to problems by responding to emergencies and end-user problem reports. With NetCrunch, we've been able to see early on what workstations or servers need more memory and hard drive space. What's more, with reports on asset, availability and performance issues, I've been able to identify and justify to management the need for additional memory and CPU for our server."

"NetCrunch is like insurance - you need it to be able to identify problems that you hope will never happen. But of course, problems do happen and it's better to know earlier. That's why I would recommend NetCrunch as the tool for proactive monitoring of the activity of network devices."

Customer Background

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan (HCSM) is a private, non-profit healthcare agency serving Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, and Van Buren counties in the State of Michigan. Since its inception in 1981, HCSM has been the community leader in hospice services, bringing together a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, hospice-certified nursing assistants, chaplains, therapists, and volunteers committed to enhancing quality of life of patients and their families facing a life threatening illness.

The computer network connecting internal employees, volunteers, clinical staff and doctors is vital to hospice providing professional patient care 24 hours a day. The HCSM network infrastructure enables mission-critical applications such as file sharing, printing, on-line training, handling clinical records, accounting/payroll, call center, email/Internet, and intranet. It is comprised of 3 servers, 100 clients, and 12 printers in several locations, all managed by HCSM's Network Administrator, Paul Weston.