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SquaredUp case study - Purdue University

Purdue University

Case Study

One of America’s most respected universities, with alumni that include Neil Armstrong, Samuel R. Allen and Mike Alstott.

1500 servers

40,000 end users

SquaredUp user since May 2014

With SquaredUp, we now have visibility across 446 applications, including our Production, QA, and Test applications, which also links to our CMDB. It’s like nothing we’ve seen before.

Shawn Williams
Systems Engineer, Purdue University

The Challenge:
Disparate silos, disengaged engineers!

“What is the health of our applications?” Nobody could answer this basic question with confidence.

Teams were working within different information silos, with no single central source of data. Relating data from different technology stacks to actual application availability seemed impossible.

DBAs and system engineers were not engaging with SCOM data and the CIO was getting frustrated at the frequent outages.

The solution: One dashboard to rule them all

So, the CIO shifted the focus to application monitoring and demanded end-to-end visibility.

He tasked Shawn, a Systems Engineer, with devising a strategy for delivering end-to-end application monitoring, starting with one of Purdue’s key applications – Blackboard Learn – a student/staff portal used by >10,000 users daily. It’s a challenging app to monitor as it doesn’t run on Microsoft software, but on Linux.

Shawn turned to SquaredUp for a dashboard to solve the problem. The change was immediate and substantial.

SquaredUp has enabled us to engage with our SCOM data and apply it to application monitoring, in a way no other software has been able to do.

Top benefits

Application mapping

To start, Shawn mapped out and visualized the Blackboard Learn app using SquaredUp’s unique VADA* feature, giving him a complete understanding of the infrastructure and components the app depends on.

VADA: Map your applications end-to-end: application topologies, including live health and performance data.

Custom perspectives

Next, Shawn created custom dashboards for each team involved in supporting Blackboard Learn.

For the networking team he created a dashboard showing the F5 load balancer health and performance, while the Oracle team got a dashboard showing key database and Linux host performance, and the hosting team got a dashboard specific to the VMware host performance.

Each team had a perspective that gave them contextual, actionable monitoring insights.

See Purdue's demo video

Single pane of glass

Like most organizations, SCOM is just one of the monitoring tools at Purdue. Using the Web API tile*, Shawn was able to pull in data from Microsoft OMS, Cisco Prime, LibreNMS and Xymon – giving support teams one place to go to understand the health of their systems.

Web API tile: Dynamically pull in data from your ITSM and log analytics providers directly into your dashboards.

Service status monitoring and dashboards

It was integral for support teams and management to know if Blackboard Learn was available and how it was performing for end users. So Shawn summarised critical application statuses in a simple red-green service status dashboard, and published it widely across the organisation, using SquaredUp’s Open Access* feature.

Open Access: Share unlimited dashboards with an unlimited number of users. Provide your users with access to the latest data at no extra cost.

VADA is a tremendously powerful feature, allowing us to get a definitive handle on the exact topology and dependencies of all of our applications.

Purdue shows their exact setup in SquaredUp:

Don’t just take it from us. Let Shawn himself run you through how Purdue delivered full-stack visibility for their application via a single-pane-of-glass. See Shawn demo how Purdue uses SquaredUp.

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