I’m back a few posts, but since I always enjoy hearing from our users I thought I’d post this latest Order of the Blue Polo submission from Keith Spragg of the Southway Housing Trust in the UK.
I work for Southway Housing Trust – a Didsbury (Manchester, UK) based, Not-for-profit Housing Association, looking after approximately 5,900 properties throughout the South Manchester region.
Southway Housing Trust operates a small ICT team, split between business applications and just two people on Support and Infrastructure.
When I started at Southway, there were several paper based methods of looking after the assorted systems and the only way we knew something was wrong was when users piped up to report a problem. I went looking for a free solution to my problems, and came across OpenNMS. I was very impressed with what I saw, and because of the size of our network (approximately 120 nodes) was able to take one of our old servers and repurpose it for this application.
Installation was quick and simple – I didn’t have to learn much more than I already knew, and because the system is very extensible, I was able to add bespoke monitors very quickly.
As soon as I had got OpenNMS set up, I was rapidly able to ditch the paper based systems, and trust that not only was OpenNMS going to record the history of this information, but that if there was a problem, my team would know before the users did. I equate it to putting a whole extra member of staff in the ICT team, as it’s always got its eyes on the systems on my behalf.
The only money we’ve spent on this project is my time – but we’ve lost count of the amount of money we’ve saved because our systems are not going wrong as often because we’re pro-actively monitoring them.
I love using OpenNMS, and would recommend it for any sized business – even a small network can benefit from an extra pair of eyes.