"Our new client/server platform entails a large rollout of equipment and requires personnel resources that are hard to find or very expensive," said Robert Vazquez, regional systems and network manager for NZDS-Latin America. "With its flexibility, cross-platform support and comprehensive management features, Unicenter TNG provides an alternative to hiring additional network and system administrators."
The overhaul of the Dairy Services' systems and networks will enable the company to manage the sales and distribution of products from both the New Zealand-based dairies and the regional facilities in countries where the Dairy Board operates. The new, uniform infrastructure will replace the diverse systems and networks that each region had independently deployed with a three-tier client/server topology.
The Dairy Services' mission-critical consumer packaged goods manufacturing and distribution applications run on HP 9000 platforms located at both the first- and second-tier sites in the three-tier platform. The third tier servers in the architecture are based on Microsoft Windows NT Server. HP Vectra PCs will be the desktop standard for the updated computing environment. All platforms are connected using a TCP/IP network operating over an assortment of leased lines and satellite services. All network hardware will be provided by Cisco Systems.
By limiting the number of different platforms in use and implementing a management solution that supports those standard platforms, NZDS Latin America can streamline troubleshooting and maximize network availability.
"If a server is about to run out of disk space somewhere, we want to know about it, and we want to be able to take care of it regardless of where either it or the technician may be located," said Vazquez. "If a small regional staff can support the entire network, we can minimize overhead while providing state-of-the-art IT services internationally."
In addition to its proactive cross-platform monitoring and management of remote network devices and systems, the system also offers distributed architecture, integrated help desk functionality and business-oriented presentation of enterprise operations.
"We hired a Big Six consultant to help us with the evaluation process, which included IBM/Tivoli and HP's OpenView in addition to Unicenter TNG," said Vazquez. "With OpenView, I got lost moving from one screen to another. With Tivoli, we wouldn't have the end-to-end integration we needed. Overall, Unicenter TNG was the best integration of functions that we saw. CA had moved beyond a collection of applications into a single product. It provided a solution that was simply more evolved than competitive products."
Vazquez was especially pleased with the flexibility of system. "The Real World interface provides exactly what we need for business managers, while the engineers prefer to use a command-line display," said Vasquez. "It's flexible enough to meet the different requirements of different users."
The Real World Interface provides a 3-D visualization of the entire IT environment.
The advanced help desk feature has proven particularly useful for the Dairy Services international rollout. Level One support is done at the hub location. Any problems that can't be resolved at that level are easily escalated through to Level Two and Level Three support at regional offices.
With the reduced technical staff resulting from the implementation, NZDS-Latin America expects to be able to keep staffing at its current size, or possibly smaller, even though the technology they're supporting is far more powerful.
Beyond just improving the efficiency of IT operations, the new technology platform will significantly improve the company's core business operations. "We sometimes have 'disconnects,' such as our distribution organization in the Dominican Republic buying packaged goods from New Zealand directly, instead of using a new packing plant in El Salvador," said Vazquez. "The new platform will help everyone understand the availability of resources, so they can use them in the most efficient way."
According to Vazquez, the combination of reduced staffing requirements, improved IT services and increased business efficiency made the economics of acquiring and implementing Unicenter TNG very compelling. "We expect a full return on our investment in under two years," he said.
Supported CA-Unicenter Platforms Include:
|RS/6000||AIX 3.2.4, 3.2.5, 4.1.x|
|AS/400||OS/400 2.2, 2.3, 3.04, 3.10, 3.6|
|DG||DG/UX-88K 2.01, 2.10, 3.0, 3.10|
|HP||HP-UX 9.x, 10.x|
|ICL||DRS/NX 7.5.5, 7.74|
|NCR||SVR4 MP 2.02, 2.03, 3.0|
|Novell||NetWare 3.1x, 4.x|
|OS/2||LAN Server 2.1 and up|
|Pyramid||DC/OSx C063, C079, D079|
|Sequent||DYNIX 4.0.x, 4.1.x|
|Siemens||SINIX 5.42, 5.43|
|Cray||SPARC Solaris 2.3, 2.4|
|Sun||SPARC Solaris 2.3, 2.4, 2.5|
|Microsoft||Windows NT 3.51|
|Tandem||NonStop Kernel D30|
|DEC||Digital UNIX 3.0, 3.2a-c|
The New Zealand Dairy Board, Pastoral House, 25 The Terrace, P.O. Box 417, Wellington, New Zealand. Tel: 64 4 471 8300; Fax: 64 4 471 8600.
By Pam Ahlberg