SolarWinds Empowers Cheshire Constabulary to Police their Network Proactively

By Emmet Florish, SolarWinds UK Manager
While the traditional way IT management issues are resolved often entails hiring expensive consultants and going through long procurement processes and staff training, when Cheshire Constabulary needed an easy and cost-effective solution for network monitoring, it turned to SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM).

Local and central government are turning to powerful software tools like SolarWinds NPM that offer IT management capabilities without all the complication and hassle.

While other IT management vendors are looking to expand the scope and number of devices that can be supported by their software, SolarWinds is focused on usability and ease of deployment – two areas that have been largely unaddressed by the market. NPM, for example, comes with a simple wizard interface that lets IT administrators easily install and configure the software.

Aside from reducing operating costs, government departments measure technology return on investment by how much time was saved. Cheshire Constabulary deployed SolarWinds software in under an hour, and began to automatically discover and monitor their IT environments.

Cheshire Constabulary has been enforcing the law and protecting the people of Cheshire since 1857. The Police Force is headquartered in Winsford, which is located about halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, and polices nearly one million people. With approximately 4,000 employees and 45 sites to serve, the IT Technical Infrastructure team is responsible for maintaining a high-functioning communication system to keep its law enforcement operations running efficiently.

Challenge
The Cheshire Constabulary IT Technical Infrastructure team had previously used HP® Systems Insight Manager to manage their servers and storage as well as Link Analyst® to monitor their networks. They wanted a new product that could integrate all of that management, monitoring, and alerting into a single, easy-to-read dashboard.

“Prior to having a dedicated monitoring and management system, we found – more often than not – that our customers told us we had IT issues before we knew,” said Chris Newton, Network and Storage Manager for Cheshire Constabulary.

The team sought a product that could provide proactive network alerting for IT problems, was easy to use, and didn’t require particularly intensive technical knowledge to use. They considered multiple products. None offered consistent monitoring, and they were all aimed at a more technical audience.

Solution
Chris came across SolarWinds products when a colleague showed him how SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset offered simple solutions to his team’s problems. He was very impressed with an online demonstration of SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) and decided to purchase several licences.

“We wanted to have a single product that could monitor all the different aspects of our infrastructure,” he said. “We were able to customise SolarWinds NPM to monitor everything that all the previous products monitored but in one easy-to-use platform.” 

Chris said that while previously the team had used multiple software products to manage their hardware and assets and monitor their network links, the products worked together inconsistently.

“SolarWinds products have given our technical teams the ability to monitor all aspects of our infrastructure that enables proactive fault-finding as well as important diagnostics to help diagnose faults,” explained Chris. “This now means that our technical teams are aware of issues before our customers tell us about them.”

Results
The Cheshire Constabulary IT Technical Infrastructure Team found SolarWinds NPM to be a simple solution for several of their problems. It offered centralized network monitoring and alerting and did so in an easy-to-learn, non-technical manner. Particularly in an industry that isn’t especially technology-focused, Chris said he was grateful for the straightforward style of SolarWinds monitoring and alerting features.

“We are now in a position whereby we know we have issues before our customers, but more importantly, we know where our issues are. This provides us with the basis to find the root cause and resolution much faster. We are now more proactive and can address issues before they start to impact our customer base.”

The IT Technical Infrastructure Team at Cheshire Constabulary faced a complex performance issue on their data warehouse but used a combination of SolarWinds NPM, SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM), and SolarWinds Storage Manager to identify bottlenecks and resolve the issue. SolarWinds end-to-end monitoring solution has reduced the number of site visits required to resolve issues, reduced the time needed to fix problems, and allowed the IT team to identify crucial pieces of information.

“If you want a one-stop, integrated solution that is constantly being improved upon, then you will struggle to find a competing product that can assist with monitoring, performance, and fault-finding from applications to storage to networks like SolarWinds does – all at a very affordable price. On the back of our implementation and the benefits we’ve experienced, other police constabularies across the UK have followed suit and implemented SolarWinds solutions,” said Chris.

SolarWinds provides powerful and affordable IT management software to more than 100,000 customers in 170 countries from Fortune 500 enterprises to small businesses. More than one million registered end-users have downloaded SolarWinds free tools. In October, Forbes magazine named SolarWinds the #1 Small Company in America. SolarWinds focuses exclusively on IT Pros and strives to eliminate the complexity that they have been forced to accept from traditional enterprise software vendors. SolarWinds delivers on this commitment through products that are easy to find, buy, use and maintain while providing the power to address any IT management problem on any scale.