CITTIO Network Monitoring & Management Software
Date: 10/25/05

Date: 25 Oct 2005 13:08:01 -0700

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Hawaii (HMSA) found itself with a
rapidly expanding network and data center. Our network devices,
servers, and software were all growing in complexity and we knew
that we would have to leverage technology to gain better control of
our IT systems and network.

In the past, we confronted the same dilemma that systems
administrators in all IT organizations face: weighing the value of
simple monitoring solutions versus expensive, feature-rich
enterprise solutions that require labor intensive maintenance. We
attempted to implement a large-scale system and network monitoring
package from a major vendor but found the product was never fully
implemented or adopted by the users because of its overbearing
complexity. We then quickly implemented an inexpensive, low-end
package that provided basic monitoring - but lacked much of the
deeper functionality our organization required, such as performance
and application monitoring.

we knew we had to take a completely new approach. We decided to
develop a set of best practices to ensure that new investments in
system and network monitoring would be successful.

At the core of these best practices are two themes - simplicity and
cost-effectiveness HMSA's core best practices rest on five elements:

- Data center monitoring technology should be Web-based. Web-based
technology simplifies rolling out the system, because no client-side
application must be installed and upgraded. In addition,
administrators can work from any location. Web-based user interfaces
are also typically easy to learn, easing adoption and lowering
training costs.

- Monitoring technology should be standards-based. HMSA chose to
adhere to industry standards such as Simple Network Monitoring
Protocol (SNMP) in order to simplify setup and installation and to
avoid getting locked into one vendor's solution. Because SNMP is
supported by almost all hardware and software vendors, monitoring a
heterogeneous environment composed of many products is greatly

- Monitoring technology should be automation driven rather than
consulting or manpower intensive. Expending costly and valuable IT
resources on long-term enterprise software projects has proven risky
and expensive

- Data center operations should be viewed as a business process. IT
departments tend to look at monitoring technology as something that
displays trending graphs and sends alarms when there are network

- Monitoring technology with simple license terms is preferable to
products with many add-on or hidden modules. To control the costs of
a monitoring implementation, a company needs visibility of up to
five or 10 years of ongoing maintenance costs. Many enterprise
software vendors' products are composed of many modules and
components that have separate pricing models and require different
training and support. HMSA believes that products with a number of
components tend to be more expensive and complex to maintain over

We evaluated more than 15 vendors against these best practices and
found that CITTIO's WatchTower monitoring platform was the closest
fit. Equipped with WatchTower and our strong best practice approach,
we successfully deployed enterprise-class system and network
monitoring on 500 servers and network devices in a timely and cost-
effective manner. Moreover, we are gaining the complete system
control and network visibility our large, complex organization