Monitoring From The Cloud: Schoolwires Case Study

Guest Post:

Hello I’m Rick Stivers, and I’m the Director of Network & IT Services for Schoolwires. Schoolwires provides strategic online communication, community-management and productivity solutions to the K-12 education market. Our core product is Centricity, which brings together robust and flexible website management, community management and web 2.0/social network capabilities in a single, user-centric solution.  We also deliver Schoolwires Synergy™, a digital file sharing solution, and Schoolwires Assist™, a service request solution. We currently work with nearly 1,000 districts, over 5,000 schools and over  5 million users across the nation.

 We currently provide four different hosting models.

ASP Hosted at our Managed Facility through Expedient Communications

Educational Service Agency Hosted at their own facilities which serve districts in their regions.

Client Hosted – Self Hosted at School Districts on their own equipment

Schoolwires Appliance – Schoolwires maintained equipment at School Districts.

Over the past year we have really pushed toward the cloud. We implemented an Enterprise VMware Architecture with High Availability, DRS, and VMotion. One benefit of this push was higher reliability on the hardware side and reduction of our server footprint.

We began working with Monitis roughly two years ago. At the time I was unhappy with the current solution I inherited. It was a solution which required our own server, and was not robust enough for the number of sites we needed to monitor. We did an exhausting search and were just not happy with what we were finding due to the number of sites we needed to monitor and the ROI for many solutions were not cost effective. I found, and immediately liked what I saw during the trial process. I really liked the fact that they provided a solution along the same model as ours (SaaS), and that it was priced very competitively. It could also scale to the number of sites we currently had (more than 1200) and where we expected to be in 3 years. The interface was also very user friendly and with the AJAX interfaces felt more like a desktop application than a web tool. The reports are very helpful, and really allow us to focus our attention on the lower performing sites. Monitis allows easy exporting of raw data. This has helped with productivity, because I can easily categorize reports based on hosting type and really pinpoint issues related to the location. I also liked that they were innovating and really willing to listen to feedback on feature requests. One of the real benefits of their solution is that it gives an independent view on our sites SLA numbers. Unlike software we load internally on our network and which increases our cost because it’s another server and application we need to manage.

Part of my job description requires that our sites maintain a certain SLA, and without Monitis this would be difficult to track and maintain. The downtime alerts are very accurate and allow us to respond quickly to service outages. We really value this partnership and will continue to work with Monitis to help improve their product and services. Thank you…

Rick Stivers, the Director of Network & IT Services for Schoolwires