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Customer Interview: A long time SolarWinds customer saves 5+ hours a week monitoring and managing Active Directory.

Level 14

I recently had the opportunity to interview Cole Lavallee of Waters Corporation. At Waters, Cole and his team use Server & Application Monitor, Log & Event Manager and DameWare to monitor and troubleshoot hundreds of servers, critical applications, and sites worldwide to reduce any downtime and increase customer satisfaction.

JK: What are some of the challenges you face every day in your job?

CL: Currently we have about 80 offices worldwide and it’s very crucial we receive alerts when there is a problem in our environment. Since we are in the life sciences business, there are FDA regulations and guidelines we have to keep log data for certain amounts of time. This includes important files on many different servers and requires periodic validation.

JK: How did you find out about SolarWinds?

CL: Working in IT I’ve known SolarWinds for years. When I came onboard to Waters few months back, we already had Server & Application Monitor (SAM) up and running.

I am in the group that manages all corporate IT and monitor over a hundred servers as part of our datacenter using SAM.  We use VMware for our virtual infrastructure with the majority of our servers being virtual and we use SAM to monitor them. We also monitor Active Directory which is a big thing for us. We monitor SQL servers, UNIX and Linux systems, and IIS Web servers.

We monitor the Waters website and all the servers that go along with it, which is a lot of servers.  One website is used for customers to communicate to customer support and that’s crucial to customers. If any of those sites go down then we have a big issue so it’s important they’re up.

We use Lotus Domino internally and because of that we use Log & Event Manager to manage Active Directory accounts in case of lock outs. This is really important for us to monitor because with Lotus Domino you actually have to change your password in your phones unlike other environments. With Log & Event Manager, we can automatically reset their password when accounts get locked and it saves a lot of time for us and the end user.  This probably saves us 5+ hours a week minimum.

JK: In terms of business benefits, what is the outcome of using SolarWinds products?

CL: We really try to stay with SolarWinds with anything that we try to do. Our team at Waters is really happy with SolarWinds. Also the products are easy to use. We’ve never really had any problems where the tools reported something incorrectly or if something went down. I’ve used a lot of server monitoring software and I’ve seen how awful they are and SolarWinds is one of the easier ones to use. It definitely works for us.

About the Author
Like SolarWinds, I have roots in Oklahoma and have been fond of land grant schools as I went from Oklahoma State University, moving South to Texas A&M University.  Like my college career (accounting, political science, Russian language and then MBA), I have suffered ADD in my professional career moving from finance to strategy to product management and marketing.  I have, however, settled on the broad niche of systems management and have acquired knowledge in this space over the last 11 years. I was very happy to join the SolarWinds team in January 2012 and have been very impressed with the technology.  I look forward to engaging with this community.