Managed Cloud Analytics

  

SAS’s core skills are centred upon complex converged networking and the ability to monitor and manage the full application path . Simply put, we see the network (and the Cloud) as the foundation via which business critical applications are delivered. We’ve long believed that the traditional default position of blaming the network alone for poor end-user IT experience is dangerously misleading. In our 25 years' experience, as much as 70% of the time the issues lay outside the network.

Technology estates are complex and ever changing environments. They can be spread across multiple sites and stretch across continents; and across that pathway there are three critical overlapping layers - network, infrastructure and application . If you are unable to monitor all three (or choose not to monitor all three) and their critical interdependencies then you will be basing decision on opinion rather than fact. Visibility of just one piece of the jigsaw is simply not enough. It’s a bit like driving a car with a rev counter but no speedometer. It forces dangerous assumptions that expose organisations to risk.



The SAS Difference

Our approach to identifying, isolating and addressing faults is notably different. We don’t rely on guesswork or make assumptions; we don’t restrict our support to only the products and services we sell; and we don’t restrict our monitoring to the WAN only. We take a holistic approach (a view across the end-to-end application path) and base our recommendations on the hard facts generated by our industry-leading monitoring and management systems.

Over the last 25 years, we’ve steadily developed our monitoring and management systems - a £13m investment to date. We’ve progressively refined our core Network Monitoring System (NMS); we’ve developed a deep dive analytics tool (ARM) - Advanced Reporting Module; and we’ve developed value-add applications such as DIPA – Device Installation Progress Application: an application used by our engineers to store images of, and conduct on-site acceptance tests on, all the devices we’ve installed.

Alongside this work, we’ve already started developing and deploying our next generation of systems . This includes MIDAS, which is effectively an internal system aligned with our company digitalisation programme and will transform SAS into a paperless office and build efficiencies that will further enhance the quality of our customer engagement process. Beyond this, our roadmap includes a new customer portal - ‘ My Global SAS ’. This will take visibility of ticket management, escalations, and performance statistics to a whole new level.

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Evolution of WAN

In simple terms, our Cloud Analytics Service is illustrated in the graphic below. It is aligned with Gartner’s recent papers on this subject. While many of SAS’s competitors cover the reactive to proactive segments, SAS pushes on towards predictive reporting. It’s the ‘evolution of WAN’ in monitoring and management terms. But again, unlike many of SAS’s competitors our monitoring and management is differentiated by going beyond just the WAN to cover LAN, WLAN, server and applications, or as we call it the full application path .

While it is fair to say that this is not yet a fully automated process, it is indicative of our strategic direction. It is reflected in our ongoing multi-million pound investment and development of our systems which are well beyond the industry norm. SAS already picks up 95% of incidents proactively , and our Services Relationship Management option (detailed in our Professional Services section) is designed to provide a predictive reporting capability.

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Cloud Analytics Process

Based on our 25 years’ experience, we find that 85% of the help required by customers is during the in-life stage. This is a direct consequence of the fluid business environment - be that due to office moves, acquisitions, mergers or growth. To address this challenge, SAS has invested more than £13m in its Network Operations Centre and its monitoring and management systems. This investment is designed to help us provide granular detail of performance across the network, infrastructure and application layers detailed earlier.

The graphic below is a simplified representation of our Cloud Analytics Process , which is a core aspect of our proactive in-life support. The data from our systems is analysed in our own data warehouse and accessed via the public and private Clouds. The reports generated can go from a high level summary down to a deepdive analysis. The standard report is a monthly Quality of Service report which is sent to all our managed accounts. The advanced reporting capability goes into greater detail and is part of our Service Relationship Manager or Technical Resource Manager options.

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The Network monitoring and management stage includes WAN, LAN, WLAN, Internet, Point-to-Point (P2P), 3G/4G, Satellite, ISDN, PSTN and more. We provide this service across multiple partners including BT, Colt, Cisco, HP and Viprinet… to name just a few.

The Infrastructure monitoring and management stage includes Server, Virtual Host, Environmentals, Storage and UPS. Again, we provide this service across multiple partners (and not just the infrastructure we sell) including HP, Cisco, VMware, Microsoft and Dell… to name just a few.

The Application monitoring and management stage includes Operating Systems and Applications such as Exchange, SQL / MY SQL, .NET, Custom Apps, Network OS & Web Services. This too operates across multiple vendors including MS Office 365, MS Azure, Linux and Symantec.


Systems Scalability

SAS already monitors around 250 corporate networks on a national and international basis. These include customers with a small number of sites to many hundreds. In all, we monitor more than 18,000 devices and interfaces. Our systems already easily accommodate that load but also have significant extra capacity to ensure scalability.

To give confidence, and perspective, we can more than quadruple the load without further investment in our current generation of systems. That said, we are not standing still. As already mentioned, we are well on the road to our next generation releases.

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