The Order of the Blue Polo - Member 000020

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The Order of the Blue Polo

I've worked as a Unix System Administrator and Informix DBA for 20+ years with the last 10 in the telecommunications industry, primarily working with Network Management and Element Management Systems. Practically every network device manufacturer has their own NMS or EMS to control and monitor their devices but every customer struggles with managing to effectively monitor all of their devices simultaneously. The "Holy Grail" is a system where all events are received, displayed and correlated in order to quickly and effectively respond to service affecting events.

In 2007 Excel Telecommunications, one of the largest, if not the largest VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) carriers in the U.S., began a project to replace an aging, outsourced Netcool implementation. They selected OpenNMS and I was hired to program and manage the implementation. Excel purchased support from the OpenNMS group and Tarus performed the initial install. Within 6 months OpenNMS replaced the Netcool implementation. We accomplished this with a team consisting of myself and one very talented programmer who created a php program to monitor the TL1 devices and generate OpenNMS events.

At a previous telecommunications provider I was part of a department that included two system administrators and 4 dedicated programmers who to this day continue to work on a Netcool implementation. The hardware alone was nearly $250,000 and Netcool and Oracle licensing fees drove the inital cost closer to $500,000. Support fees topped $50,000 per year. I recently reworked the OpenNMS platform to use a shared iSCSI SAN built on a HP DL185 server running Solaris x86 and have two HP DL165 servers running CentOS 5.2 Xen. The OpenNMS runs as two virtual machines, one for PostGres and the other for OpenNMS. Total hardware cost was $15,000. Total annual hardware and OS support is $1,500 and OpenNMS support is about $13,000.00.

You do the math. 2 headcount instead of 7, $15k versus $500k capital outlay, $14.5k versus $50k per year support. Add to this that it works better than the closed source solution and it's an easy business and technical case with one real sweet ROI.

- George Livsey, Excel Telecommunications, USA