Interview with Alexander Twaradze, Pandora FMS representative in CIS countries.
See original here.

Companies’ modern IT infrastructure consists of multiple systems and services. These could be servers, network equipment, software, communication channels, and services from third-party companies. All of them interact through a wide variety of channels and protocols. Monitoring what the entire IT infrastructure works like is a difficult and time-consuming task. In case of failure, you may face negative customer reviews, lose money and reputation, waste time and lose nerve. The task is to quickly find out the location and cause of the failure. It is necessary for the monitoring system to also allow you to automate response to failures, for example, restarting the system, activating a backup communication channel, and adding resources to the virtual server. At the same time, it is necessary for such a system to support all the variety of systems and manufacturers that the company has. We talked with Alexander Tvaradze, Director of Pandora FMS representative company in the CIS countries, about how Pandora FMS software helps to solve this difficult task.

Please tell us about Pandora FMS itself.

Pandora FMS head office is located in Madrid. The company has been operating on the market for more than 15 years and currently offers three main products:

IT Infrastructure monitoring System;

Help desk, ticket system;

It is a remote server management system

The company successfully operates on the international market, and its clients include a large number of companies from the public and private sectors in Europe and the Middle East, including Viber, MCM Telecom, Telefonica and others.

What does IT infrastructure monitoring bring to the company and how important is it?

Now business is connected with IT in one way or another, so the performance of servers, services, network and workstations directly affects the business. For example, failures in processing centers may affect payments from many companies and services. Monitoring of systems and services helps to solve several problems at once:

  • Monitor the parameters of equipment and services in advance, and take measures to get rid of a potential problem. For, example Pandora FMS can track the level of memory consumption and warn administrators in advance that the amount of free memory is insufficient and the service may stop.
  • Quickly understand where the failure took place. For, example, the company has integration with the banking service via API. Pandora FMS can not only track that the communication channel is working and there is access to the server, but also that the banking service does not respond correctly to API commands.
  • Perform actions to prevent the problem. For example, an organization has a reporting server. The peak load occurs at the end of the week, and when the server is overloaded, it causes problems for users. Pandora FMS can monitor the current server load. As soon as it exceeds a certain threshold, Pandora FMS launches a more powerful server in parallel, migrating services to it. When the peak load passes, Pandora FMS migrates back to the standard server, and disables the more powerful one.

To realize such opportunities, the system must be able to be flexible and work with several services and systems…

That’s exactly what Pandora FMS does. The system works with multiple manufacturers of network and server equipment, with both well-known and not-so-popular brands. If specific hardware appears, it is enough to upload its MIB file and specify which parameters need to be monitored. For example, our partner in Saudi Arabia is currently implementing a project with one of the large state-owned companies. They have a large “zoo” of systems from different manufacturers, including both 10-year-old devices and modern solutions.

Pandora FMS is able to monitor a wide range of software: operating systems, web servers, databases, containers, dockers, virtualization systems. Pandora FMS is also a certified solution for monitoring SAP R/3, S/3, CRM, etc., including monitoring SAP HANA databases.

The system has a high degree of flexibility. In one of the projects in the CIS, the customer needed to monitor the parameters of special satellite equipment. At the same time, the equipment did not support any standard monitoring protocols, such as SNMP, only the web interface. A script was created that collected data from a web interface page and uploaded it to an xml file. Then Pandora FMS downloaded the data from this file and displayed it to the customer in the form of graphs. The data were output to two monitoring centers located in different parts of the country. If there was a deviation from the basic values, the warning was sent to the administrators by e-mail and Telegram.

Pandora FMS can not only monitor, but also manage network device configurations, provide inventory, CMDB, script automation, monitor cloud services and web interfaces (UX monitoring), monitor IP addresses, etc.

What size of IT systems can be monitored using Pandora FMS?

Infinitely large and complex. One monitoring server can serve up to 50,000 different sensors. Multiple servers can be combined into a single system using the Enterprise Console. For customers with a complex structure, there is the possibility of distributed monitoring using Satellite servers. For example, such servers can be located in branches and transmit information to the central Pandora FMS server with one connection. This solution is fault-tolerant due to the fact that it is possible to install a backup Pandora FMS server. Unlike competitors, this feature is free. The multi-tenancy mode is also supported. For example, one Pandora FMS server can independently serve various departments or companies within a holding company.

How difficult is it to install and deploy the system?

The system is installed on a Linux platform. All major distributions are supported: RedHat, Suse and Rocket. MySQL is used as the database. Pandora FMS is deployed automatically by a script within some 15 minutes and users do not need in-depth knowledge of Linux. At the request of customers, you may provide ready-made images. Network equipment can be connected via automatic network scanning, data import via files, or manually. Servers are monitored through SNMP, WMI and/or agents, which can be installed automatically or manually.

What is the difference between Pandora FMS licensing models?

The company offers permanent licenses, which is convenient, in particular, for government organizations. This ensures that the monitoring system will never stop. It is licensed by the number of hosts, in increments of 100. For example, if you have 100 servers and 200 pieces of network equipment, then you need 300 licenses. They include all the modules of the system and access to over 400 plugins. The host can be both a server and network equipment. In the future, when purchasing additional licenses, customers can buy blocks of 50 hosts each. The difference in price compared to competitors’ solutions sometimes reaches 200-300%. Due to the fact that Pandora FMS runs on Linux platforms, you do not need to spend money for Windows and MS SQL server licenses.

For more information, please contact Advanced Technologies Solutions, which is the representative of Pandora FMS in the CIS countries. Pandora FMS can be purchased through partners in Azerbaijan and distributor Mont Azerbaijan.