Case Study

Samskip Uses Galileo Performance Monitoring to Maintain a Better Balance of IT Logistics

Challenge: Detail-Oriented Provider Needed Better Perspective on Data

When you are responsible for transporting and tracking more than €500-million worth of freight shipments annually, staying on top of details is a must. As a multi-modal transport operator in 24 countries across five continents, Samskip not only needs to process shipments and transfers among its diverse land, rail, sea, and air resources quickly, but also to store resulting transaction data for ready reference. According to Haukur Kristinsson, an IT manager at Samskip’s data center in Reykjavik, Iceland, the company initially experimented with open-source tools for monitoring server operations that provided only limited insight—statistics at 5-minute intervals and a raw interface of plots showing 5-, 10-, and 15-minute averages—making long-term comparisons difficult. “We originally used python scripts that generated ’ugly’ static images from the data in the database,” says Kristinsson. “Making user interface refinements would take time we just did not have.” In terms of storage system monitoring, Samskip’s solution was even more laidback. “We simply bought a new box whenever we perceived an increased need,” Kristinsson notes.

Unlike Samskip’s self-configured reports that averaged data transfer rates in bar charts, Galileo’s graphs provide a continuous view—by individual storage unit and cumulatively.

Solution: Galileo Performance Explorer Graphs Logistical Details

Recognizing the limitations of their open-source tools for charting utilization and IT capacity planning of their existing IBM Power System and virtualized storage infrastructure, the company searched for a better solution. Discovering the graphic charting capabilities of Galileo server and storage performance monitoring during a Web search quickly opened their eyes. “Galileo has awesome history, awesome dynamic graphs, and provides full support for AIX that our previous solution did not,” says Kristinsson, “but it was the storage monitoring capabilities that really sold us on Galileo.” In-depth reporting and colorful graphic charting formats for both server and storage performance make it easier for his team to document activities to upper management and to tailor existing resources to the organization’s needs. “Instead of manipulating third-party tools to identify system bottlenecks, we now pinpoint issues at a glance and correct them in-house, in much less time,” says Kristinsson.

Benefit: Optimized Workflow Balances Loads, Minimizes Hardware Investments

Although Samskip has not quantified the value of deferred hardware investments made possible by Galileo, the company is taking greater advantage of existing assets. “In addition to deferring new storage hardware purchases, we are better able to balance our storage needs across our current hardware,” Kristinsson reports. “For example, we have been able to dedicate our high-speed I/O demands to our solid-state drive (SSD) storage units, and leave less demanding applications for our physical disk units.”