The federal government’s efforts to make its information technology operations more efficient have led to Health Canada farming out the monitoring of 83 servers to an Ottawa company that specializes in remote monitoring and management.
Network Management Inc., through a contract with Public Works and Government Services Canada, will monitor the Health Canada servers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Don Daniels, product manager for the IT Services Branch at Public Works and Government Services, said the deal is based on a contract his office signed with Nuvo in 2001, establishing the Ottawa firm as the branch’s provider of network and server management and monitoring.
He said Health Canada chose to use the service as part of an effort to align itself with the Way Forward initiative, a part of the 2005 federal budget aimed at increasing IT efficiency. The initiative aims to have federal departments share services where appropriate, eliminating duplication and freeing their own internal staff to focus on work more specific to their own departments.
Government officials said the contract will free Health Canada IT employees from infrastructure management and let them concentrate on delivering services to department staff and the general public. “It gives them the ability to really allocate their resources more appropriately to other projects,” Daniels said.
Health Canada is the second federal department to rely on Nuvo for server monitoring under the contract between IT Services Branch and the Ottawa-based company. Natural Resources Canada also uses the server monitoring service, said Daniels. Some 20 federal departments and agencies use a network monitoring and management service provided through the same branch, which in some cases includes correcting the problems as well as simply monitoring and reporting them.
In Health Canada’s case, Nuvo is responsible only for monitoring the servers and notifying Health Canada when a problem is observed, said Daniels. Health Canada IT staff will then be responsible for correcting the problem. Phil Weaver, Nuvo’s president and chief executive, added that his company will also provide performance analysis to the department.
Weaver said Nuvo is one of the largest providers of network and server monitoring and management. The 10-year-old, 115-employee company serves customers in some 50 countries around the world from operations centres in Ottawa and Philadelphia, with a back-up centre in Rochester, N.Y. The company operates largely through partnerships with major information technology companies, including IBM Corp.
Weaver said Nuvo can deliver cost savings of 20 to 30 per cent to most of its monitoring clients. “We’ve developed some very tight automation processes,” he said.
To do the same sort of monitoring on their own, Weaver said, customers like Health Canada would need to acquire monitoring software and integrate it into a work-flow ticketing system. They would also need to have employees on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some companies do not monitor their systems around the clock, he noted, but are seeing the need to do so and are therefore looking at outside service providers like Nuvo.