Ove Arup

A Solid Global Network Foundation for Arup

An n3k Case Study

ove_arup1Arup is a highly successful organisation of professional engineering consultants providing technical, design, creative and management skills to the construction industry. Currently operating out of 76 offices in 32 countries with 7000 employees, Arup is made up of a number of interrelated practices which provide project creation and management, planning and engineering consultancy for a wide range of building and infrastructure projects.The scope of work includes buildings, roads, bridges, airports and sports venues, and some of their most renowned projects include the Sydney Opera House, the Pompidou in Paris, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games.

As the company, founded in 1946 by Sir Ove Arup, continued to develop and expand, so did the need for an IT network infrastructure capable of supporting the resultant growth in services and data traffic. In particular as the number of users escalated, the need for Internet Protocol (IP) services to automate and manage IP name and address services across the global intranet and Internet systems became crucial. As unmanaged growth could lead to delays or breakdowns in network availability with consequent impact on the ability of the staff to operate effectively, it became clear that an IP address management solution was imperative for the continued success of the business.

ove_arup2The IT support hub responsible for worldwide network services for the Arup organisation is based in London. Eamon Murchan is the Server Team Leader responsible for IP Namespace, Active Directory (AD), servers, storage, and backup services. Five years ago Arup managed their computer nodes and IP network addresses using the dBase4 database, which proved to be error prone and needed constant manual updating, to show Arup the location of all the computers on the network. His long term strategy was Microsoft 2000 and Active Directory (AD), but he realised that he first needed to have his address space managed reliably and accurately with a robust Domain Name System (DNS) implemented as a foundation. Fortunately at this time Eamon was introduced to n3k Informatik Limited, a network management solutions provider who specialise in large IP networks, who assured him they had the right solution for his needs.

Eamon initially wanted to use a BIND based DNS server on a Windows platform to underpin his AD implementation, but n3k recommended the VitalQIP DNS server as a fault tolerant solution that would deliver a high degree of availability and integrate with MS AD. It could also interoperate with other BIND servers provided by other manufacturers when needed. The VitalQIP DNS server was installed as a pilot and Eamon was soon impressed with its performance … it did exactly what it said on the tin. Using VitalQIP has given him complete management control of his IP address space. He was particularly pleased with the VitalQIP GUI Interface, which allowed him to manipulate and configure his IP names and addresses with considerable ease.

I found I had a birds eye view of my IP names and addresses. I was able to run customised audit reports and logs, and do forward and reverse lookups on the network, something I had never been able to do before, enthused Eamon.

ove_arup3Eamon was also impressed with the consultancy services he purchased from n3k and found it easy to build good personal relationships with both consulting and support staff. He decided to try out the VitalQIP training provided by n3k and was very pleased with the results. Over the years he has sent many staff members with differing skill levels on the n3k courses, such as Advanced DNS, VitalQIP Administration, and DNS in a Microsoft AD Environment, and he has no hesitation in recommending them.

After the successful implementation of the VitalQIP DNS services, the next phase of network development was to optimise performance, eliminate single points of failure and simplify administration. Eamon eventually decided against the MS DHCP server as it did not provide the required resilience. Instead he implemented VitalQIP Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers. Now that he also has Microsoft Active Directory installed, he believes he has the best possible solution to IP services management. And one that is enabling him to reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

The Arup business is now truly global and many employees need to be able to work remotely. In order to be efficient they must be able to plug in their laptops and work from any location. The VitalQIP servers and Active Directory deliver network integrity and accessibility on a worldwide basis.

ove_arup4I now manage my global IP address space and over 120 DNS and DHCP servers worldwide. Without VitalQIP and n3k our business would fall over, it is as simple as that, explained Eamon.

Over the years the relationship between Arup and n3k has developed to the point where Eamon feels completely comfortable with them. He relies on them for consultancy, training and technical support. He believes they provide him with exactly the right level of support, updating him on product developments and responding quickly and efficiently to any network issues. In addition he is very impressed with their User Days.

n3k provides Best Practice for Arup in their consultancy, training and support. We have a mature partnership which enables trust and honesty. Most importantly however they are always extremely responsive when I need them to be, said Eamon.

Looking to the future, the Arup IT function is planning to move towards an ITIL compliant framework, and VitalQIP for the Arup IP Address space provides an ideal element for the Configuration Management Database (CMDB). As Arup look to implement Service Management they are currently reviewing VitalSuite Enterprise to assist them in meeting the standard. In the meantime Eamon would not hesitate to recommend n3k and VitalQIP to other organisations looking to automate and manage their IP address services:

With VitalQIP and n3k I feel confident that I have the three Ms. I can Monitor, Measure and Manage the Arup IP network. You can not ask for more than that.

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