KVM tools keep a watch on Big Brother

For some Australians the idea of a good time is watching Big Brother live on their mobile phones. And they don't want to miss a riveting moment - someone sleeping; another eating peaches out of a wine glass; or some standoffish behaviour in the household.

To its fans, it is engaging stuff, and for Michael Seager, IT planning and design manager for Hutchison managed services division at Ericsson Australia, it means pressure on his team to meet the SLAs to keep the voyeurs happy.

One client is 3, for which Hutchison managed services provides the TV footage of the Big Brother 6 series to mobile phones. Users pay $6 month and get Big Brother streamed live 24 hours a day on their phones as well as exclusive evictee interviews and weekly highlights. "Users are paying for live streams on their phones," he said, so the service has to be there.

One of the tools to help Seager is a stack of KVM (keyboard video mouse) management products from networking supplier Avocent.

Seager has been an Avocent DS View customer for four years and Hutchison managed services has used the product to monitor for any problems in networked equipment whether it's servers, routers or serial devices.

Although Hutchison managed services is based in the Sydney suburb of Ryde, the Big Brother servers for its client 3 are housed in a data centre in Sydney's CBD. So being able to remotely restart a server or run a firmware upgrade from afar, should it ever be required, is essential.

"Should Big Brother go down, the technical staff can dial in from home and check out the servers and see what is going on."

He said Hutchison managed services has 34 Avocent DS View 2 switches and 16 of the newer DS View 3 products. Each of the units has 16 ports; most run at about 80 percent capacity, meaning the products monitor several hundred devices on the network.

Although DS View provides his IT team members a single view of the company's assets, it also allows for peer support. If one technician is at a loss as to how to solve a problem, another can jump into a session and on the same screen show the other how to fix a problem.

"That is very powerful when you have got people dialling in in the middle of the night; outages cost money.

"It is unacceptable to have something that is not fault tolerant in a telco," he added.

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Howard Dahdah

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