Outsourcing critical infrastructure management is the name of the game today for many Canadian enterprises in the private and public sectors.

And it’s also the route Health Canada has chosen to ensure the security and effectiveness of its server systems – 83 of them to be precise.

These 83 Health Canada servers will be monitored 24×7 by Nuvo Network Management Inc., an Ottawa-based provider of IT infrastructure management and protection services.

The initiative is in line with “The Way Forward” – a program spearheaded by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to improve how the Government of Canada does business. The program seeks innovative ways of delivering services smarter, faster and at a reduced cost.

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In fact it was PWGSC that, on Tuesday, selected Ottawa-based Nuvo Network Management Inc.’s managed services to move Health Canada on The Way Forward.

This initiative mandates greater outsourcing of services to make better use of taxpayer dollars, according to Don Daniels, product manager at PWGSC. Daniels, who manages network contracting services for many government departments, believes with the financial burden eased from Joe Public, the government – as a whole – can focus on sharing services and consolidating data centres.

“The (Nuvo) solution was a strategic alignment more than a problem fix,” Daniels said.

Health Canada obtained Nuvo services using a PWGSC service delivery contract – available to any government department. PWGSC is the contracting authority that oversees the Internet Technology Services Branch (ITSB) to resell competed services.

“Essentially, Health Canada is using a service offering from PWGSC that is [delivered] by Nuvo,” was how Daniels explained it.

Nuvo’s responsibility includes alerting Health Canada about “potential problems before they impact service operations,” according to Phil Weaver, president and CEO at Nuvo Network Management Inc.

If server memory approaches capacity, Nuvo can advise network managers to take corrective action before the server crashes or data gets corrupted, Weaver said. “In a nutshell, we tell them where there’s going to be a problem before there actually is one, so they can maximize uptime.” Maximize yes, but guaranteed uptime is something PWGSC does not specifically receive.

“The Nuvo solution doesn’t guarantee uptime,” Daniels said. “The service that (Health Canada) is getting from Nuvo is monitoring, not full management service.

The term uptime is not correct, according to Daniels. More correctly it is 24/7 awareness.

“We are providing (Health Canada) with performance and reporting analytics, and the real-time monitoring 24/7 of their key server infrastructure,” Weaver said. “It allows them to focus their core resources on other functions and reduces costs related to certain levels of expected expertise.”

Weaver said Nuvo provides preventative monitoring services by looking for early problem indicators. Examples include problems created by the sheer volume of jobs running at a given time, Weaver said.

According to Daniels, Health Canada remains responsible for second and third level server management. What has been outsourced is first level monitoring, he said.

“To man first level support staff is hard to do and [requires] a lot of resources. There are more resources required to manage first level problems, a little bit less for second level issues, and even less for third level.’

He said the initiative would help Health Canada to assign its resources much better.

Related links:

IT Outsourcing – take a page from corporate Canada

Companies look for more flexible outsourcing deals

Outsourcing adventures – view from the frontlines

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