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How to Manage Bayer AG’s Far-Flung and Diverse Messaging Infrastructure | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Interview with Stan Gallagher, IT Senior Consultant at Bayer, and Jean-Francois Piot, VP at GSX Solutions

Interview with Stan Gallagher, IT Senior Consultant at Bayer Business and Technology Services and Jean-Francois Piot, GSX Solutions Vice President of Product Management

Please tell us about Bayer's organization, to get a better grip on the size of an IT issue that an international company such as them could face.

JF Piot, VP of Product Management at GSX Solutions: Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, and high-tech polymer materials. Founded in Barmen, Germany in 1863, Bayer has 118,900 employees and had sales of €42.2 billion ($45.9 billion US) in fiscal year 2014. Its capital expenditures amounted to €2.5 billion and R&D expenses to €3.6 billion.

What about their messaging infrastructure?

Piot: Bayer has a far-flung and diverse messaging infrastructure that includes 120,000 Exchange mailboxes; 100,000 Microsoft Lync, BES and Domino applications users; and 100,000 SharePoint users at 5,000 sites. It operates 100 servers out of three data centers in Singapore, Germany, and the US.

Stan Gallagher, IT Senior Consultant at Bayer Business and Technology Services, and his team of six collaboration architects are responsible for overall operational management.

What was the IT challenge that Bayer AG faced?

Piot: The challenge was to find a tool to manage this complex environment which would alert administrators to potential bottlenecks and failures before they occur, yet be easy to set up and manage with little or no impact on the servers, themselves. For example, SCOM was used as the primary Exchange monitoring tool, but it was difficult to set up and configure to get the information needed. Keeping hundreds of Domino servers across the globe up and running proved even more of a challenge. The monitoring product they had used would cause the servers to crash or, at times, fail to notify when a server was down. A piece also had to be installed on each Domino server to allow the product to work.

How did GSX manage to solve the situation that Bayer AG was facing?

Piot: GSX Monitor & Analyzer offered an agentless, single-application solution for all the platforms. For example, while SCOM provides overall system monitoring, GSX allows administrators to easily drill down to see Exchange statistics on the size of data, size of the content databases, how many users are in the database, and data space on SQL servers in real time. The Main View in GSX Monitor allows administrators to group together and see in real time each server's status. With GSX Analyzer, administrators can track monthly trends in KPIs for mailboxes, disk space, and databases to aid in long-term system planning.

What were the results?

Piot: Bayer found that GSX solutions worked right out of the box and was very easy to understand. Since nothing had to be installed on the servers, they only had to update one machine, and an upgrade takes just 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

What did Bayer AG have to say about the results?

Piot: Gallagher found that GSX is like a car's dashboard, popping up information about critical user services to keep users informed, instill confidence, provide early warnings, and alert users to faults. "Our ROI began as soon as GSX was up and running, and that was within 30 minutes of receiving the software," Gallagher said. "Once GSX Monitor is installed and configured, there is nothing much needed to maintain it. It runs and runs, and in the two years we have used it, the GSX Monitor machine has never crashed, nor has it ever crashed one of our Domino servers." He concluded, "at Bayer, I deal with lots of vendors, but GSX stands out because it makes a product that does what it says and does it well. The few times I have required technical support, I have found GSX to be responsive, knowledgeable, and professional."

Does Bayer AG employ GSX throughout their entire organization?

Piot: Bayer AG has multiple GSX probes, which is the physical product. They have two installations in the US, three installations in Germany, and one installation in Singapore. Together with GSX, Bayer AG is managing 12,000 mailboxes and more than 100 servers.

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