Miami Dade Public Library System
Public Library System
The Miami–Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) consists of 49 branch locations and two bookmobiles, along with more than 3.8 million books and 150 databases. The library also provides access to more than 2,000 public computers along with free Internet and Wi–Fi access for all. The network and its more than 3,000 user devices are a big draw for library visitors. Library–owned systems, however, are just the beginning. The network also supports as many as 2,000 Bring–Your–Own–Device (BYOD) devices at a time. With a wide range of users and technical abilities, the team needed to be able to troubleshoot from the user perspective to identify and solve issues.
MDPLS found a solution with the TruView™ from NetScout, teamed with two OptiView® XG Network Analysis Tablets. TruView detects performance anomalies by creating a baseline to compare abnormal traffic patterns against. This helps MDPLS take proactive measures instead of simply reacting to issues. In most cases, MDPLS can resolve issues before they cause noticeable performance impacts for the library's more than 500 staff and millions of annual visitors. When problems do occur, the MDPLS team has the information needed to quickly isolate and solve the problem.
NetScout's TruView™ and OptiView® XG Network Analysis Tablet
TruView definitely makes us look good in front of library visitors because we have all of the information and tools needed to quickly resolve their issue and get them exactly what they need. It’s not uncommon for us to help a library patron, who always values the level of service provided by the library. That is a truly priceless return on our NetScout investment. — Library Systems Manager for the Miami–Dade Public Library System
The Miami–Dade Public Library Systems (MDPLS) originated in 1901 with the efforts of a local women's club, which led to an evolving collection of libraries across the city and county. These libraries were centralized in 1942 as the City of Miami Public Library System and renamed as the Miami–Dade Public Library System in 1971.
Today, MDPLS consists of 49 branch locations, two bookmobiles, and more than 3.8 million books and printed materials. Modern libraries offer more than just books, and MDPLS is no exception. The library provides access to more than 2,000 public computers along with free Internet and Wi–Fi access for all.
MDPLS visitors also benefit from an ever–expanding collection of online services and applications, including the latest research materials, e–books, movies, and music. In fact, MDPLS provides more than 150 internal and third–party databases that cover topics like health, biographies, psychology, science, technology, travel, careers, and more. This combines with the latest e–books, movies, and music.
Beyond information resources, MDPLS provides literary, cultural, and educational programs each month. Dedicated to enriching the lives of Miami–Dade citizens, the library is more than just a public service – it is the heart of the community.
The Miami–Dade Public Library System prides itself on providing leading information resources and technologies, and it shows. The library maintains a network of 35 physical servers and more than 250 virtual machines, which power more than 400 network nodes and 3,000 networked user devices owned by the library. Library–owned systems, however, are just the beginning.
"The network is a big draw for library visitors since MDPLS provides free Internet and Wi–Fi access to the public," said the library systems manager for MDPLS. "This results in as many as 1,500 consecutive users with people cycling on and off the network throughout the day. Wi–Fi adds an additional layer, bringing in another 2,000 BYOD users that we need to support."
Four IT employees provide all monitoring and troubleshooting for the MDPLS network infrastructure, including public Internet and Wi–Fi access, websites, email, antivirus, firewalls, etc.
"Monitoring and troubleshooting is a way of life for our team as there is always something that could be running better, especially since we need to support a wide range of users and technical abilities," explained a senior system administrator for MDPLS.
Providing a wide range of applications to users of all abilities often results in technical support calls from across the library's 49 branches. It is important that the MDPLS team knows what is wrong before dispatching a technician with a potential fix. This travel time would be wasted effort if the wrong technician is sent out without the necessary expertise or tools. Foresight, however, is anything but easy since 95 percent of the network is virtualized, which can obscure whether the issues are physical, virtual, or network based.
MDPLS required a tool that could provide visibility across not only the network, but also all of the applications and databases. The team needed to be able to troubleshoot from the user perspective to identify and solve issues – not just from the perspective of nodes on the network.
MDPLS found a solution with the TruView from NetScout teamed with two OptiView XG Network Analysis Tablets. TruView is the industry's first truly unified, single–appliance network and application performance monitoring and troubleshooting solution. It highlights performance metrics by using key data sets, including packet storage, application response time, transactional decode, NetFlow, and SNMP.
All TruView analysis results are displayed on a single dashboard that can be customized to each user's preferences. The dashboard features intuitive, guided workflows that allow MDPLS to isolate the problem down to the application, server, device, or even packet level. It takes just three clicks to determine why the user is experiencing poor response times and who owns that particular problem from a troubleshooting perspective.
"The dashboard is very easy to use and customizable, allowing each of us to specify preferences based on our roles and responsibilities," said the network manager for MDPLS. "We can see each application and device no matter if it is physical or virtual, with all of the information we need right in front of us at all times."
The OptiView XG is the first tablet specifically designed for network monitoring and troubleshooting. It provides analysis of wired and wireless networks and applications, allowing the user to get to the root cause of the problem in less time and with less frustration. The OptiView XG teams with TruView to deliver a comprehensive overview of network, application, and database performance to visually identify and report where issues originate.
" NetScout merged three different tools into a single solution set, saving more than $90,000 in system costs and allowing us to combine network monitoring with our application and database monitoring," said the library systems manager. "Consolidating equipment and maintenance saves us time and money without sacrificing functionality. In fact, the TruView deployment delivers more functionality than we’ve ever had before."
" NetScout's' professionalism and commitment is beyond what I've experienced from any other vendor," said a network manager at MDPLS. "We often get proactive calls from NETSCOUT whenever there are downloadable updates or new features for our TruView and OptiView platforms. We even get regular check–in calls to make sure the equipment is performing to satisfaction. The customer support is phenomenal."
"Before TruView, we relied on our third-party application and database providers to tell us why system malfunctioned or library visitors experienced performance issues," said the library systems manager.
During a recent infrastructure upgrade, MDPLS used TruView to ensure the system provider delivered on their promise. A certain level of bandwidth was scoped for the server hardware provided, but MDPLS found that it was not enough to meet the library's needs. TruView verified that the lacking bandwidth originated with the new server hardware, allowing the team to push the vendor to fix the issue before the vendor finished installation and the problem grew into an ongoing frustration.
TruView helps detect performance anomalies by creating a baseline to compare abnormal traffic patterns against. This helps MDPLS take proactive measures instead of simply reacting to issues. In most cases, the MDPLS team can resolve issues before they cause noticeable performance impacts for the library's more than 500 staff and millions of annual visitors.
When problems do occur, the MDPLS team has the information needed to quickly isolate and solve the problem. It's not uncommon for library visitors to call tech support and be routed to the Library Information Department.
"TruView definitely makes us look good in front of library visitors, because we have all of the information and tools needed to quickly resolve their issue and get them exactly what they need," said the library systems manager. "It's not uncommon for us to help a library patron, who appreciates our support and assistance. That is a truly priceless return on our NetScout investment."
"We're in control of our network and are empowered to maintain that control," a senior systems administrator. "You can't put a price on that."