The German City of Giessen is using open source software for IT Service Management (ITSM) functions in its municipal energy supply. The most visible part of the setup is openITCOCKPIT, a web-based front-end for the Nagios and Naemon packages for IT infrastructure monitoring.
According to an article written by Christoph Wess for IT-Zoom earlier this year, Giessen Public Works (Stadtwerke Gießen) chose openITCOCKPIT because of the integration options it offers. Three components — for monitoring, helpdesk/ticketing and document management — are automatically synchronised with the energy supplier's infrastructure, making the latter fully dependent on open source software.
New systems that are added to the infrastructure are automatically discovered and added to the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) after which they become fully managed parts of the infrastructure. If a service becomes unavailable or a system needs attention for any reason, a trouble ticket is generated automatically, providing information on the service or system involved, and instructions to remedy the issue.
After we had integrated the three systems for monitoring, helpdesk and documentation, our systems management became really easy, Thomas Rössler, IT director at the Giessen Public Works, told the reporter from IT-Zoom. The SAP systems are monitored using Computing Center Management System (CCMS, a monitoring system) instead of the Solution Manager (a full suite), resulting in additional savings on licences and resources.
openITCOCKPIT has been developed by the German consultancy firm IT-Novum, and is publicly available under the GPL3 license. The software provides a dashboard for monitoring and management, a reporting tool, issue tracking, document management (DokuWiki), and configuration management.
In addition, it supports connecting to a CMDB, integration options for cloud platforms, and integration with SAP (proprietary), Active Directory (proprietary) and LDAP. Some of these features are only available with the commercial Enterprise Edition of openITCOCKPIT though.
Proactive systems management
The need for monitoring and issue tracking was what triggered Giessen to deploy the open-source ITSM solution in 2012. Initially, the system was only used to signal acute problems like network failures or problematic hard disks. Later on, alerts based on thresholds were added, allowing proactive systems management.
According to the IT-Zoom article, the CCMS SAP monitoring system was cumbersome to operate on its own, and its data was impossible to combine with other monitoring information. Low costs, easy integration with other systems, and the ability to get technical support from IT-Novum were the most important reasons why Giessen Public Works chose openITCOCKPIT. The ticketing system and the CMDB were added in 2015.