Technology: Network Automation Software Improves EfficiencyBy Baselinemag | Posted 2006-07-14 Email Print
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At Drugstore.com, network management software reduces complexity and aids compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley.
Drugstore.com, the $263 million, Bellevue, Wash.-based online pharmacy "has a lot of the same problems every other company has," says Don Allan, senior director of IT operations. "We're trying to manage the most equipment with the smallest staff, for example." And because the company is public, it must adhere to a bevy of federal regulations, most notably the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Allan's biggest compliance-related headache? Managing changes to the company's IT systems. Drugstore.com's many servers, network switches and other hardware often requires reconfiguration as software programs are upgraded and the company expands its systems. Until recently, all of that work was handled manually, machine by machine. Not only did that introduce unnecessary errors into the system, but it was eating up the company's limited IT resources, since changes to each machine could take weeks to complete. Even worse, tracking all those changes and ensuring proper documentation was a logistical nightmare.
Allan knew he needed something that would simplify the process. So Drugstore.com partnered with Opsware, an automation services vendor. Opsware's software manages hardware configurations in a single place, allowing one network administrator to push changes out to multiple devices all at once.
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