Technology leader KERN-LIEBERS monitors its systems worldwide with Checkmk


KERN-LIEBERS is considered one of the global technology leaders in the production of highly complex parts and assemblies, with a focus on springs and stamping parts. The group from Germany develops and manufactures high-quality precision products from strip steel and wire at over 40 locations worldwide.

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Checkmk’s unique performance and excellent dashboards won us over immediately.

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As a global company, KERN-LIEBERS is dependent on the reliable functioning of all of its IT systems worldwide. Their IT monitoring system has to work with minimal staff and low hardware resources.

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Checkmk replaced Nagios as their monitoring solution in 2013. Since then, KERN-LIEBERS has continued to expand its monitoring. Nowadays, their IT team monitors over 70,000 services worldwide.

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The IT administrators run three Checkmk sites in a distributed monitoring to shorten the data paths. The systems in Europe are monitored by KERN-LIEBERS at a central site in Germany. In addition, there is a remote site in the USA and one in the PR China.

Monitoring from the Black Forest to the whole world

The history of KERN-LIEBERS dates back to 1888, when company founder Hugo Kern began to produce tension springs. To this day, the family-owned company has remained true to metal processing, though KERN-LIEBERS has grown significantly since that beginning. Today, with over 7,000 employees and more than 40 subsidiaries worldwide, the company is a technology leader for highly complex metal parts and assemblies, and is also active in many other industries.

One basis for this successful expansion is the company’s passion for technology and continuous modernization. Naturally, IT plays an important role in this, and KERN-LIEBERS’ IT environment is correspondingly extensive. In 2013, the IT team decided on an important change with regard to the IT infrastructure: The Checkmk Enterprise Edition replaced the Nagios monitoring solution.

In 1908, KERN-LIEBERS already had large production facilities

With Checkmk, KERN-LIEBERS was able to continue using existing monitoring plug-ins from other monitoring solutions and to successively build up a monitoring system for all of its IT assets worldwide. Today, more than 70,000 services are monitored. The administrators in Germany operate one main site and a remote site in the USA and one in the PR China.  Each Checkmk site monitors the systems on its continent.

The challenge

KERN-LIEBERS must reliably monitor IT systems according to uniform standards in over 40 locations worldwide. The IT team has only limited personnel resources at its disposal, as each employee has to take on several areas of responsibility. It was additionally required that the monitoring could be managed centrally. With the existing Nagios solution, this was no longer possible.

Scalable monitoring with minimal effort

Today, the production is modernized

The monitoring includes hardware servers, storage, network devices such as switches, and many virtualized assets. These contain large VMware environments, for example. However, the administrators also run virtual machines in Microsoft Azure and monitor these with Checkmk. The monitoring is done via Checkmk agents, vendor APIs and SNMP.

The monitoring sends highly accurate notifications to an available member of the IT team if intervention is needed. At the same time, the service desk uses the information from Checkmk to troubleshoot problems. The detailed information provided has already proven very useful on several occasions.

With over 40 subsidiaries worldwide, we need to be able to monitor systems remotely. Thanks to the unparalleled architecture of Checkmk, we don’t have to compromise

The solution

In 2013, Checkmk replaced the previous monitoring tool Nagios and has been the foundation for KERN-LIEBERS’ IT monitoring ever since. In total, the administrators have set up three Checkmk sites on hardware servers in a distributed monitoring. Through the geographic distribution of their monitoring, KERN-LIEBERS are able to efficiently monitor systems in Asia, Europe, and America.

The monitoring data in combination with the dashboards and other graphing features in Checkmk are a great help in analyzing anomalies and failures. Checkmk shows the exact cause of errors, which enables a lasting solution to any problems.

To work more efficiently, the administrators have adapted their monitoring with their own extensions. For example, Checkmk uses a specially created script to check whether Windows has successfully rolled out patches and updates. In addition, thanks to self-written extensions, Checkmk can keep track of any shared folders and better monitor SAP data.

Checkmk’s main site is located at the company’s headquarters in Schramberg

We are very satisfied with Checkmk. The numerous automation mechanisms take a lot of work off our shoulders. Nevertheless, the monitoring is absolutely reliable.

The advatages

Since switching to Checkmk, the IT team has significantly less work with IT monitoring. The notifications are precise and inform the responsible people immediately, so that they are able to take the appropriate action. Checkmk is also highly scalable and can easily monitor even numerous systems remotely.

Download the KERN-LIEBERS case study