Airport Vienna monitors its systems in segmented networks

Who is Vienna International Airport?

Benefiting from its geographical location in the center of Europe, Vienna International Airport is considered one of the most important hubs serving the flourishing destinations in Central and Eastern Europe. Due to this, the demands on its IT infrastructure and thus also on its IT monitoring are correspondingly high. With Checkmk, Vienna International Airport at all times has an overview of all of its systems and can identify any problems at an early stage.

Logo Vienna International Airport

Checkmk comes with many intelligent features that save us a lot of time. In particular, the automatic detection of new monitoring services is a good example.

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As their existing monitoring solution was too time-consuming to operate, the Vienna International Airport was looking for an alternative. Since 2014 the IT team has been using the Checkmk Enterprise Edition, and is now working more efficiently than previously

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These days, Vienna International Airport operates a distributed monitoring system. The monitored assets are largely IT infrastructure components such as network devices and servers, but also include information displays and baggage handling systems.

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In addition to those responsible for IT operations, other departments now also benefit from Checkmk. For example, Checkmk supports the IT helpdesk in resolving support requests.

High demands on the IT infrastructure

Like many airports worldwide, Vienna International Airport faces the daily challenge of ensuring the performance of critical systems in segmented networks. This involves not only systems for flight operations, but also includes access control systems and border protection equipment. In addition there are also the assets used by ground handling services, as well as the IT resources for all of the commercial activities at the airport. In practice, these are systems such as IP cameras, baggage handling systems, turnstiles and much more. The basis for meeting this challenge is an IT monitoring system, which is able to oversee the IT infrastructure in detail and proactively supports the airport’s personnel in eliminating problems. At the same time, the monitoring must be easy to use and extremely reliable. Interruptions to the monitoring could pose a risk to air traffic operations. The IT monitoring solution used previously could not meet the airport’s demanding operational requirements.

Employee at the airport working on counter with assets monitored by Checkmk

The Linux team therefore started testing the Checkmk Raw Edition in 2014 and was immediately convinced. In the same year, the IT management team decided to use Checkmk for monitoring other systems as well and so switched to the Checkmk Enterprise Edition, which is better designed for the monitoring of large environments. Nowadays the airport operates multiple Checkmk sites with a total of 200,000 monitoring services. Vienna International Airport uses a distributed monitoring and manages all of its Checkmk sites via one central site. A large proportion of the monitored systems are network devices such as firewalls and servers. In addition, there are special airport assets, such as displays and baggage handling systems, which Checkmk can also monitor.

The challenge

Airports in particular have a large number of diverse IT systems, all of which the responsible IT operations team must monitor continuously. If a problem occurs, the IT teams must be able to detect it accurately and resolve it promptly. The IT team at Vienna International Airport could not guarantee secure monitoring with the solution in place previously.

Decisive factors for the introduction of Checkmk included its intuitive user interface and its ability to easily manage even a large number of hosts via rules. In addition, with its over 2,000 official check plug-ins Checkmk supports the monitoring of diverse systems from a range of suppliers.

The Checkmk architecture also allows operation in highly secure environments and a granular control of access rights to the monitoring. For the IT operations team, dealing with Checkmk is commonplace, but other departments also benefit from the information acquired. Based on the monitoring data, employees can create analyses for the planning and control area. In addition, the IT helpdesk staff are able to use the data from Checkmk to respond more effectively to requests for support.

Field service in the data center of the Vienna International Airport

The solution

With the Checkmk Enterprise Edition, IT managers can ensure the high performance of the IT infrastructure at Vienna International Airport. Thanks to Checkmk’s rule-based approach, the IT operations team saves a lot of time during configuration. In addition, Checkmk requires few resources for its monitoring.

Staff at the IT service desk using Checkmk

These advantages of Checkmk were so outstandingly clear that the decision to replace the existing solution was quickly made. The switch to Checkmk was also easy to implement. Over the years, the team has continued to learn more and more about Checkmk and to refine their monitoring.

A significant advantage for the airport, for example, is the ability to implement updates step-by-step. The IT operations team thus only ever migrates individual host groups to a new version and then verifies that the monitoring still functions correctly. This helps to comply with security requirements and in practice requires only a few clicks in the Checkmk user interface. As a result, an uninterrupted monitoring can always be guaranteed.

The advantages

Thanks to Checkmk, Vienna International Airport can securely and efficiently monitor a large number of systems in a segmented environment. The easily-accessible user interface and granular user management also allow personnel with no previous monitoring experience to access the monitoring data.

Checkmk agents in particular can be used to monitor an incredible number of systems with little effort and resources.

Download the Vienna International Airport case study