IBM bought Micromuse over two years ago, and with that purchase they duplicated a number of products within their availability management space. Since the purchase, several Netcool products have superseded the legacy Tivoli products, and the IBM published roadmaps have highlighted more legacy Tivoli products to be retired. None of the proposed retirements have provoked more emotions than the retirement of TEC Server.
The end-of-support date for TEC Server, published by IBM, is April 2012. However, as many customers have invested heavily in their TEC Server implementations, they are reluctant to upgrade their infrastructure to the Netcool/OMNIbus event correlation engine, known as the ObjectServer. However, when the true power of the new solutions is realised, and the out-of-the-box features utilised, this upgrade can enhance the correlation solution, improving performance, reliability and availability.
The Netcool/OMNIbus ObjectServer includes all the functionality of TEC Server, plus more. The event throughput for the ObjectServer is recognised to be millions of events per day, thanks to the efficiency of the in-memory database, and the triggers that perform the event correlation functions. This compares to the event throughput of the TEC Server, usually considered to be in the region of tens of thousands of events per day. This improved performance reduces the required hardware investment, as less hardware resource is required for an equivalent event throughput. This reduces the capital outlay from a hardware perspective, but also reduces the on-going support costs.
It has been noted, that, as yet, there hasn't been one TEC Server rule that could not be converted to an ObjectServer trigger. The development of those triggers is made simple by the fact they are based on ANSI SQL, skills available in the majority of companies. However, as many triggers are provided out-of-the-box, implementation is further simplified. Of significance here are triggers for de-duplication and generic event clearing that provide vital correlation functions. The combination of these two triggers reduces the white-noise visible to the operators, through a reduction in the displayed events, and maintains the performance of the ObjectServer.
The Probes available for the Netcool/OMNIbus solution analyse devices and resources and generate events for the ObjectServer. Over 250 probes exist, covering almost every device and monitoring product. To facilitate the smooth upgrade from the TEC Server solution, an EIF probe exists for receiving native TEC Events and formatting them for processing by the ObjectServer. Hence, this extensive range of probes greatly increases the potential visibility of the IT infrastructure, whilst maintaining compatibility with existing event sources.
The integration of Netcool/OMNIbus is also simplified with the various Gateways, for example gateways for Service Desk, SLA, Asset and CMDB. These gateways enable the export of data from the ObjectServer, the manipulation of that data and subsequent insertion into an external application. This, for example, facilitates the automated opening of trouble tickets based on received events, and the export of event information to a Data Warehouse for subsequent analysis.
All event solutions must be designed with some form of resilience or disaster recovery plans. This may be based on a simple back-up and restore, or an architecture specific clustering technology. The solutions employed for TEC Server disaster recovery have been many and varied, but invariably required significant investment of time and money for their design, testing and implementation. The Netcool/OMNIbus solution includes an out-of-the-box, automated failover/failback function for the ObjectServer. This solution includes the automated failover and failback of all clients, including the probes and the desktop clients, both the Native Desktop and the WebTop clients. This reduces capital expenditure for the design, implementation and maintenance of the Netccol/OMNIbus solution when compare to TEC Server.
In addition to the advantages already discussed, the Netcool product suite includes additional products to further enhance the solution.
For example, Netcool/Impact is used for event enrichment, adding additional information to events through event analysis and optional external data sources, for example an RDBMS. This information could identify affected customers or services and include escalation details required by the operators.
IBM Tivoli Network Manager, or ITNM, discovers devices on TCP/IP networks, and subsequently monitors the availability of those devices. Alerts are raised via the ObjectServer, facilitating a complete picture of the IT infrastructure health from the single console.
Tivoli Business Service Manager, or TBSM, supplies the tools for assisting the response to events, in line with business requirements and service level agreements. The service model built within TBSM integrates with the ObjectServer to provide a user specific dashboard, representing the business services.
Further technical details and a comparison of the technologies can be found in the Orb Data article OMNIbus or TEC Server? All you need to know.