Event enrichment, contextual correlation and automation to unify disparate systems

IBM® Tivoli® Netcool® Impact is enterprise and network management software that automates the support of business-critical functions. The software helps enrich events with business context, provides an integrated view of data from multiple sources in context and enables custom automations.

Tivoli Netcool Impact includes the following features and benefits:

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How can Impact help?

Impact has the ability to integrate information from external data repositories, for example relational-databases, into the Netcool solution. Events can be analysed, relevant data extracted from an external repository, and the event enrichment and/or escalation based on that extracted data. Alternatively, Impact generated operator views can be developed that display the key data within a browser page linked to the event. Using information from the primary source it is always up-to-date and the overhead of replication of that data to a proprietary format is avoided.

In a simple example, system owner and service details may be extracted from an external CCMDB based on the node name and the details appended to the event. This would enable operations centre staff to prioritise events based on the impacted service, and ensure the relevant system owners are informed. This scenario could be developed, with the service owner being automatically paged if the problem persists after a specified time period.

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Example Implementation

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To implement the example demonstrated above, required the following steps to be completed:

  1. Data Source definition: This defines the connection to the CCMDB database
  2. Data Type definition: This defines the table or view within the database that must be queried
  3. Policy definition: The policy describes how the selected events are processed, and what data is appended to those events
  4. Event Reader definition: To identify which events are to be processed and which policies will be applied to those events

The data source and data type definitions together identify the external information that can be processed by the policy. Figure 1 shows a data source definition CCMDB1 that connects to a DB2 database and a data type NODEDETAILS that accesses an view within that database . A manual query has been run against NODEDETAILS to demonstrate the information within the view, for example the field NODE, SERVICE and SUPPORT_TEAM.

A policy can access the information available from this data type. The policy extract below, for a policy labelled OrbDataEventEnrichement , highlights three key statements:

  1. Querying the data type (the CCMDB) with a filter based on the value of the event Node
  2. Assigning the values retrieved from the CCMD to event fields
  3. Writing the updates back to the ObjectServer

The final figure shows the WebGUI output including the enriched data.

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This simple example demonstrates the basic steps that are regularly completed manually by an Operations staff, but through automation of the process, not only can their time be freed for more valuable tasks, but the process is completed in a more timely fashion.

Where to start?

A limited Impact license is included with OMNIbus v7.3.x. The license facilitates a non-clustered Impact infrastructure to be connected to any Tivoli external data repository, i.e. where the data has been collected by a Tivoli product. So, for example, discovery data from TADDM could be analysed and appended to events, or referenced as a basis for escalation purposes.

How to develop the solution

Analyse the life-cycle of an event. How is it processed? Which of those processes are manual steps? Which of those steps could be automated? There will always be tasks where the operator adds value, but through automation of the mundane tasks, the operators can concentrate on the higher value tasks and the combination can result in a more efficient operations centre, and increase the availability of services that your customers rely on.

How can Orb Data Help?

Orb Data has experience with all stages of the Impact implementation projects, from the event life cycle analysis and project planning to the architecture and technical implementation of solutions. We can analyse your existing infrastructure to understand how and where Impact could provide benefit, contributing to increased service availability.

Additionally, Orb Data offer an Impact enablement service that comprises of a workshop, designed to teach administrators the development skills required to maximise the ROI from the infrastructure, followed by 3 days consultancy during which time the delegates focus on translating their in-house requirements. Solutions are designed and developed with hands-on advice and direction from an Orb Data consultant experienced in such tasks.

Orb Data would happy to discuss your specific challenges and demonstrate this technology.

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