Welcome to our blog for Netcool, which will include Consolidated Operations Management (including network and event management) as well as our Performance Management suite. The intent of this blog is to provide you with interesting topics and the most up-to-date information about our solutions. Over the next couple of months, visit our blog and read about hot topics like smarter telecommunications, technology trends like Long Term Evolution (LTE) and Metro Ethernet, and stay connected up with our latest offerings and assets. A team of IBM experts will be contributing to this blog and will be here to listen to feedback from you, our readers. We look forward to blogging with you!
Heath Newburn 0600001SYA firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  consops consolidated-operations business-service-manageme... service-management netcool bsm 7 Comments 16,977 Visits
I do a couple of couple of dozen briefings a year and inevitably I get asked to talk about Business Service Management (BSM), even though I'm not the BSM guy. Why? Because we all know that BSM is important, it's how companies visualize and relate what's happening throughout IT and the business via models. Everybody's talking about it and some are even doing something about it. It's what's getting the hype in magazines and is the darling of the analyst community right after cloud (which is a topic for another day).
The fascinating thing that happens in these briefings is that the bulk of the discussion time isn't spent on constructing the business models or in the lots of cool ways to build dashboards, but rather about where all that data comes from, how to discover all the sources of it, how to identify what's healthy and what's not and how the heck you manage it. This is the heart of the matter, it's fascinating that what gets left out of the discussion by many vendors -- Consolidated Operations. Consolidated Ops is what helps deliver on the promise and potential of BSM. The ability to integrate and contextualize the feeds from thousands or tens of thousands of devices generating a deluge of data is the only way to enable a successful transition from resource-driven reactive management to services-driven proactive management. It's amazing how so many vendors seem to gloss over the importance of the need for broad and deep integrated event management ...
In order to make this miracle happen, we need more information. We don't need more data, nobody wants more data. We're drowning in data, we've got way too much data. What we lack is information. Data only becomes information through context. Context is king.
Context is what enables us to move from being an organization that is "220.127.116.11 ping unreachable" to "The router BFG973, building 42, floor 3, rack 7 slot 3 owned by Jerry W., pager 512-823-8305 has an 83% chance of reaching I/O saturation in the next 48 hours, effecting the customer order entry line of business which has an SLA penalty of $7500/hour. The last change was to Big Buffers max, setting was 150, setting is 20" (and a nice link to click on the link to the last authorized change which says it should have been set to 200 and a link to provisioning to complete the correct change if we want to go really nuts). If you're carrying the pager, which problem do you want to work? In a retail banking operation, if the print servers are down in the branch office and the central mortgage loan application is running 2 minutes slow, which is more important to work first? Does it make a difference if it's a weekend?
The ability to create this context is at the core of event management. Being able to incorporate performance data, config data, change data and fault data into a cohesive view of the enterprise is what enables operations to move from a reactionary force driven by customers reporting outages to a proactive team that is able to manage the resources in terms of the value they provide to the organization, rather than if they are available or not. Now we can understand the value of "Slow is the new broke". Managing to red is dead isn't sufficient.
We want to use this blog as a place to talk about how we're delivering on the promise of IBM Service Management, Dynamic Infrastructure, Business Service Management, Consolidated Operations for OSS and the data center. Operations is one of the toughest gigs in IT. If you're doing a perfect job, you are invisible, but let something break and suddenly your bosses know your kid's soccer game schedule. Raising the capability, visibility and recognition of operations teams is something my colleagues and I are passionate about. We hope this starts a conversation that you get as excited about as we are.
Troy Bennett 270000NG5Y BENNETTT@US.IBM.COM Tags:  tnpm consolidated-operations cons-ops netcool performance-management 979 Visits
Communications service providers and medium to large enterprises must have smarter network operations to properly manage the demand put on networks by the latest services, technologies, and applications. Network performance management is more important than ever because “slow is the new broke.” Under performing networks pose several risks from unhappy customers to unrealized revenue potential. Tivoli Netcool Performance Manager (TNPM) v1.3 offers innovative new solutions to help our clients run fully-optimized legacy and next-generation networks and minimize the dreaded service disruption.
TNPM 1.3 introduces a new console technology, Tivoli Integrated Portal (TIP), and a new reporting engine, Tivoli Common Reporting (TCR) based on Cognos. These new technologies offer additional business value to fixed/IP and mobile customers using our network performance management solutions today. In addition, these technologies enable a consistent user experience across the broad Tivoli solution portfolio.
Key common features for fixed/IP and mobile PM:
• Navigation between Webtop/Omnibus and TNPM
• State-of-the-art Reporting Tool through integration of Cognos capabilities with Tivoli Common Reporting in the Tivoli Integrated Portal (TIP)
Key new features for fixed/IP:
• Composite Resources for service-oriented KPI modeling of logical network resources, e.g. a pair of network connections, or of a service such as VPN
• Mass Data Export of fixed/IP PM data
• Support for AIX (IBM O/S) is now supported for all TNPM components for fixed/IP
In summary, we’re very excited about the changes in this release and know you’ll find a lot of value in TNPM 1.3. If you own other Netcool products such as Netcool/Omnibus or ITNM today, ask us how TNPM can help complete your view into consolidated operations management.
Christina Francese 110000BY8Q FRANCESE@US.IBM.COM Tags:  intelliden netcool manager configuration 1,164 Visits
Tivoli Netcool Configuration Manager R6.1 – Giving immediate value to existing
Change today is constant, whether within an individual network or reaching across the entire instrumented, interconnected and intelligent world. And managing change, especially when it comes to network device configuration, is essential.
This need for change management capabilities is particularly important in today’s environment of rapid growth in network size, complexity and criticality. Many organizations find that managing configuration is more difficult than ever. While the number of devices that require configuration is increasing, IT resources often remain limited and IT budgets can be flat or declining. Meanwhile, the network is more important than ever to the everyday functions and the continued success of the business.
Without configuration management, errors introduced during change can damage a host of critical operations from provisioning to performance, and from availability to security. Consider the
●How do you control who can touch what network device and what commands they are allowed to use on each device?
●Do you maintain a complete log of all changes made to each device and by whom?
●How do you make sure that only syntactically and logically correct commands to be sent to a device?
●How do you enable network engineers to instantly see what changed on a device, who changed it, and when it changed and why?
●How do you know when a device has changed and requires an incremental backup?
●Can you roll back a device without losing service?
●How do you prevent configuration mistakes from happening in your network?
●How do you enforce your network configuration policies?
●Do you have a common scorecard for compliance across the entire network?
●Is your score card updated after every change and in real time?
●How can you do simple, yet comprehensive ad hoc reporting to find today’s problem without manually touching devices?
With a configuration and policy management solution, the organization can now meet these challenges and take its network management capabilities to a new level. Configuration management solutions can extend management reach into devices and network areas that need greater attention, for increased network reliability and reduced chance of performance degradation due to error.
Configuration management solutions provide a persistent database that stores physical and logical aspects of the network in one location for use in real-time monitoring of changes and for alerting administrators when a change is incorrect—whether it is causing a functional problem or not. The aim is to ensure that configurations are accurate and changes comply with organizational, and to provide administrators with deep visibility into the network and its devices to help prevent and resolve change-related problems.
Tivoli Netcool Configuration Manager R6.1 complements existing Tivoli Network Management capabilities provided by OMNIbus and Network Manager by adding the ability to make changes, ensure changes are functionally correct & comply with corporate policies and monitor multiple inline and out of band types of changes. With out of the box integration with OMNIbus and Network Manager, Tivoli Netcool Configuration Manager R6.1 provides the ability to see what changed, who changed it and when it changed within the context of existing OMNIbus & Network Manager views and how the changes correlate to network events.
Christina Francese 110000BY8Q FRANCESE@US.IBM.COM 885 Visits
Instead of booking a flight and hotel, instead of packing your bags, and instead of spending extra time traveling, join us for a virtual meeting!
Placing the Customer at the Centre of Product Design
Our latest release of IBM Tivoli Netcool Performance Manager (TNPM 1.3) saw the adoption of an ‘Outside In Design’ methodology for the design of our operational console user interface. This involved early consolation with our customer base and continuous customers input throughout the development cycle to ensure that the visual layout, navigation and design meet their needs.
Exposing storyboards, concepts and prototypes to our customer base for the first time in the product led to the emergence of a new partnership model of software design between the customers are our development team here in Ireland. Combined with the introduction of Cognos based reporting, the operational console results in a dramatically improved user interface from previous releases.
While we always captured customer needs to drive product requirements, we have now brought them directly into the early stages of product development. This ensures not only that they directly influence the look and feel of the product, but that it is now designed around the user. Given the perspicuity of customer need this methodology delivers it is now firmly established as the basis of future release design, which we hope will deliver a superior customer experience as we continue to invest in Tivoli Netcool Performance Manager.
Christina Francese 110000BY8Q FRANCESE@US.IBM.COM Tags:  manager itmn mpls network netcool 1,699 Visits
(More) Effectively Managing your MPLS VPNs with IBM Tivoli Network Manager V3.9 written by Matt Duggan, Senior Technical Staff Member
MPLS VPNs have become the defacto standard for providing virtual private networks across the WAN for service providers, governments and enterprises. MPLS is now a well established technology but managing VPN services in MPLS environments is still a challenge due to the complexity and scale of typical MPLS networks.IBM Tivoli Network Manager has had an MPLS discovery and management capability for a while and this has been enhanced with additional capabilities over a number of releases. Today I'm going to talk about how the next release of ITNM, v3.9, can increase operator efficiency and reduce the time taken to repair faults via three new capabilities - enhanced OAM (Operations, Administration & Maintenance) tooling, "links as 1st class objects" and enhanced "Service Affecting Events".
The OAM 'WebTool' infrastructure in ITNM v3.9 has been subject to a major overhaul that paves the way for more out-of-the-box content and greater exploitation of this important capability. The ITNM WebTool infrastructure allows operators to run ITNM server-local executables or sequences of CLI commands against network devices via Telnet and, new to 3.9, SSH by exploiting the device communications infrastructure. ITNM v3.9 also introduces the WebTool infrastructure to Microsoft Windows platforms for the first time.
Out-of-the-box, ITNM ships a number of OAM tools, including MPLS troubleshooting and diagnostic tools, which are accessible in-context from the devices displayed in the ITNM GUIs. The WebTool infrastructure makes it easy to add new tools to ITNM by adding XML files that describe the action of the tool (Local Executable/Telnet/SSH) including expected parameters, their types, default values, and how the output of the tool should be presented to the operator via HTML templates. Once the tool has been defined, it can be run via the CLI of the ITNM server or added to the right-click menu hierarchy for contextual-launches from the ITNM GUIs.
The value for MPLS management of the new WebTool infrastructure is that operators can be provided with a single tool that automates the running of numerous parameterised CLI commands against multiple devices in one invocation of the tool. This saves a huge amount of time given that the operators don't need to manually login to the device(s) and run each, potentially parameterised command. For instance, Cisco suggests that the following tasks be performed on each device when troubleshooting MPLS, all of which can be automated: - Verify That Routing Protocol Runs, Verify CEF Switching, Verify MPLS, Ping the Neighbours, Verify Label Distribution, Verify Label Bindings, Verify That Labels Are Set.
The second capability, "links as 1st class objects", is a major improvement in ITNM’s visualization and contextual OAM (Operations, Administration & Maintenance) tooling. ITNM v3.9 significantly expands on previous capabilities by allowing operators to determine network link capacity and state at-a-glance via variable line thicknesses and line colour-coding and status annotations. In addition to this, ITNM v3.9 also provides operators with the ability to invoke OAM tools in-context of a selected link and so they can, for instance, ping both ends of an IP addressed link with a single mouse-click.
For MPLS networks, the value of determining link capacity, state and enhanced OAM tooling is that operators immediately gain link-specific status information and that they can invoke complex sequences of troubleshooting and diagnostic tools in-context of MPLS-related connections.
For instance, if a Provider Edge (PE)-to-Customer Edge (CE) connection fails, ITNM shall colour-code and state-annotate the failed link and provide the operator with the opportunity to run OAM tools in-context of the specific connection. In the case of an MPLS VPN, this could include running CLI commands on the PE router and retrieving customer contact information for the site where the CE device is located.
The last improvement is an enhancement to ITNM’s MPLS-related event correlation capabilities. ITNM recently introduced 'Service Affecting Event' (SAE) functionality that, alongside standard Root Cause Analysis (RCA), puts network service context around events relating to the managed network, such as a PE-CE link failure being considered to affect a specific VPN.
ITNM v3.9 expands on the existing SAE correlation capabilities by being able to exploit a separate list of discovered ITNM resources that are considered to be those resources that a defined service depends on. For instance, an MPLS VPN between two sites will have PE router interfaces in the VPNs Virtual Routing & Forwarding (VRF) instances but a separate dependency on interfaces that the PE router uses to connect to the Provider-Core (P) router in the network.
The first adoption of this new capability is realized by a new ITNM discovery agent and enhanced MPLS VPN objects that include the list of PE->P and P->PE router facing interfaces for each VPN. This allows ITNM to take into account an 'extra hop' into the network when determining whether or not a specific VPN has been affected.
The value of this capability to the operator is that a seemingly separate interface problem on a PE or P-router can be associated with VPN instances using the specific pair of interfaces to connect the PE router to the P router in the core of the network, even if the PE router is multi-homed.
I hope you've found this post about how ITNM can more effectively manage your mission-critical MPLS VPN services informative and useful.
Pulse will return to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas February 27 through March 2, 2011 to bring over 6000 attendees the best practices, solutions and expertise needed to help organizations design, deliver and manage new, innovative business services - smarter services that will drive unique client value and competitive advantage.
With a dedicated Network Management and Service Assurance for Service Providers track, a Smarter Industry Solutions track, a Telecommunications Industry Roundtable and so much more, Pulse 2011 offers you the preeminent forum for learning how you can transform business models, increase innovation and exceed client expectations.
Christina Francese 110000BY8Q FRANCESE@US.IBM.COM Tags:  assurance csp service telco netcool network management pulse 1,186 Visits
After a century of dominance by voice services, demand is shifting to a much broader set of services. And with the advent of convergence, MPLS, wireless and voice over IP, content-based offerings and other market-impacting technologies, service providers must adapt new innovative methods to manage both next generation networks, service performance and the overall customer experience. The Network Management and Service Assurance stream at Pulse 2011 will explore how effective network and service assurance enables control of the entire communication and content management infrastructure. It will discuss strategies and methods for gaining greater visibility into how key network and application elements impact service quality and delivery. Sessions will highlight best practices and client experiences across service quality management, event and performance management and other OSS/BSS functions.
Smart Industry Solutions track: The “smarter planet” is creating opportunities for new, differentiated services. From smart energy grids to smart cities, this track will explore how visibility, control, and automation can be leveraged to deliver and manage new services that span business and IT. Presentations from industry experts and clients will include Telecommunications, Energy & Utilities, Banking & Financial Services, Insurance, Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Chemicals & Petroleum, Government, Healthcare and more. Industry Roundtables: In these "by invitation only" sessions, client executives meet to share best practices and industry challenges and solutions. Industry roundtables are 2.5 hour sessions followed by a private reception. Each roundtable is lead by Network Management and Service Assurance for Communication Service Providers track: This track will show Service Providers how IBM helps create an integrated, automated Service Assurance environment. Effective network and service assurance enables control of the entire communication and content management infrastructure, and visibility into how key network and application elements impact service quality and delivery. Sessions will highlight IBM Tivoli’s latest service quality, event and performance management capabilities by sharing best practices and telecommunications client experiences.
Industry Roundtables: In these "by invitation only" sessions, client executives meet to share best practices and industry challenges and solutions. Industry roundtables are 2.5 hour sessions followed by a private reception. Each roundtable is lead by
Network Management and Service Assurance for Communication Service Providers track: This track will show Service Providers how IBM helps create an integrated, automated Service Assurance environment. Effective network and service assurance enables control of the entire communication and content management infrastructure, and visibility into how key network and application elements impact service quality and delivery. Sessions will highlight IBM Tivoli’s latest service quality, event and performance management capabilities by sharing best practices and telecommunications client experiences.
Christina Francese 110000BY8Q FRANCESE@US.IBM.COM Tags:  network providers communication mgmt user group virtual csps service 882 Visits
Register now for the North America Network Management for Communication Service Providers next virtual meeting on January 18th! In this virtual meeting, IBM will provide a fresh overview of the IBM Tivoli Service Management Roadmap as it pertains specifically to Communications Service Providers. We are partnering with customers and sharing knowledge and best practices for CSPs. This is a great opportunity for you to drive personal and CSP user group issues to IBM and network with others. Hope to see you there!