Multi-Vendor Alarm/Event Fault Management
Eclipse AMS extends the capabilities of our Tracker remote nodes to provide effective notification, acknowledgement and clearance of alarms or events generated by connected managed devices to the Trackers. It can be used in a NOC as the primary alarm response system or as the component of a larger network management platform to resolve remote site SNMP delivery issues or to facilitate a reduction in SNMP device licensing.
Eclipse AMS is a multi-user, client/server, SQL-based application and supports Active Directory and LDAP integration. Through the use of colour-coding and graphics it will help your network operators to visualise the source of the alarm fault and prioritise the order in which alarms are responded to. With its automated call-out functionality, Eclipse AMS will contact your on-duty engineer(s) and provide them with details of the alarm. You can run reports to demonstrate to senior managers or customers the number of alarms being handled and the effectiveness of response.
Alarm delivery and the problem with SNMP
An SNMP trap is generated once and broadcast via UDP. If you don't receive it, you won't know about the event until the managed device sends out another trap (if you can configure it to do so). If you have a remote site where there is no WAN connection or the network is down for some reason (which might be what the SNMP trap wants to tell you), then you won't receive anything and you won't realise there is a problem. This is where a Tracker and Eclipse AMS combination can help.
Trackers use a proprietary format to send alarms to Eclipse AMS and require an acknowledgement that the alarm was successfully received, otherwise the Tracker will try again. Alarms can be sent over the LAN, WAN, or even a PSTN connection via modem. The Tracker is capable of buffering alarms, including SNMP, to prevent them becoming lost until they are successfully delivered. Eclipse AMS can convert the alarms back into SNMP and forward them on again.
Too many alarms
Managed devices produce a large number of alarms. Some will be major failures, but most are warning or informational messages that don't need any consideration until they have occurred more than X times in Y minutes, or until another event has happened in parallel. When flooded with these warning alarms, your NOC will start to ignore some of them and possibly miss something important. You need to cut down on the number of alarms entering the system.
Both the Tracker and Eclipse AMS support features to ignore spurious alarms that just hide the true alarms from your NOC operator. As the first point of local management, the Tracker can just forward on alarms or it can be customised to just log some alarms. If these go over a certain threshold, then the Tracker will generate its own alarm to send to Eclipse AMS. The Tracker is also capable of interrogating a Syslog and extracting alarm conditions from it.
Eclipse AMS is able to automatically ignore alarms based on pattern-matching. So if a single failure triggers a flood of alarms (either repeated messages until the issue is fixed, or a cascade of alarms from dependent devices), these can be ignored to let your NOC operators deal with the real issue.
TMS and SAMS integration
Eclipse AMS is part of a suite of applications that can be used standalone or as a tightly integrated unit that shares information in order to reduce administration overhead. The Tracker Management System (Eclipse TMS) is used to graphically manage Tracker deployment (applications, editing configuration, backup, duplication) and shares its group structure with Eclipse AMS. SAMS controls and audits access to the privileged accounts of your Trackers and other managed devices. You can trigger a connection to a Tracker from Eclipse AMS that will first pass through the SAMS proxy.
Eclipse AMS Features
These are the main features of Eclipse AMS.
New alarms are colour-coded in a list, according to their severity rating. NOC staff can easily see information pertaining to the alarm. Hot keys can be created to quickly filter the results screen.
View configured Tracker sites in a list or network schematic. Icons help to visualise the alarm state of the Tracker. You can also represent the managed devices behind the Tracker and the services or gateways that you use to connect the Tracker infrastructure together.
Eclipse AMS ensures a logical progression through the fault-handling process. New alarms are accompanied by on-screen and audible notification. Alarms are acknowledged to demonstrate that they are being dealt with. Alarms are then cleared to resolve the fault but are retained for reporting.
Pattern matching of the site and alarm codes can be used to auto acknowledge and clear repeat alarms that swamp the network operations staff and add no value to the troubleshooting process.
Each Eclipse AMS service creates a 'heartbeat' in the database every minute. The Eclipse AMS client checks the database to see if all services are running normally, otherwise it will raise an alarm.
To prevent issues caused by a faulty Tracker not sending alarms, the Tracker will periodically send out its own heartbeat message. Eclipse AMS silently monitors these messages. If a heartbeat message is not received within a specified time, Eclipse AMS will raise an inactivity alarm.
Eclipse AMS is built around the industry standard SQL database architecture. It is client/server based and supports multiple users. The service responsible for receiving the alarms can be run on a separate server, for example in a DMZ.
Received alarms can be buffered into a SQL database local to the server running the alarm receiving service before being transferred to the main SQL database (wherever that may reside). This decreases the risk of any alarms being 'lost' due to network or server congestion.
Automated Callout & Rotas
Each Tracker site is looked after by a group of callout engineers. Groups are customisable and may be based, for example, around geography, skill-sets or customer name.
Multiple Shift Patterns
Each shift group can have any number of shift patterns, of which one will be active at any given time. Shift patterns are created for each engineer on duty and can include the day of the week, time period and the engineer's callout priority.
Eclipse AMS will automatically email or text (SMS) your engineers with details of the alarm. NOC staff may also manually trigger an engineer callout. Engineers can be given access to AMS to see the alarm for themselves, review any recommended action points and initiate an MMI session with the affected Tracker for remote diagnosis.
Eclipse AMS supports engineers being called in order. If the first engineer does not respond, Eclipse AMS will try the second on the list. The software will not stop trying to contact an engineer until the alarm has been acknowledged.
Tracker sites can be organised into user-defined groups. These groups support hierarchies and a site can belong to more than one group. Groups enable NOC staff to order sites in a logical manner, make it easier to spot trouble areas and simplify network schematics.
Eclipse AMS supports multiple users. User permissions are set through group membership. Permissions control what Site Groups users can see and the actions that can be taken within the Eclipse AMS software, enabling you to create a hierarchy of administrators, NOC users and engineers with unique views of the system.
Active Directory Integration
Link your Active Directory or LDAP groups to your Eclipse AMS groups. Any user with the AMS client installed will be able to login and will automatically receive the correct privileges.
When using Eclipse AMS without AD or LDAP integration, administrators can enforce a password policy on users to ensure that passwords are complex enough and changed frequently enough to prevent the system from being compromised.
Eclipse AMS can be installed on a single computer, as a client/server application (a server for the databases and services with multiple clients), or a distributed system (with separate servers for the database and services and multiple clients).
Supported Operating Systems
- Windows Server 2003 & Server 2003 R2
- Windows Server 2008 & Server 2008 R2 [User Account Control must be OFF]
- Windows XP SP3 (for AMS client installations only)
- Windows Vista SP2 (for AMS client installations only) [User Account Control must be OFF]
- Windows 7 SP1 (for AMS client installations only) [User Account Control must be OFF]
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Server 2005 Express
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Server 2008 Express
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Server 2008 R2 Express
- Eclipse AMS supports optional database mirroring using SQL Server 2005/2008. Mirroring in Microsoft SQL Server 2005/2008 can utilize either two or three SQL Server instances.
Please call us to discuss suitable hardware requirements, as this varies depending on the size of the installation and how alarms will be collected.