Arrow S3 NOC Tools

The Arrow S3 NOC utilizes a number of state-of-the art tools in its efforts to provide network management services to its customers. These tools can be classified into two different categories including: Network Management Tools and Trouble Management Tools.

In the broadest sense the Network Management Tools are interdependent on one another to deliver the network management services and provide management capabilities from the device/subcomponent level to the enterprise level and beyond.

At the top of the Network Management Tool hierarchy sits Netcool, an industry standard toolset provided courtesy of IBM Tivoli. NetCool acts as the Network Management System that takes in events from a number of different sources and provides a comprehensive view of the entire Arrow S3 customer base from a monitoring perspective. The Arrow S3 version of NetCool is highly customized and is instrumental in managing the millions of events that arrive on a monthly basis. NetCool provides a number of different views that are customized to fit particular skill set. That allows the Arrow S3 NOC to provide services to virtually any device/platform that can support IP protocols such as SNMP, ping and Syslog. Netcool is integrated to element/device managers that feed filtered events or directly to the device depending upon the application. NetCool is also integrated to the Trouble Management System so as to be able to automatically open tickets if desired.

The next level down in the Network Management Tool hierarchy is comprised of the element/device managers. The Arbitrator, a product developed by Arrow S3, is the most powerful example of an element/device manager. As opposed to the network manager, the element/device manager usually sits locally at the customer’s site and has more specialized functionality specific to the device. In addition to fault management, whereby the element/device manager collects faults via one of methodologies described above, the Arbitrator provides some performance management services that may apply to the platform or application being managed. In the case of platform management Arbitrator collects metrics on resource performance in the hosting platform, such as CPU or disk utilization and provides insight into the performance and load of the platform. This information can be used to predict if a platform’s performance will be impacted in a manner that will ultimately result in service issues to the end user. In a complimentary fashion Arbitrator can monitor the performance of services employed by the operating system on a platform that are critical to a particular application. By monitoring critical service for abnormal operation, proactive measures can be taken to correct any anomalies before the application is affected, thereby avoiding service issues that will impact the end user. There are a number of other element/device managers that can be employed to feed the network manager, including RealEyes (a soft client that resides on a customer provided COTS server) and other legacy collection methodologies, although they are typically limited to fault management only.

The Trouble Management tools are standardized around ServiceNow.com, which is a hosted service that provides many of the same capabilities that exist in Trouble Management Systems such as Remedy. ServiceNow.com has been customized to optimize the propagation of information to the appropriate engineers responsible for working the ticket. Mechanisms such as the smart template are used to convey special handling procedures which insure that the correct information is collected in the case of a VIP customer or site. This minimized phones calls back to the customer for Help Desk cases and results in the lower MTTR times as tickets are handled more expeditiously. SLA/SLO management is also built into the trouble management system. Emails will be generated to provide notification to the responsible party and the management of the responsible party in the event that a ticket is in jeopardy of violating a SLA/SLO. This allows the Arrow S3 NOC to enforce 3rd party SLAs/SLOs as well. The trouble management system can also be used to provide notification out to customers at various time points in the trouble management process to keep them apprised of the status of desired ticket profiles. The profiles can be defined to only be generated for critical/severity 1 tickets, all tickets or anything in between. The notifications can be defined for any time point, such as open and close or on any status change, providing the ultimate flexibility in meeting the customer’s needs.

All of the toolsets employed by the Arrow S3 NOC work in concert to provide a very customizable service offering that can uniquely meet the customer’s needs. Many templates already exist so feature functionality can be reused to minimize delivery time and provide the best speed to market.

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