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Netcool Operations Insight: Questions and Answers

What is Netcool Operations Insight?

Netcool Operations Insight is a combination of existing IBM products (Netcool/OMNIbus, Netcool/OMNIbus Message Bus Gateway and SmartCloud Analytics – Log Analysis) plus pre-written configurations and customisations for the different components to facilitate the integration and aid usability.

What do the Netcool Operations Insight Integrations do?

All alerts received by the Netcool/OMNIbus ObjectServer can be forwarded (via the Message Bus Gateway) to SmartCloud Analytics – Log Analysis (SCA-LA for short!). SCA-LA will index and store the alert data to maximise the efficiency of subsequent searches. WebGUI tools enable the operator to launch in-context from an Active Event List to SCA-LA executing a selected search or custom application.

WebGUI Tools

WebGUI Tools

Why integrate Netcool/OMNIbus and SCA-LA?

SCA-LA provides a very powerful engine for searching real-time and historical Netcool/OMNIbus alerts to assist with the identification, isolation and resolution of problems. SCA-LA searches and custom apps highlight trends and issues that may not be obvious from the standard event list.

OMNIbus Event Distribution Custom App

OMNIbus Event Distribution Custom App

How does Netcool Operations Insight differ from the Historical Database Feature of Netcool/OMNIbus?

Most Netcool/OMNIbus environments have an existing Historical Database solution comprised of the JDBC gateway, an RDBMS and Tivoli Common Reporting (TCR). So what differentiates the SCA-LA and TCR solutions?

SCA-LA provides a more ad-hoc problem search and reporting tool. It also has the ability to extend searches to include log file entries in addition to alerts, although this would require an additional license.

Tivoli Common Reporting facilitates more structured reports with scheduling and distribution functions built-in. TCR is also the tool of choice for more long term archiving requirements, for example for compliance reasons.

What is the Data Flow in Netcool Operations Insight?

  1. Alerts are received by the Netcool/OMNIbus ObjectServer from distributed probes, in the usual fashion
  2. Alert data is collected and processed by the Message Bus Gateway (either via IDUC or AEN)
  3. The Message Bus Gateway sends the alert data to a SCA-LA “data collector” configured to receive the OMNIbus alerts

What is the difference between using IDUC and AEN data collection for the Message Bus Gateway?

The key differentiator between the protocols is that the AEN notification system ensures all duplicate alerts are passed to the gateway. Duplicate alerts are not passed to the gateway when using IDUC. Best Practice suggests the AEN notification system is used. Note performance improvements have been made to AEN in the latest Netcool/OMNIbus fix packs to support this integration.

How is the Netcool Operations Insight solution Implemented?

The basic steps are as follows:

Install the base products and required patches:

  1. Install Netcool/OMNIbus v7.4 and Fix Pack 3
  2. Install Netcool/OMNIbus WebGUI v7.4 and Fix Pack 2
  3. Install the Message Bus Gateway v4 (located on the collection layer ObjectServers in a multi-tier environment)
  4. Install SmartCloud Analytics – Log Analysis v1.2 plus Interim Fix 2 or above (IF0004 is available at the time or writing). Don’t forget to load the enablement key!
  5. Install the OMNIbus Insight Pack on the SCA-LA Server

Configuration:

  1. Create a SCA-LA Data Collector for Netcool/OMNIbus events, the following setting were used during recent testing:
    Dialog Property Value
    Location Type “custom”
    Hostname “omnihost” (this value must match the setting for the property jsonMsgHostname in the Message Bus Gateway configuration file scalaTransport.properties)
    Data File Path “OMNIbusEvents” (this value must match the setting for the property jsonMsgPath in the Message Bus Gateway configuration file scalaTransport.properties)
    Type “OMNIbus1100”
    Collection “OMNIbus110-Collection”
    Attributes: Name “OMNIbusEvents”
    Description “Netcool/OMNIbus Events”
    Group Left blank
  2. Import amd configure the WebGUI Event Search Tools as detailed in the Netcool Operations Insight v1.1 Integration Guide
  3. Configure the Message Bus Gateway as detailed in the user guide. SCA-LA specific configuration files are installed to minimise the require customisation. Note that if using the AEN notification system the required updates for the ObjectServer are available on the ObjectServer in the path $OMNIHOME/extensions/scala

Ideally Single Sign-on (SSO) will be configured for the WebGUI and SCA-LA servers using a common LDAP Server to facilitate the launch in-context from the WebGUI AEL tools.

How can I Debug the Netcool Operations Insight integration?

The most useful file for debugging the integration is the Message Bus Gateway log file. By default the MessageLevel is set to “debug” and hence sufficient data is logged to the file $OMNIHOME/log/G_SCALA.LOG to identify when alerts are retrieved from the ObjectServer, the transformation of those alerts and the sending of the data to SCA-LA.

Message Bus Gateway Log File

Message Bus Gateway Log File

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