IBM Tivoli Netcool Knowledgebase

What is IBM Tivoli Netcool?
Netcool is a group of products originally developed by Micromuse and now part of the IBM Tivoli suite, to provide a network fault management environment based on a range of platforms.

What is Netcool OMNIbus?
Netcool OMNIbus is the core product of the Netcool suite. It collects network events and provides a database for all network events. It can also process tasks (via automations and tools), display events (events can be selectively viewed by use of filters) and control access to the system.

What is a Netcool ObjectServer?
An ObjectServer is a SQL database, based on Sybase. It collects events into a table where the events can be manipulated by users (via either the command line, the event list or WebTop) and by automations and tools. The ObjectServer also holds all configuration about the database within different tables; for example, automations are held in “auto” database, user information is held in the “master” database..

How can an Netcool ObjectServer provide resilience?
ObjectServers can be configured in pairs, providing primary and backup ObjectServers. These are called a failover pair and to anything connecting to them appear as a single ObjectServer. The two single ObjectServers are added to a virtual ObjectServer which all components connect to. If the primary ObjectServer fails, all data is automatically routed to the backup ObjectServer (it “fails-over”). When the primary comes back online the data stream returns to the primary ObjectServer.

How does Netcool OMNIbus collect events?
Events can arrive at the ObjectServer by one of four ways. The most common method is by probes which collect events from the systems being monitored. These programs collect events by interfacing with the systems hardware or software and extracting event data. Events can also be exchanged with other network management systems such as Remedy, HP Openview, BMC Patrol and many others via gateways. The third is via the SQL command line. SQL statements can be used to manually insert events into the ObjectServer. The final method of event collection is by using other Netcool products such as Internet Service Monitors (ISMs), System Service Monitors (SSMs), Wireless Service Monitors (WSMs) and Usage Service Monitors (USMs).

What are Netcool probes?
Probes connect to an event source, detect and acquire events, and then forward them to the ObjectServer. The events are processed by comparing the event”s details to a “rules” file which defines what information should populate the fields in the ObjectServer.

What are Netcool gateways?
The gateway component contains all of the gateways for Netcool OMNIbus. Gateways enable alerts to be exchanged between ObjectServers and complementary third-party applications, such as databases and help desk systems. Using gateways you can replicate alerts between different NOCs (Network Operations Centres) in your organisation or maintain a backup ObjectServer. Gateways can also be used to write events to a file or pass events to different types of database (e.g. Oracle).

How are Netcool events classified?
Events can be classified in any way imaginable. However, the key to Netcool OMNIbus is its ability to match certain events if they reoccur. This is called ëDeduplicationí. If two events match in all ways except the time they occurred then instead of the event being duplicated in the events table, a tally counter on the event is incremented. Netcool OMNIbus can also correlate problem and resolution events for a given event, reducing the need to clear events which have been resolved by the system being monitored.

What is Netcool WebTop?
Netcool WebTop is visulisation tool for Netcool OMNIbus providing a web based method of accessing the event list of the ObjectServer. It is based on Java, providing all the functionality of the native Netcool OMNIbus event lists and Netcool OMNIbus Objectiveview.

What is Netcool Impact?
Netcool Impact is used to provide additional information to events within an ObjectServer which can aid event resolution. This is achieved by advanced correlation capabilities and multiple (non Netcool) data sources.

How does Netcool Impact work?
Netcool Impact is an additional component which helps Netcool OMNIbus resolve events. It uses automations on the ObjectServer to provide additional information to events. Impact can be used to insert business related information into events, enabling users to see the impact of certain events on business processes.

Where does the Netcool Impact additional data come from?
Impact compares event data to that held in other databases such as provisioning and inventory systems, trouble ticketing systems, EAI buses, LDAP directories and other data sources. Once the information has been added to the event, a resolution from another source may have been identified in which case the event can be cleared.

What else can Impact do?
By use of automations and databases of customer records, Netcool Impact can monitor events against their SLAs. If an event goes outside its SLA, Impact can contact the appropriate personnel and inform them of this. It can also escalate and prioritise events when checked against the customer”s SLA.

How are Netcool products licensed?
All the latest Netcool products use FlexLM to provide licensing. FlexLM acts as a server to all Netcool components (products, probes, gateways, administration elements etc). Products are licensed using keys, held within a license file on the license server. License servers can be setup in a group (it must be an odd number of servers) to provide resilience to the system. This is referred to as Quorum Licensing.

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