rapidnco - A groovy alternative to nco_sql

nco_sql is the command line utility provided with Netcool Omnibus to interact with the Object Server. In addition to the interactive use, this utility is often used in scripts to automate actions, etc. however it can be cumbersome to use in scripts. The alternatives such as using freetds and perl can be difficult to setup as they often require going thru install, compile, etc.

rapidnco is an (apache licensed) open source tool that mimics the functionality of nco_sql utility. Put it another way, rapidnco is a rather simple wrapper to use the built-in groovy SQL capabilities from the command line.

It is very easy to install (just unzip), does not require Netcool client to be installed, has no dependencies other than Java Runtime. Hope you find it useful.

RapidOSS and Netcool - What do you get out of the box?

When you ask a vendor whether their product can do X, what are the chances for the answer to be no? Truth is, if there is any shape or form product can possible do X, regardless of how difficult and painful it may be to do so, the answer would be yes. Hence it is no surprise that people are highly skeptical of any statement made by the vendors.

As a versatile and open solution, RapidOSS is designed to be customizable and extensible to be able to solve wide range of problems.

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Little things that count - audible alarms

As we work on customer projects and requests, we've developed number of valuable features for RapidOSS. We typically add these features as sample "solution templates". These solutions are typically distributed as part of the product under solutions directory. Solution templates serve as examples, demonstration of what's possible and starting points for customers.

In a series of posts, I'll mention some of these seemingly small features that seem to be important to some users.

I'll start with the audible alarms. Many customers want to be able to configure their PCs to warn them by playing a distinct sound (aka beep) to get their attention when there is a critical event, etc. Sounds simple enough, no?

Surprisingly this is quite cumbersome to implement with many IT management tools, requiring users to install software on the PCs, distribute scripts, audio files, etc. creating unnecessary administrative overhead. It is also hard to get it configured in such a way that is useful to the users.

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RapidOSS is available on all mobile phones

Couple of weeks ago, we had announced that RapidOSS UI for mobile devices (Mobile IT management comes to town) and presented how RapidOSS mobile support enables users to work with management tools like Netcool and EMC/Smarts from their mobile devices.
Initial support was restricted to iPhone and Android devices. Today I'm happy to announce that RapidOSS web UI works as a read/write user interface on all mobile devices, including Blackberry devices.

We've stripped down some of the fancy javascript and CSS from the UI to enable it work on a much larger set of mobile devices. There may still be incompatibilities with some mobile browsers but based on our tests it works with most current mobile devices.

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RapidInsight is now RapidOSS

Careful eyes may have noticed that RapidInsight product has disappeared from our website! Need not worry, it's still alive and kicking :) RapidInsight has just gone through a name change and has become RapidOSS.

We've found out that "Rapid Insight" is a registered trademark of Rapid Insight Inc, and we were asked not to use this name as our product name. That'll teach me to be more careful with trademark searches. Four years ago when we selected this name I had not found this trademark. My guess is that I had not thought of searching it as separate words at the time, and Google did not have much to say either. A useful tip: if you're doing trademark searchs, a new website called Trademarkia is pretty useful.

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iPhone comes to Netcool

In the previous post, I had discussed why and how we had build a web based UI specifically for iPhone and hinted that this means Netcool users now can work with Netcool from their iPhones. In this post, I'll go further into what this means and how it works.

- RapidOSS is already integrated with Netcool:

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Mobile IT management comes to town

Some observations:
  1. One of our key objectives has been to provide a unified, web based user interface for IT operations. We believe users should be able to navigate through management information seamlessly rather than being forced to jump between disparate tools and inconsistent user interfaces.
  2. Users are no longer content being forced to watch a specific console (or worse multiple consoles!) on a computer screen and should be empowered to control how (IM clients, email, SMS, etc.) and when they receive the information, and act on the information as necessary.
  3. After many years of anticipation, mobile revolution is here. iPhone is a viable computing device for many business applications, and there are 10s of millions of them (iPhone and iPod Touches) out there.
Conclusion:
We need to ensure users can work with management information from their iPhones (and other mobile devices) to be able to do their jobs effectively. So how should we do this?
As it is on the desktops, we have the option to develop a native application for iPhone or a web application since iPhone has a solid web browser. Some pros and cons for a native iPhone application:
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Topology Maps in Network Management

Topology maps and events lists (aka alerts/alarms/notifications) are two most commonly used UI patterns to present monitoring data to users in network monitoring. The usefulness of topology maps is not an agreed upon subject in the network monitoring community. Some folks think maps are "must have" for a monitoring tool, others don't care for them at all.

Most monitoring tools in the market do offer some kind of maps functionality, but the quality varies significantly, not all maps are created equal. I think usefulness of the network topology maps highly depend on the design of the solution. Network monitoring field is full of people scarred by the experience of manually maintaining the hierarchical maps (a la HPOV NNM). I personally think maps indeed can be useful when implemented right, and many people do request it hence we've added Maps to RapidOSS.
Distilling the experiences of the past, we've steered clear of the most common pain points associated with maps. Here is how/why RapidOSS map component is different:

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iFountain's RapidOSS Received 2008 EMC Partner Solution Award: Offering of the Year for EMC Smarts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Release - May 13, 2009

iFountain, an innovative independent software vendor specializing in IT Operations Management announced that its RapidOSS product is the winner of the EMC Velocity Technology & ISV Program "2008 EMC Partner Solution Award: Offering of the Year for EMC Smarts."

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