Don't call me I'll call you. Heartbeat Monitoring Demystified

"Polling" and "listening" are the most common monitoring techniques. Polling is where monitoring systems periodically call monitored systems to check whether the systems is operating as it should, and collect data (performance, etc.). Listening is where monitoring system waits (listens) for monitored systems to either directly or indirectly (through other systems, etc.) send information. In network monitoring, monitoring system polling SNMP agent of the devices, etc. is an example of polling technique, and processing of traps and syslog messages are examples of the listening technique.

Heartbeat monitoring is another technique that can be considered an enhanced form of listening. Some systems periodically send information,(events) aka heartbeats, to signal that the system is operating as it should. In this case, the absence of these heartbeat events and not events themselves indicate a problem, hence these events need to be processed differently than typical events.

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Managing Planned and Unplanned Maintenance with RapidOSS

Handling of the planned/unplanned maintenance of IT infrastructure is an essential event management activity, yet it seems to be an after thought in most tools. The accuracy of the information presented to users is essential. Users need to know what it truly a problem that requires immediate action and what is not.

Where IT organizations hold maintenance information varies widely from excel spreadsheets to service desk software, which is one reason why handling of maintenance in event management is often a field activity. Nonetheless, event management systems can provide the infrastructure to facilitate the implementation of planned/unplanned maintenance of IT infrastructure components. RapidOSS had inherent support for enrichment and processing of events using data from external sources, and it's always been possible to implement maintenance management. With the release of version 3.3, RapidOSS now includes a reference implementation that can be used as is or modified easily to meet specific requirements in the field.

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RapidOSS wins EMC Smarts 2008 Offering of the Year Award

Stop the presses! We've been notified by EMC Smarts that our RapidOSS product has been awarded "2008 Offering of the Year Award"

EMC Smarts 2008 Offering of the Year Award

As you can imagine we're thrilled about this! iFountain has been an EMC development partner for several years now and we have developed number of solutions that complement the EMC Smarts production suite. It is very nice to get some recognition and appreciated by everyone in the company.

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Simple consistent interfaces to external systems

In my conversations with potential customers and in documentation, I often state that RapidOSS makes it easy to work with external systems. Since "easy" is a relative concept, without some concrete examples this may not mean much to folks who don't have first hand experience working with RapidOSS.

Integration with external systems very often require in-depth understanding of the APIs provided by the external systems. Even when the external system provides standard APIs (SOAP, database etc.) it is not easy to master the variations from the standards, and figure out the structure of the data, how to use it.

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Search At the Front and Center of IT Operations Management

Google revolution is spreading. Prior to search, hierarchical directories (like Yahoo) were the dominant way to organize and find information on the web. As the amount of information increased, the directory paradigm run into problems handling the scale, and Google's search paradigm with it's simplicity has become ubiquitous way to find information. Users are at ease with search, as a result, search paradigm has been spreading.

Search had already come to desktop. Google Desktop brought powerful search engine into the desktop. And with Windows 7, Microsoft went beyond search as an application and put search at the core of the user experience. Just as search has displaced the directories on the web and become the primary mechanism to find information, it has become the primary mechanism in Windows 7 for most things from starting applications to finding files, displacing Windows Explorer.

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RapidCMDB, an open source federated CMDB solution for the enterprise

The problem is well known and stated over and over again throughout the last decade. Most IT organizations are structured around functional silos of expertise and too focused on technology, hence there is a gap between IT organizations and the business. It is mostly agreed that IT organizations need to move toward service management, but there are different schools of thought on how to get there.

My personal journey in this realm started over a decade ago when I worked for a very large system integrator/outsourcing company that was organized in very distinct, geographically dispersed silos.

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RapidOSS: what is it good for? - Integration in the presentation layer

In a previous post, I discussed different management systems integration types: data layer integration, functional integration, event integration and presentation layer integration.

Problem:
You have number of different management tools for different management disciplines (fault mgmt, configuration & change mgmt, service desk, etc.), and technologies (Unix, Windows, LAN, WAN, Applications, etc.). Yet services you provide span multiple technologies and platforms, and you need to provide information to internal/external customers about the services they use. We'll consider can think about the scenario described in this post to understand what type of information you may need to provide to your users.

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RapidOSS: what is it good for? - The broken client

When learning about new products, I often find myself trying to understand what problem the product is trying to solve and often without much success. It is crucial for vendors to express this clearly, yet it's not so easy. We sometimes get lost talking the jargon, the features, etc. and forget about the fundamental question. What is this product good for?

So I remind myself not to loose track of where we (iFountain) have started. RapidOSS is a direct result of number of problems we have run into repeatedly in the field. It's our attempt to have a repeatable solution to common problems that are typically solved as ad-hoc custom projects or by forcing product to perform unnatural acts".

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The dream team, the tale of Smarts, APG and RapidOSS

Fault management, performance management and event management trio of tools are typically at the heart of network management solutions. Although there are some integrated solutions that do offer components for all these management disciplines, organizations with large or mission critical networks often choose to use combination of tools that have the best functionality at each area . As a result, integration among these tools becomes crucial for the overall solution to be effective is supporting IT operations.

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Integrating with other open source projects: RapidOSS OpenNMS Plugin

Integration is a core activity in IT management. There are different tools for different technologies (apps, servers, network, etc.) and diffferent functional areas (fault, performance, ticketing, etc) and these tools need to be integrated in order to be able to support IT processes that span technologies and functional areas effectively.

We call RapidOSS "an integration, automation and presentation suite for IT operations management", typically used to integrate management information from disparate management systems and present to users through a simple, unified, consistent web based user interface.
RapidOSS adds to event correlation/management approach by consolidating not only events but all information related to IT operations management from different management systems.

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