Company websites are obsolete, blogs are the how we connect and learn

Our understanding of the world we live in increases step by step. When we face with something new, to be able to understand it, we often need to describe it using concepts that are already known to us. We classify it, associate with similar things.

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Customizing a Software Development Methodology

We are excited as the whole iFountain software development team that we are delivering new products and/or upgrades to the existing ones at an increasing pace. Our agile software development methodology is really starting to make a big difference as we get more comfortable with it.

We will occasionally share with you our passion and excitement with the process that is enabling us to deliver high quality products.

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Top 8 questions to ask when evaluating integration solutions

Typical scenario users face when acquiring software systems: A vendor claims that they have integration with product xxx very quickly. What does that mean? How can we evaluate the quality of integration and remove the layer of sales/marketing BS? Here are 8 questions that may help in evaluating integration solutions:

1. Is there really a specific "adapter"?

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Top 8 Reasons For Systems Integration Project Failures

In Operational Support Systems and IT management field, implementation of integration adapters, - solutions to integrate management systems, data sources, etc.- is a common requirement as most organizations use variety of products from different vendors for different purposes. Integration tasks continue to carry high risk (and perceived as such) in the implementation of management (network/systems/application, etc.) tool/solution implementation projects. Project failures and overruns are still all too common. What is the problem? There are many hurdles. Here are the top 8 reasons for systems integration project failures (that I've encountered):

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RapidWatcher now has Smarts Trap Processing Monitor and Smarts Discovery Reporter out of the box

We have been releasing solutions that we use in the field as open source tools available for the community. Last couple of weeks we have released Smarts Trap Processing Monitor and Smarts Discovery Reporter. Both of these solutions were built on top of RapidWatcher independently, hence had conflicts (Thanks for the heads up Karl!)


RapidWatcher with Smarts add-ons

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How to report the results of the Smarts Discovery process?

Discovery process is one of the routine Smarts administration tasks. Smarts Availability Manager (AM) Discovery can be initiated ad-hoc from the Smarts Domain Manager Administration Console (requires administrator level access) or can be scheduled to run periodically, off hours, etc. when the network is less utilized.

To analyze the results of the discovery can be a time consuming task for administrators (and not feasible without administrative access) since it requires checking verbose log files, discovery pending list, notifications, etc.

Smarts Discovery Reporter has been developed to help interested parties to easily access and analyze the results of the Smarts discovery process without requiring admin level access to the Smarts system. Smarts Discovery Reporter is implemented on top of the RapidWatcher and mainly does the following:

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How to integrate an RSSFeed into Smarts

If you have already checked out our RapidWatcher product (you should! :), you are already familiar with how it can help you monitor various systems and take actions accordingly. You should also be familiar with RapidWatcher's status updates in the form of an RSS feed.
In this post, I will explain how an RSS feed from RapidWatcher can be used to create notifications in the Smarts server with the help of a simple RapidConnector adapter. The example can be modified to feeds other than RapidWatcher.

Building the solution

Once you have your RapidWatcher up and running, you can get the status information on managed systems by accessing the RSS feed URL (http://localhost:9191/RapidWatcher/ManagedObject/rssFeed) using a feed reader or browser. To see how a feed looks like, you can take a look at the RSS feed from the RapidWatcher demo.More...
RSS feed is of course an alternative to getting the same information via the web based user interface or the web services API.Here is a sample RSS feed from RapidWatcher.

As you might have guessed, I am monitoring both the RapidManager and the RapidWatcher application itself by polling their URLs.Next, I built the following RapidConnector adapter to periodically poll the RSS feed URL and create/clear Smarts notifications. The following diagram shows the RapidConnector components used in the adapter as they would be seen in the RapidConfigurator, the development environment for RapidConnector. Ready-to-use RapidConnector components make it possible to put together the functionality I need quickly.

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Application Level Monitoring: How to monitor Smarts Trap Processing

Application level monitoring refers to monitoring of the actual functionality of the applications rather than just whether the application is running or not. It is not uncommon for an application to be up and running yet not working as it should do to variety of reasons. Application level monitoring requires simulation of the common activities an application performs to ensure the application is working as expected, rather than relying on more typical methods of checking whether the process runs or the port is active.

RapidWatcher UI TrapAdapterDown RapidWatcher UI TrapsDown

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Consolidating Events into a Single Repository

It is often necessary to consolidate events from number of sources (monitoring tools, element managers, log files, etc.,) into a single repository. RapidConnector enables organizations to implement integration solutions to consolidate events from disparate systems and data sources often without writing any low-level code.

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Who's watching the watchers ?

How do you monitor your management solution? How do you ensure that the monitoring solution is working as expected? As this is a commonly repeated activity, there should be some best practices. What works in the field? Any thoughts on how to monitor the Smarts solution and related components are appreciated.

In the projects I"ve involved in, typically a collection of scripts are often developed as part of the implementation project or later by the administrators of the solution. I personally have not witnessed use of system/application management tools such as Tivoli/Patrol/NetIQ, etc. to monitor the monitoring solution probably because of financial/organizational reasons.

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