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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems. Steve Peck Operations Manager Global Research NOC I2 Joint Techs – July 18, 2006. Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems.

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advanced trouble ticket systems

Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Steve Peck

Operations Manager

Global Research NOC

I2 Joint Techs – July 18, 2006

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

If you look at R&E networks as a system, there are quite a few components that need to interoperate well to achieve the desired result, the advanced networking that we know and love so well.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

While the primary focus of advanced networking is the incredible bandwidth, the dazzling speeds, the amazing advanced services, and the remarkable high-end applications that run over the networks, there are some basic operational elements that help provide the foundation of support for all of the great gee-whiz bang stuff that gets the front page coverage.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

One of the “basic” operational elements that help facilitate the R&E system is the Trouble Ticket System (TTS).

With the tremendous changes and advancement in networking, the trouble ticket system can no longer be just “basic,” a glorified word processor, or a simplistic database like thingy that doubles as a work order system, or project management tool.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Advanced networks require advanced trouble ticket systems.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems


While a TTS needs to be robust, it does need to be lightweight and flexible enough for customization and integration with other NOC systems and tools.

Large enterprise wide behemoths like Peregrine or Remedy can be an obstacle to the flexibility required of a NOC.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems


The TTS should scale to the needs of both the NOC and the user community.

Members of the user community like to have a place to look up the status of a ticket on the web. NOC’s should offer this service.

Sometimes it is helpful for users to actually access the system itself, with limited user permissions, to look at their tickets, and even to provide updates.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Intuitive User Interface

A helpful way to organize the user interface is to nest certain fields within the schema so as to not inundate the user with 17 trillion fields laid out on a flat screen.

Should organize certain fields into ticket types, based on the action needed. These fields reside in nested dependencies.

This way related fields can be organized sensibly, and only seen when needed.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Scheduled Maintenance Ticket-Type Window

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Provision/Modify/Decom Ticket Type Window

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Another fundamental question asked with dependent nested fields is “Is this network impacting?”

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Intuitive User Interface

Define fields with different user permissions - write or read only, some for Engineering, some for the Service Desk (front-line staff), etc.

Make certain fields mandatory before changing the ticket’s status, handing it back to the other group, and especially before closing the ticket.

Helps to capture the information that really is needed and necessary.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Advanced Reporting Capabilities

- Network availability based on node, circuit, etc.

Trend reporting:

Specific device failures (cards, etc.)

Problem source

How long a ticket is in the hands of the Service

Desk, Engineering, Vendor, Customer.

- Other options, if system is robust enough

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Advanced Reporting Capabilities

Time to resolution

Business activity during a specific time frame

How many tickets created

What kind of tickets

When created

Created by who

Break stats out by network or support

operation, etc.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Advanced Reporting Capabilities

- Make sure you have the granularity needed to perform the reports and searches you need. More fields may mean a bit more work, but it saves you time because…

- NOTHING can be WORSE than staying up all night MANUALLY going through 215 outage tickets, looking for RMA numbers for a report!!!

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems


Your system is only as accurate as the data you put in it!!!

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Managing Work Flow

Master Ticket and Sub-Task (parent/child


Helps with issues that require multiple separate actions, often by different support groups (Field Service Requests, RMA’s, customer notification, etc.)

- Helps keep tickets tidier, rather than the infamous massively long ticket with everything in it including the kitchen sink and the bit bucket.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Managing Work Flow

How do you handle the issue of a problem with one of your networks, causing a related problem with another network you support?

Each deserves a separate ticket, for record keeping purposes, etc.

Must have a way to automatically copy the original ticket to the other network project (or queue), then edit the new ticket as appropriate.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Managing Work Flow

Need ways to segregate tickets by the specific networks you are supporting.

But also need ways to see an aggregation of tickets, to help manage workflow, for reporting purposes, etc.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Managing Work Flow

An excellent method to manage NOC work flow is through a series of “Next Action” fields: Item, Day, Time.

These can be viewed through a tool like “TickMon.”

Sort by date and time (expired, upcoming)

Lists Next Action Item

Sorts by network, support group, or user

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Managing Work Flow

Automated escalation – to management, network administration, etc.

Switch time to UTC.

Links to internal documentation: field definitions, time zone converters, databases, tools, linkage to vendor sites for case and RMA info, shipping updates (Fed Ex, etc.)

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Customer Notification

TTS should provide the raw data for customer notification.

Make sure editing is done in the ticketing system, and not through the notification tool interface.

This way the ticket information is always the most up-to-date.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Customer Notification Tool

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Calendar Functions

- Have the capability to automatically publish calendars from the TTS for:

Scheduled Maintenances

- Field Service Requests

- RMAs

Maintenance Freezes

- Outages

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Database Integration

Find Circuit(s) from Route

Find Element(s) from Element

Find Circuit(s) from Customer

Find Circuit(s) from Element

Need solid database back-end in your TSS!!!

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Trouble Ticket Exchange

Designed to allow quick and clear sharing of information between trouble ticket systems in a secure and reliable environment.

The exchange of this data is handled via automated email between the ticket systems.

Scripts and parsers in the respective ticket systems receive such email and insert the data into the appropriate tickets and fields.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Trouble Ticket Exchange

The end user (home ticket system), will see their own ticket properly updated with data from a foreign user (external ticket system), and vice versa.

- Clearly developed workflow guidelines and rules are needed to ensure a trouble-free ticket exchange.

Loops between the ticketing systems are another possible danger in an automated ticket exchange.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Trouble Ticket Exchange

Potentially a very powerful tool for NOC-to-NOC communication.

- Global NOC doing it within OSG between Support Centers (IU -> Fermi Lab, EGEE)

Currently not done very often. Difficult and time consuming.

Easier between like systems (Remedy to Remedy)

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Trouble Ticket Exchange

There are many challenges, as each ticketing system has its own unique features, characteristics, and restrictions.

Trouble ticket exchange is an ever changing process as ticket systems will evolve, schema changes, etc. Serious challenge to keep updated.

- But how does this scale when your NOC needs to exchange information and tickets with a number of NOC’s, each with their own TTS?

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems


- With the challenges being presented to NOCs today - optical networking, dynamic provisioning, monitoring issues, security, etc, the need for seemless and meaningful communication between NOC’s continues to grow.

- NOC-to-NOC communication is essential in the advanced R&E world.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems


The sharing of information between NOC’s must increase. We must view the NOC’s, and the important roles they play, as a key part of the R&E system. TTS needs to have a central role in this.

- I invite the community to think about these communication and operational issues.

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Advanced Trouble Ticket Systems

Steve Peck

Global Research NOC