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Why we added new map tools to Netcool

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I had the opportunity to visit a number of telecommunications clients using IBM Netcool over the last year. We frequently discussed the benefits of have a geographically mapped view of topology. Not just because it was nice “eye candy” in the Network Operations Center (NOC), but because it gives an important geographically-based view of network status in the NOC.

When network incidents occur, operations can investigate from the context of this map view. See details of my earlier geographic information system (GIS) blog here.

Drill down into a specific device and right click to show device details, including event distribution summary and Netcool/OMNIbus event viewer showing events details.

Drill down into a specific device and right click to show device details, including event distribution summary and Netcool/OMNIbus event viewer showing events details.

Since our discussions took place, IBM has continued to address the needs of the telecommunication’s NOC. I am pleased to announce that we have now made our Netcool GIS Capability generally available as part of Tivoli Network Manager 4.2 FP 2. This release includes the following GIS capabilities.

Support for Google Maps

Netcool supports Google Maps version 3.x. Note that clients will require their own Google Maps licence entitlement.

GIS and network discovery

Network Manager can now obtain device location address, longitude, and latitude data as part of its network discovery process. Alternatively, the Network Manager network topology DB can be enriched with extra device GIS-related data.

Network map visualization

Network devices can now have a geographical map based aggregated visualization by location. This includes visualization of the status of locations, network links, and devices through integration with Netcool/OMNIbus WebGUI and the ability to manage events in the context of the network map visualization.

In the event of a network outage within a specific area, operations can drill down into the geographical-based hierarchy to investigate the root cause of the outage. This includes the ability to use the Network Manager tool to aid diagnosis and problem resolution. Network intra- and inter-location links, enumerated by a topological layer, such as MPLS, OSPF or LTE control plane, can also be rendered on Google Maps.

Network administrators can configure Network Manager to ensure manageable numbers of network devices, links and locations are rendered on the map. There are several options to GIS enable network topologies: Network Manager views can be GIS-enabled, selected devices can be GIS-enabled or a specific geographical area can be GIS-enabled. GIS device filtering options are also available based on domains, device class, specific links, link locations and network layer type.

Figure 2: Shows site details, including event distribution details and all devices, at a specific location. The Network Views includes the map location hierarchy. The GIS map view can be launched at any point within this hierarchy.

Figure 2: Shows site details, including event distribution details and all devices, at a specific location. The Network Views includes the map location hierarchy. The GIS map view can be launched at any point within this hierarchy.

Future plans

We have more plans for Netcool and GIS in the new year, so watch this blog! We’re excited about our new Netcool GIS capability and how it can help transform our telco’s Network Operations Center.

To find out more about Netcool Operations Insight, click here.

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