Instructions for Help has always been an essential component of systems management as it is key that operators knows what action is required when an event is raised on an enterprise event management console.
I recently looked at a few Wiki solutions and Joomla (Content Management System) to see if there was something that I could provide to my customers while deploying our solutions. I was looking for a solution for customers not having something in place already and need a solution for this topic or at least an idea how this topic could be approached. I got stuck around Joomla as there is a fair amount of good online documentation available, I could also find a large amount of books at the bookstore in town and on amazon. The data structure of Joomla is simple and you can also brand a Joomla site if you have a little bit of XHTML and CSS skills. The Joomla articles or database content is divided into sections and categories. The figure below illustrates the data structure of the prototype I experimented with in the lab.
Once your content has been organized in the database and you have found a suitable layout and screen design for your environment, you can make it publicly available on the Intranet. Should you have wider requirements most web hosting companies provide Joomla deplyoments hence this approach is not limited to Intranet solutions. You may also need to visit the security parameters around Joomla in order to restrict access to content and articles should that be required. In general when a Joomla appliance (see links below) is started, the Web Server is completely open on the Intranet, you do of course need to log in to manage the content. The figure below illustrates how the user interface could look like applying very few and swift modifications to the design. The content shown is a sample Instruction for Help for the IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager (ITCAM) for Transactions where a particular Web Site is no longer responding as required.
The value of Joomla is that information is available online, it can be updated in real time and the design can be modified by mouse clicks. This could be important because the instruction for help must be up to date at all times. I am provoking a little bit here but I consider an MS Office document to be outdated once it has been saved. The other aspect is that the necessary information is not tied into or becomes dependent on a particular piece of technology or vendor. It becomes a true component that can be re-used over and over again reachable through a simple URL. Another aspect to keep in mind is that the content or articles are stored in a database. This allows for certain manipulation through database clients adding the aspect of automation should that be necessary. The only gotcha here is that the each article is stored in the database including the HTML tags.
How can this be leveraged with Tivoli software and I am particularly focusing on IBM Tivoli Monitoring V6 (ITM6)? Each document in the Joomla database can be access through a unique URL, which can be pasted into the expert help for an ITM6 Situation. Once that Situation fires and you right click the event on the Situation Event Console and select "Situation Event Results ..." that particular article is shown together with the enterprise alert. The ITM6 Situation was triggered by the ITCAM for Transactions Web Response Time Agent (WRT). Note: You could also potentially use Netcool/Impact to look inside the Joomla
database and enrich an OMNIbus event with this URL.
For more information around Joomla, where appliances and TurnKey solutions can be found, visit the links below
Please feel free to contact me should you have questions about this or any other topic or need more information how to brand a Joomla Web site. ThnX for reading this post and do let us know if there are any topics of special interest you would like to know more about.