outages, quality monitoring, trouble tickets, etc

Matt Zimmerman mdz at netrail.net
Sun Nov 26 01:40:44 UTC 1995

On Sat, 25 Nov 1995, Alan Hannan wrote:

>   Should we provide automated Darned Good Answers to our customers? 
> 						     - YES, it would be nice
> 						     but not a NEED,
> 						     rather a nifty
> 						     service (IMHO)

Automated answers would be great...but what about implementation?  "Press 
1 for an automated status report...<click>"  Keeping customer service 
staff well-informed (perhaps via an internal automated system) might be a 
better solution.

>   Should we provide automated Darned Good Answers to other NSPs? 
> 						     - YES, it would be nice
> 						     but not a NEED,
> 						     rather a nifty
> 						     service and
> 						     lower priority
> 						     than #2.

I'm afraid I have to disagree...in a network of the level of complexity 
of today's Internet (in fact, in any system where communication between 
two points is dependent on more than just an "upstream" entity), 
connectivity issues are MORE likely to be caused by interaction with 
other NSP's.  Dissemination of problem information between providers 
helps everyone diagnose difficulties and keep their customers better 
informed with respect to current status and predictions for the near 
future (solutions).

A mailing list for this purpose seems like overkill...if dozens of NSP's 
were to be informed every time JoeNet has a problem, even if their 
service were not to be affected, the noise overload would reduce the 
informative value of the list, as well as provider attention to it.  But 
how to determine when a problem is important enough to be distributed?

A more interactive shared system (ticket-based?) makes more sense, but 
may prove far more difficult to design.  Problem classification, impact, 
severity, and location are all issues here, as well as the problem of 
associating such a record of a problem with its effects.  That is, when 
a provider "discovers" a problem, how are they to know if it has already 
been "registered", and if so, how to reference the information associated 
with it?

[need for explanations]
>   This is a good point, and I have been more convinced that it is
>   important.
>   Because of this discussion I am going to work to develop an
>   automated WWW status page.

Good response, but how sound is the choice of implementation?  If there 
is a problem with your network, there is no small chance that those most 
interested in acquiring this information would not be able to reach your 
server to do so.

> ] The current situation is the customer gets neither the explanation nor 
> ] action solving the problem.  
>   I appreciate that NSP response is not always ideal.  However, I
>   would encourage all people who get a less than exceptional
>   response from a NOC technician to escalate the question so as to
>   improve the NOC quality.  No, this isn't something you should have
>   to do, and it's not something that makes anyone terribly proud but
>   it does tend to improve the service by natural tech selection.

I hate to say it, but what may be needed here is standardization.  NOC 
operating procedre varies greatly between providers, and the proper 
escalation, etc. of a problem may not be clear.

// Matt Zimmerman       Chief of System Management           NetRail, Inc.
// Work..........mdz at netrail.net     |     Play...gemini at alcor.netrail.net
// (703) 524-4800 [voice]    (703) 524-4802 [data]    (703) 534-5033 [fax]

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