AIX > Tips & Techniques > Systems Management

Call Home Web Monitors System Health


IBM Call Home is an incredibly useful feature that monitors the health of your system and automatically notifies both you and IBM support when events that need action take place. It will automatically open a service request and transfer the initial diagnostic data to the support team so that they can start an initial remediation plan. The only data sent is diagnostic data, which is encrypted to ensure security. This feature helps ensure rapid remediation of system problems and should be enabled on all systems where possible.

Enabling Call Home

Call Home is also referred to as ESA (electronic service agent) and this software is installed on the HMC (hardware management console) if you have one. Otherwise you need to install it on every server. Below are the instructions for configuring it on the HMC; on a server you would go to smitty and select electronic service agent. If that isn’t an option, then you may need to install it. The ESA home page has links with instructions on installation and configuration.

Configuring on the HMC

  • On the HMC you configure ESA and then enable it for use
  • The configuration will request your IBM customer number, contact information and details for sending notification emails
  • You will need to allow communication to IBM servers through your firewall
  • Verify connectivity between the HMC and IBM

So what is Call Home Web

Call Home Web is a new feature that was added to Call Home. It provides a dashboard that gives a view into your most recent events along with a summary of the past seven days. The system summary can be exported for later use. Call Home Web supports most Power Systems, Power-based PureFlex Systems, and IBM Storage Systems that report Call Home information. In order to use Call Home Web, the system must either be under warranty or be included in a maintenance support contract. When the system is added to Call Home Web, an entitlement check occurs⎯if a warranty or support contract cannot be found then the system cannot be added. At that point, you can request manual entitlement assistance.

Features provided by Call Home Web include:

Dashboard view
Where you view your most recent events and a summary of the past seven days

Manage my systems
Where you edit information about your systems and organize systems into groups

Groups
Which allows you to group systems into logical groups. You may want to group all the HR systems together or all the database ones or you may prefer other groupings

Contract information
Keeps track of information on your warranty and support contract, including when it expires. It can be set up to notify you when your contract is close to expiring

Events by my inventory
Shows events for your system, on an individual or group basis if groups have been set up

How to and help information
Also called Call Home Assistance. Provides information on how to set up and enable Call Home and Call Home Web as well as on how to register systems and general usage. You can also get additional site assistance such as descriptions of what the various icons mean

Risk analysis indicators
From the dashboard you can go to the system summary section to get a breakdown of indicators of current risks to your systems, specifically backlevel software.

Recommended software level
Under system details there is a risk analysis section that provides details on whether your system is at the minimum recommended level. If it’s not at the minimum recommended level, then links are provided to download that level.

Notifications for back-level software
Under system details is an associated users section, where you can request notifications when Call Home determines that your software is backlevel

System summary by group
If you have setup groups, then on the dashboard under system summary you can choose to display by group, sort by group and filter by group. This lets you quickly drill down into groups of systems that maybe having issues.

Adding Systems

Another feature added to Call Home Web is the ability to request a boarding spreadsheet. If you have a large number of systems to add then you can send an email to spe@us.ibm.com and request a boarding spreadsheet. This comes with instructions and allows you to put all your systems in a spreadsheet that will then be uploaded by the Call Home helpdesk. Individual systems are added using the Managing My Systems tab. You start by clicking on the Register New Systems button and then follow the instructions. Using an S824 8246-42A serial 02-0012345 as an example, you will need to be able to provide the following information:

  • 4 digit Machine type – i.e. 8246
  • 3 digit Machine model – i.e. 42A
  • 7 digit Machine serial – i.e. 0012345
  • Call Home Web System name – whatever name you want Call Home Web to refer to this system by
  • Country where the system gets its entitlement
  • Your IBM customer number – 7 characters

After you click on submit you’ll see either registration success, entitlement failure, test event required or machine type not supported by Call Home Web. If the registration is successful, then click on the “Requires confirmation” link and agree to the terms and conditions. If it requires a test event, then generate a test event for that server within 3 hours. Creating a test event or problem is a function within ESA that is easy to perform. If you receive an entitlement failure, then click on the link to get more information and complete the entitlement failure form to have the help desk determine the issue.

Summary

IBM Call Home constantly monitors the health and functionality of your system. This is a critical tool in your system health and maintenance strategy. IBM Call Home Web provides you with an additional interface that allows you to group information together and rapidly get an overall view of your entire environment’s health. In today’s business environment it’s important to understand this. Call Home and Call Home Web provide a view into your systems that helps you proactively manage events to reduce potential downtime.

Jaqui Lynch is an independent consultant, focusing on enterprise architecture, performance and delivery on Power Systems with AIX and Linux.



Like what you just read? To receive technical tips and articles directly in your inbox twice per month, sign up for the EXTRA e-newsletter here.


comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

Advertisement

2017 Solutions Edition

A Comprehensive Online Buyer's Guide to Solutions, Services and Education.

IBM Systems Magazine Subscribe Box Read Now Link Subscribe Now Link iPad App Google Play Store
AIX News Sign Up Today! Past News Letters