Author Archives: admin

Release Notes 8.0.1

November 12th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Release Notes - (Comments Off on Release Notes 8.0.1)

This release note contains information on changes made to Absolute Service since the previously released version.

Download PDF Version Here

Upgrade Guide

[colored_box variation=”blue”]
This document provides information on the following topics:

  • Maintenance Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.0
  • About Absolute Service
  • Copyright Information

[/colored_box]

Maintenance Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.0.1

Absolute Service 8.0.1 contains new features, fixes, and enhancements based on customer requests. The following table provides information about the most notable new features, enhancements, and fixes.

General

  • Custom field string lists whose entries begin with numbers now apply numerical instead of character sorting to the options, which results in 1,2,10,100 instead of 1,10,100,2.
  • The workflow and lifecycle editors now present you with a warning before you delete connections between the workflow and lifecycle states.
  • Fixed various page width issues to allow access to buttons that seemed to fall off the edge of the page.
  • Localized the browser’s unsupported message on the login screen.
  • Fixed the assign to layer one option for assigning technicians to teams.
  • Localized the Classification and Closure code context menus.
  • Restricted partner visibility of data on filters shared at the team level because it could result in partners seeing entries visible to the filter creator, which may be above their access level.

Change Management and AMIE

  • Refined the Absolute Manage connector to work over ODBC connections to a MySQL data source.
  • Corrected excessive logging of custom field changes where no change occurred but resulted from edits that originated in two different time zones.
  • For categories created by duplicating an existing category, the Federation tab is accessible.
  • Configuration Managers can access the Configuration tab.
  • Manager users can now share Configuration Filters.
  • Values, sourced from an (Asset Management Integration Engine (AMIE) repository, that exceed the storage length within Absolute Service now have those values truncated and inserted, instead of ignored.

Requests

  • When you enter a note, the lower Save button warns you that the action cannot save the note you are entering. You are prompted with an option to Continue, which removes the warning and saves the note.
  • Corrected the date formatting in the Request Editor’s item details tooltips to match a technician’s preference.
  • Fine-tuned the process of proposing knowledge content as a solution to better reflect what actually occurred.
  • When converting from Incident to Service Request, or from Service Request to Incident, the technician assigned to the original request is assigned to the converted request, if possible.
  • Replies to closed requests are recorded against the specific request.
  • Added a Download All button to the Attachments pane to enable technicians to download all or selected attachments for a request as a zipped archive with one click.
  • In the requests list, the SLA progress bar shows in red when the SLA is violated.
  • Fixed the formatting for request details when used in a message template to omit formatting tags.
  • Fixed the default cursor location when adding a note.
  • Restored request classification sorting to work as it did in Absolute Manage 7.0.
  • Request RSS and consolidated feeds are available on a per process basis.

Reports

  • Export and import custom report definitions generated using the Report Builder to transfer from test instances to production instances.
  • The Custom Report Builder includes the necessary wildcards to query a “like” expression, instead of requiring the user to include them.
  • Added more request fields and fields relating to request notes as options in Report Builder.
  • Fixed the calculation that resulted in a negative value in Mean Open time report.
  • You can now use the parent item of an item as the subject of a Custom Report.

Reports

  • The new custom field definitions added to the Hardware category are disabled upon upgrade instead of showing as duplicated fields for existing customers.
  • When you click upgrade on the database page against a database that does not require an upgrade, you are shown an appropriate message.

About Absolute Service
Absolute Service is a comprehensive IT Service Management (ITSM) solution, certified by Pink Elephant for full compliance with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) v2011 best practices. Absolute Service version 8.0 supports 10 core ITIL processes. This enterprise-wide solution delivers complete customer service and support for organizations of any size.

Absolute Service is fully web-based and provides browser access using Servlet or J2EE application Server infrastructure. Absolute Service is highly scalable and supports a virtually unlimited number of users. The application supports a variety of RDBMSes, application servers, and web servers, and is available in the following deployment models:

  • on-demand Software as a Service (SaaS) using the cloud
  • deployed as a software installation, or virtual or plug-and-play appliance on Windows, Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X, and many other platforms

Absolute Service supports organizations’ current and future scalability by letting customers easily transition between both deployment models. For more information, see http://www.absolute.com/en/ products/absolute-service.
Absolute Service is available in three editions:

  • Help Desk, which includes Incident, Configuration and Service Level Management (Basic) functionality with an emphasis on internal or external customer support.
  • Standard Edition (ITIL certified), which includes Service Asset and Configuration Management, Service Catalog Management, Service Portfolio Management, Service Level Management and Knowledge Management. This edition provides licensing for technicians to use ITIL 2011 certified processes of Request Fulfillment and Incident Management.
  • Premium Edition (ITIL certified) is the flagship edition that includes the licensed technician processes of the Standard Edition (see above) and adds ITIL 2011 certified Problem, Change and Release and Deployment Management.

Copyright Information
©2013 Absolute Software Corporation. All rights reserved. “Computrace” and “Absolute” are registered trademarks of Absolute Software Corporation. LoJack is a registered trademark of LoJack Corporation, used under license by Absolute Software Corporation. LoJack Corporation is not responsible for any content herein. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
US patents No. 5,715,174, No. 5,764,892, No. 5,802,280, No. 5,896,497, No. 6,087,937,
No. 6,244,758, No. 6,269,392, No. 6,300,863, No. 6,507,914, No. 7,818,557, No. 7,818,803,
No. 7,945,709, No. 8,062,380, No. 8,234,359, No. 8,241,369, No. 8,307,055, No. 8,332,953, and
No. 8,418,226. Canadian patents No. 2,205,370, No. 2,211,735, No. 2,284,806, and No. 2,771,208. U.K patents No. EP793823, No. GB2298302, and No. GB2338101. German patent No. 69512534. Australian patent No. 699045. Japanese patent No. JP4067035.

Release Notes 8.0

September 10th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Release Notes - (Comments Off on Release Notes 8.0)

This release note contains information on changes made to Absolute Service since the previously released version.

Download PDF Version Here

Upgrade Guide

[colored_box variation=”blue”]
This document provides information on the following topics:

  • Maintenance Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.0
  • Customer Requests Addressed in Absolute Service 8.0
  • Deprecated Functionality
  • Known Issues and Limitations
  • Minimum System Requirements
  • Installing Absolute Service 8.0
  • Upgrading to Absolute Service 8.0
  • Contacting Absolute Global Support
  • About Absolute Service
  • Copyright Information

[/colored_box]

Maintenance Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.0

Absolute Service 8.0 contains more than a hundred new features, fixes, and enhancements based on over a hundred customer requests. The following table provides information about the most notable new features, enhancements, and fixes.

ITIL 2011 support required reworking all ITIL v3 certified processes. The most significant of these changes are provided next, organized by process.

General

  • Classifications can now have restricted visibility so they apply only to the selected processes.
  • Closure codes are fully implemented as a system feature instead of a custom field, and closure codes can have restricted visibility to apply only to certain processes.
  • Classify attachments and make certain classifications with attachments required to allow progression within workflows and item lifecycles.
  • The new Team Leader role assists with partitioning service desk operations, effectively creating data silos within which team leaders and their technicians can function.

Change Management

  • It is now possible to escalate approval actions to the Approver’s Supervisor.
  • Supervisors are then assigned a weighting for their approval based on the number of Approvers they supervise.
  • Absolute Service provides access to the Approval Hierarchy for Change Requests from the Item details page using the icon next to the Change Team.
  • New Change Advisory Board (CAB) section added to the Change tab, which allows CAB and eCAB members to perform bulk changes and approvals across batches of Change Requests to facilitate CAB meetings.

Incident Management

  • From the Impact tab of an Incident, search for changes that apply to the Item to which an Incident relates, and identify recent changes that may be the root cause of a given Incident.
  • Reports on incorrect classification of requests by Configuration Item Category or Technician are now available to assist in identifying weaknesses in Incident assessment and training needs.
  • Generate Priority Change reports from the Audit tab to look into the changes of a given Incident.

Knowledge Management

  • Document the Critical Business Period (CBP) of any given Service within the Change Management Database (CMDB). This information provides timely knowledge content in the customer portal relating to items within a defined, recurring CBP.

Release and Deployment Management

  • Release workflows now reflect the Change Workflows in terms of the different change types: Emergency, Major, Significant, Normal, Standard, and Minor.
  • Strengthened the tie-in of the built-in purchase order system to the Release and Deployment Management module to ensure acquired items for release are recorded appropriately.

Request Fulfillment Management

  • As with Change Management, approval escalations are now implemented. When a request is in the approval stages, technicians can mouse-over the request to see its status.

Service Catalog Management

  • Service Catalogs are generated correctly for each distinct Category that has the Service option enabled.
  • Provided customer-friendly Service Description templates to assist with data entry for services definitions.
  • An option is now provided to show Vendor Performance against Underpinning Contracts as part of the Service Catalog description for insight into Vendor Performance where support is beyond the control of the service desk.

Service Level Management

  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs) now follow a straightforward lifecycle in one of the following forms:
    – Draft
    – Production
    – Production But Pending Review
  • SLAs can be related to Service Design Packages and to the CSI Register (using a custom field) to allow referencing to service delivery objectives.

Integration Points

  • Deeper integration between the Asset Management Import Engine (AMIE) and Absolute Service with Absolute Manage, including access to the Absolute Manage Remote Control service from within the Service Desk Request Editors.
  • AMIE now allows scripting to process returned data points from AMIE sources before populating the built-in, federated CMDB with the content from the remote source.
  • You can now force AMIE to reload the database schema on the next synchronization schedule. This method eliminates having to restart Absolute Service when a remote source is updated and the local representation of the schema is outdated.
  • Greatly improved reporting capabilities. CMDB Attributes now use database native types so that content entered or imported is stored as a native data type in the database.
  • Increased the number of attributes allocated to CMDB Items from 20 to 40.
  • Enhanced AMIE to handle additional fields and integration fields (for Absolute Manage integration) in the CMDB, and added performance enhancements to handle the increased data.
  • Provided an allowance for creating and uploading customized Dashboard widgets. Using the defined widget accessibility permissions, you can now add these customized widgets to users’ dashboards.
  • Added the ability to configure AMIE with more ownership options for users, including automatically assigning a new owner, and added the ability to create organizational units as owners, if appropriate.

Interface

  • Replaced the Workflow and Item Lifecycle editors with Web 2.0 versions to allow in-line changes and creating state linkages.
  • Reworked File Upload so files can be dropped into the Upload Panel for uploading.
  • Changed the Request editor to contain collapsible sections that hide details the technicians use infrequently if they so choose. These hidden details are cached locally on the technician’s computer.
  • Updated searches to span attributes and full text in the same search expression where a full text index is available.
  • Made record paging more widely available when working in the various content editors.
  • Localized Absolute Service fully in 16 languages, adding Portuguese and Brazilian to this latest release.
  • Reworked the Description text editor to better suit high-resolution Retina displays.
  • Updated the existing User Interface (UI) style to match the Absolute product suite.
  • Updated the Resources view in the Home tab to use geographical positioning to identify technician locations on a map.
  • Improved the way lists are represented in the UI by allowing colors, and visualizations of %SLA Item and Request Status options
  • Included Item Attributes (similar to those included in the Request Editor) in the Item Relationship Viewer.
  • Added drag and drop ordering in the side panels of the custom report builder, and the ability to click display names of fields for renaming, both of which make editing custom reports quicker.

Performance

  • Updated the database communication technology to the most current version and optimized database interaction to leverage new features.
  • Streamlined Item Ownership determination techniques, resulting in enhanced performance of both the Self-help section and Request Creation editors of the customer portal, as well as the Item web service,

Support

  • Added the ability to adjust the log levels of the application in real-time, removing the need to restart the system to collect the necessary data when the support team wants logging information.
  • Added the ability to use the Absolute Service Migration window in the Database setup of the Administrator portal to move a database to an alternative platform, if required.This procedure automatically connects to the new repository when complete and no restart is necessary. Users are logged out until this migration is complete.

General

  • Fixed an issue where partners could edit user permissions if a customer of that partner was also a technician on the Absolute Service system.
  • Added a Workflow editor to create new workflows using existing system workflows and system default workflows. These workflows show as the starting template selector in the new Workflow editor.
  • An alert is now raised when an e-mail send or receive event fails, thereby prompting an Administrator to check the settings.
  • An alert is raised when the system encounters an application license that expires within seven days. This alert targets Administrators so they can take action to prevent technicians from being denied access due to a temporary or time- sensitive license expiration.
  • Reworked request approval processing through e-mail replies to use the first index of a documented approval or rejection keyword, and corrected some localizations that treat the character N as a rejection.
  • Added an option to use manager skills to determine those managers who are allocated approval rights.

Customer Requests Addressed in Absolute Service 8.0

Many of the new features included in this release of Absolute Service were inspired by customer requests related to existing features. In addition to those customer requests addressed in the preceding table, those included in the next table show notable customer requests that were incorporated into this release as well.

1005661
Outage and Planned Outage visibility options were separated to be public or internal, and independent of each other. Previous release versions used common settings.

10159323
Made more fields available to various message templates within the system when customizing messages.

10159024
Corrected various issues with customer updates to requests that break the approval state logic.

10158933
Added the option to exclude on-hold request from workload calculations when determining request assignments.

10159147
Change Requests now force customers to select the request type instead of having that option selected automatically by the system.

10158465
The Service terms panel now contains details about the OLA (Operation Level Agreement) and Underpinning Contracts when either is applicable to the currently worked on request.

10158910,10157352

Added a new option to control the default item’s search scope when creating a new request using either the All or Owned value.

1015441a
Added an Apply button to Change Requests to ensure that you can save changes while the request stays open in the Edit mode.

Additional Notes

  • Item Imports using a comma-separated- value (CSV)
  • To map a department to an item during an import using CSV, a company must be mapped too. All teams and customers must be defined correctly and must match the date in the .csv file before the items are imported successfully.
  • Creating a Change Request for an item change
  • With the Create an RFC from an Item Change option enabled, both of the
  • following conditions occur:
    – Customers cannot create an item in the portal because the NEW button is hidden.
    – Technicians cannot create a CR at the same time that they are creating an incident.

Deprecated Functionality
Support for the following items was deprecated in Absolute Service 8.0.

  • Pentaho Report Writer no longer supported: dropped support for the Pentaho Report Writer; reports created using Pentaho must be recreated using the built-in report writer or another tool
  • IE 8 no longer supported: support for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 8 and previous versions are not supported in Absolute Service 8.0.
  • Federated Directory Server Support is no longer available or supported in the Helpdesk edition of Absolute Service 8.0. This feature is only available in the Service Manager Application, which is now delivered with the Standard and Premium editions of Absolute Service.

[colored_box title=”Important” variation=”red”]
If you used the old multi-directory implementation of this functionality, which was accessed through a single point of contact in the Directory Server environment, you must reassess your configuration in a test environment before upgrading any production systems. This reassessment may be due to potential configuration changes that you need to make and test before rolling out to a live environment.
[/colored_box]

Known Issues and Limitations
Absolute Service 8.0 has the following known issues and limitations:

  • Large Attachments may cause out of memory exceptions:
    Attaching large files may cause the application to run out of memory. You can avoid this situation by increasing the memory available to the application servlet container and compressing the attachments where practical.
  • Listbox size restriction:
    Several of the list boxes only allow the first 250 elements to show.
  • License Manager:
    Only one concurrent login per username, per IP Address is allowed by the License Manager.
  • ADS/LDAP Authentication:
    When ADS/LDAP is enabled, you can only create, update, or delete User accounts for Supervisors, Technicians, Partners, or Accounts using the authentication server. The synchronization option is the only way to update user information.

[colored_box title=”Minimum System Requirements” variation=”silver”]

The following operating systems, databases, web servers, and other third-party software were tested with Absolute Service 8.0 using 512MB of physical RAM and 1GB of available hard disk space.

64 bit operating system platforms, which include:

  • Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2012 versions
  • Windows 7 and 8
  • FreeBSD (UNIX) versions 6, 7, and 8
  • IBM i5/OS V5R2 or later
  • VMware Player, Server, and ESX Server versions 4.0 or later
  • Mac OS X 10.6 or later
  • Ubuntu versions 8, 9, 10, and 11
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions 4, 5, and 6
  • CentOS Linux versions 5 and 6
  • OpenSUSE Linux versions 10, 11, and 12
  • Solaris (x86, SPARC) versions 9, 10, and 11

Databases, which include:

  • Oracle 9.2.0.5, 10g, 11g, 12c
  • DB2 8.x, 9.x
  • DB2 i5/OS V5R2
  • SQL Server 2005, 2008, and 2012
  • MySQL 5.x and later
  • Informix Dynamic Server version 9.2 or later
  • PostgresSQL versions 8.x and 9.x
  • Sybase ASA version 8.0 or later
  • Sybase ASE versions 11 and 12.x

Browsers, which include the following:

  • Chrome 20 or later
  • Firefox 4.0 or later
  • Internet Explorer (IE) 9 or later
  • Opera 10 or later
  • Safari 5 or later
  • Other HTML5 browsers

Further specific requirements including:

  • Java 6 or later
  • 2GB of available RAM
  • 100GB of disk space

[/colored_box]

Installing Absolute Service 8.0

Absolute Service has a universal installer that runs on all supported platforms (see Minimum System Requirements). This installer requires a 64 bit operating system, running Oracle Java SDK 7 or later.

[colored_box title=”Important” variation=”red”]
If you use web services, you need to begin migrating your legacy applications to the new interfaces (using the underscore prefix) to prepare for overhauled interfaces in a future release; for example, _authenticate().
[/colored_box]

Upgrading to Absolute Service 8.0
Before you can upgrade to Absolute Service 8.0 you need a valid support and maintenance contract. If you do not have a support and maintenance contract, contact your account manager or a member of our sales team.

For customers with an existing support and maintenance contract, go to the Absolute Service Global Support site at https://service.absolute.com and log in with your support credentials. The Knowledge Base article named Upgrading to Absolute Service 8.0 provides instructions for downloading the product.

[colored_box title=”Important” variation=”red”]
To process various localization routines, upgrading to Absolute Service 8.0 uses the locale of the user who is running the upgrade. Therefore, this user’s operating system must match exactly that of the default messages stored within the previous version; for example, use the English operating system when upgrading to solve any problems upgrading the language files.
[/colored_box]

The Absolute Service 8.0 Upgrade Guide provides information and tasks on the following topics:
• how to upgrade from earlier versions to the newest version of Absolute Service
• how to upgrade from LiveTime 6.0 and later versions to Absolute Service 8.0
• post-upgrade instructions for Administrators and Supervisors

Contacting Absolute Global Support
If you have difficulty upgrading Absolute Service, contact Absolute Global Support (http://service.absolute.com) and log in with your support credentials. We welcome your questions, comments, and feature requests.

About Absolute Service
Absolute Service is a comprehensive IT Service Management (ITSM) solution, certified by Pink Elephant for full compliance with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) v2011 best practices. Absolute Service version 8.0 supports 10 core ITIL processes. This enterprise-wide solution delivers complete customer service and support for organizations of any size.

Absolute Service is fully web-based and provides browser access using Servlet or J2EE application Server infrastructure. Absolute Service is highly scalable and supports a virtually unlimited number of users. The application supports a variety of RDBMSes, application servers, and web servers, and is available in the following deployment models:

  • on-demand Software as a Service (SaaS) using the cloud
  • deployed as a software installation, or virtual or plug-and-play appliance on Windows, Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X, and many other platforms

Absolute Service supports organizations’ current and future scalability by letting customers easily transition between both deployment models. For more information, see http://www.absolute.com/en/ products/absolute-service.
Absolute Service is available in three editions:

  • Help Desk, which includes Incident, Configuration and Service Level Management (Basic) functionality with an emphasis on internal or external customer support.
  • Standard Edition (ITIL certified), which includes Service Asset and Configuration Management, Service Catalog Management, Service Portfolio Management, Service Level Management and Knowledge Management. This edition provides licensing for technicians to use ITIL 2011 certified processes of Request Fulfillment and Incident Management.
  • Premium Edition (ITIL certified) is the flagship edition that includes the licensed technician processes of the Standard Edition (see above) and adds ITIL 2011 certified Problem, Change and Release and Deployment Management.

Copyright Information
©2013 Absolute Software Corporation. All rights reserved. “Computrace” and “Absolute” are registered trademarks of Absolute Software Corporation. LoJack is a registered trademark of LoJack Corporation, used under license by Absolute Software Corporation. LoJack Corporation is not responsible for any content herein. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
US patents No. 5,715,174, No. 5,764,892, No. 5,802,280, No. 5,896,497, No. 6,087,937,
No. 6,244,758, No. 6,269,392, No. 6,300,863, No. 6,507,914, No. 7,818,557, No. 7,818,803,
No. 7,945,709, No. 8,062,380, No. 8,234,359, No. 8,241,369, No. 8,307,055, No. 8,332,953, and
No. 8,418,226. Canadian patents No. 2,205,370, No. 2,211,735, No. 2,284,806, and No. 2,771,208. U.K patents No. EP793823, No. GB2298302, and No. GB2338101. German patent No. 69512534. Australian patent No. 699045. Japanese patent No. JP4067035.

Release Notes 7.0.1

September 12th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Release Notes - (Comments Off on Release Notes 7.0.1)

Service Updates

As part of LiveTime’s continual service improvement program and commitment to quality, monthly product updates are made available to all current customers. These releases guarantee that LiveTime customers have access to the most reliable and secure production version of its service management tool. The updates are optional for customers using the virtual appliance and automatically applied to all SaaS customers. LiveTime’s service and support team will notify any organizations that are possibly affected by software bugs addressed in the latest release, and provide assistance with the upgrade process.

Upgrade procedure

Upgrades to v7 are supported from Versions 5.5.x+. Supported users of earlier versions will need to contact support to arrange an intermediate upgrade (to v6.0) prior to upgrading to v7.0.

For existing users of LiveTime v5.5.x or 6.x.x, a database upgrade will be required. Please follow these steps:

  1. Stop LiveTime
  2. Backup the current database, LiveTime.war and application banners (to reload after upgrade)
  3. Install the new version of LiveTime
    1. If using the installer:
      1. Run the uninstaller to remove the old version
      2. Run the installer and select the upgrade option
    2. If installing manually using the WAR file:
      1. Stop the servlet container and delete the old deployment folder
      2. Install the new WAR file for LiveTime v6.5
  4. Start LiveTime
  5. At Database Configuration page, enter the database details
  6. Click Test to ensure the database connection is correct
  7. Click Advanced
  8. Click Upgrade, followed by the next Upgrade button
  9. Once the migration is complete click Save
  10. When the upgrade is complete, the login page is displayed.

September 12, 2012

Requests

  • Escalating the process of a request will now clear the custom field data
  • Tidied up the transient emails regarding non-existent SLA breaches due to status change lag
  • Restored the propose solution button for service requests
  • Link outage option will no longer be shown when no outages are pending for an item
  • Editing an outage within 5 minutes of the scheduled start time will display a meaningful message
  • Sorting corrected on notes list to allow for correct sequencing of notes entered in the same minute
  • Can cancel out of customer creation when creating a new request
  • Audit trails will now include the attachments that were sent along with the note
  • The Item Audit trail option in the history tab now allows pdf exports to be triggered
  • Incident Service Request process conversion is now functional
  • The correct line manager will be displayed when escalating requests for approval to senior line managers
  • Formatting of content entered in the widget during request creation will be conserved
  • Status changes will no longer toggle the assigned technician (if that technician is a valid selection)
  • Request Dashboard data for partner users has been restricted
  • Required custom fields will once again not block requests from being created
  • Print View of requests is now resizable

Service Levels

  • Fine tuning to allow for blackout windows in a more efficient manner
  • Tidied up the transient emails regarding non-existent SLA breaches due to status change lag
  • Corrected rounding of Due Date presentation to users

Web Services

  • Various web services were not handling data type conversions correctly as a result of major rework in v7.0.0, which has been corrected.
  • Updating the status of a request using the Request web service will follow the same rules for determining re-assignment as the rest of the application

Miscellaneous

  • Scheduled Quick Call visibility is no longer global, and factors in CI ownership detail
  • The empty To: information will no longer be appended to notes that weren’t emailed
  • Org Unit Search now has an ‘All’ option to search both companies and departments
  • List header rows will now scale better with the content of the list
  • Deleting filters which are in use by a user will no longer render the list to which the filter applied unusable
  • Partner full text search handling has been improved where they own the customer related to the content
  • Various improvements have been made to the report builder to improve the quality of the generated queries
  • The system timezone will now be correctly shown in My Account if no country or timezone is selected
  • Date Exports using checkboxes will once again span multiple pages, returning all selections
  • Day of week scheduled quick calls will be correctly processed by the event calendar
  • Deleted Escalation layers will no longer be re-activated on duplicated teams
  • The text colour in the workflow modal window has been corrected for IE8
  • Team Summary KPI report will once again work correctly

OS X Mountain Lion Mailman Mailing List

July 30th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Blog - (Comments Off on OS X Mountain Lion Mailman Mailing List)

As part of the OS X Mountain Lion Server upgrade, Apple has removed the Mailman mailing list manager entirely. In order to get this running again you can use the following instructions. Hopefully this will help others.

You will notice that as part of the upgrade from Lion Server you you will have Migrated folder on your server under /Library/Server/Migrated. This will contain any of your old lists from Mailman which we will use later.

Step 1 – Install Command Line Tools

Before you can get started you need to have the right infrastructure in place on Mountain Lion. Make sure you install the latest Xcode (4.4 as of this writing). Once installed you will need to open Xcode and open choose Preferences. Now install the Xcode command line tools. This is needed in order to build Mailman from the source.

Xcode command line tools

Step 2 – Install Mailman

Now we have the infrastructure necessary download the Mailman source from:

Mailman Source 2.1.15 (June 2012)

Now open the terminal and login as root. Run the following commands:

mkdir /usr/local/mailman
cd /usr/local/mailman
chgrp mailman .
chmod a+rx,g+ws .

[colored_box variation=”slategrey”]
A note about these commands. By default Mountain Lion will have a _mailman user in the system already and so it will map the mailman user we used above to the _mailman user which is fine.
[/colored_box]

Now we can build the source. Make sure the source is available on the server and change into that directory from the terminal. By default this will install into the /usr/local/mailman directory we created above.

cd mailman-<version>
./configure
make install

Next validate the the installation by changing into the mailman directory and checking permissions:

cd /usr/local/mailman
bin/check_perms -f

Step 3 – Modify Web Server Settings

Since Mountain Lion has removed the support for Mailman we need to create our own mailman settings and make sure the Server App is restarted to pick them up. At the end of this step you will have Mailman accessible again from the Web Server. So the first step is to ensure your web server is turned on using the Server App.

Now we need to create a new file of specific Mailman settings for the built-in Apache server. Cut and paste the following settings into a new file and save it as httpd-mailman.conf.

# Config file for linking the mailman mailing list manager to MacOSX Server Web Server.
#

ScriptAlias /mailman/ "/usr/local/mailman/cgi-bin/"
Alias /pipermail/ "/usr/local/mailman/archives/public/"
Alias /icons/ "/usr/local/mailman/icons/"
<Directory "/usr/local/mailman/archives/public/">
	Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews Indexes
	AllowOverride None
	Order allow,deny
	Allow from all
</Directory>

Now copy this file to your server and place it in the desired location. I used the apache2/extra folder, but you can equally use the apache2/other location as well, as long as your Include refers to the correct file.

/private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-mailman.conf

Next we need to make sure the Web Server loads this file. This is controlled by the Apache settings at /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_server_app.conf. Edit this file and add the following line near the end of the file just above the comment for SSL/TLS connections.

Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-mailman.conf

Now restart your Web Server using the Server App. After it has restarted you should be able to access the following URL:

http://myserver.com/mailman/listinfo

You can now proceeed to Step 4.

Step 4 – Configure Mailman

Next we need to comfigure Mailman correctly to connect to our Mountain Lion Mail Server. Edit /usr/local/mailman/Mailman/mm_cfg.py

Add the following to the end of the file:

MTA = 'Postfix'

Other settings on Mountain Lion Server should be correct already. So next we need to initialize the aliases file for mailman as follows:

cd /usr/local/mailman
bin/genaliases
chown mailman:mailman data/aliases*
chmod g+w data/aliases*

Now we need to change out Postfix settings on the Mountain Lion Server to hook into Mailman correctly. Edit /Library/Server/Mail/Config/postfix/main.cf as follows to add the correct alias_maps path to Mailman. If you are upgrading from Lion or earlier you will see an old entry which will point to the now non existant mailman server.

alias_maps = hash:/etc/aliases,hash:/usr/local/mailman/data/aliases

Now you can restart your mail server using the Server App and Mailman should be connected to your server.

Step 5 – Setup Mailing Lists

Set the Mailman site password:

/usr/local/mailman/bin/mmsitepass xxxx

Create a new mailing list:

bin/newlist mailman
# apply the default template
bin/config_list -i data/sitelist.cfg mailman

Mailman depends on a process called the “qrunner” to delivery all email messages it sees. You must start the qrunner by executing the following command from the /usr/local/mailman directory:

bin/mailmanctl start

Now we need to make sure this starts and stops everytime the server does. We can do this by creating a Launch Daemon. We can save this as org.list.mailmanctl.plist and place it in /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
	<key>Debug</key>
  	<true/>
	<key>Disabled</key>
	<false/>
	<key>Label</key>
	<string>org.list.mailmanctl</string>
	<key>Program</key>
	<string>/usr/local/mailman/bin/mailmanctl</string>
	<key>ProgramArguments</key>
	<array>
		<string>mailmanctl</string>
		<string>-s</string>
		<string>start</string>
	</array>
	<key>KeepAlive</key>
	<false/>
	<key>RunAtLoad</key>
	<true/>
	<key>AbandonProcessGroup</key>
	<true/>
</dict>
</plist>

Now this will run everytime the server starts up.

Step 6 – Migrating from Lion Server

If you have Lists created under Lion Server you will need to migrate these to your new installation of Mailman. You will notice that Mountain Lion created a new folder on on your server called /Library/Server/Migrated. Within that you should have a folder called private/var/mailman/lists.

Now we can extract the users from each of these old lists. We can just cut and paste the following on the command line in each of your mailing list directories where there is a config.pck file. This will printout each member on a new line and you can just cut and paste this as needed after creating your new list name.

ln -s /usr/local/mailman/bin/paths.py
python
import paths
import Mailman, pickle
configFile = open('config.pck')
config = pickle.load(configFile)
config['created_at']
members = config['members'].keys()
members.sort()
print '\n'.join(members)

Once you have the users you can just create the new list of the same name using:

bin/newlist example

Now you can test your lists are working by posting a test message to the list. That should be all you need to do. You now have a fully working Mailman List server running on your new Mountain Lion Server.

ITIL v3 Service Management Lifecycle

June 9th, 2012 | Posted by admin in White Papers - (Comments Off on ITIL v3 Service Management Lifecycle)
Service Process Lifecycle

LiveTime Service Manager provides service organizations all they need to adopt a lifecycle approach to service management, irrespective of their current level of service maturity, available resources and capability. Such capacity guarantees organizations control over their ITIL adoption process, whether they choose to use internally trained staff or outsource to industry specialists for their ITIL implementation.

ITIL v3

At the end of October in 2007, ITIL version 3 was released and the understanding of IT service management best practices was transformed to encompass a lifecycle approach to service. Processes are grouped into different segments based on their lifecycle. Many of these overlap into many segements of the framework as illustrated below.

ITIL v3 Processes

A ‘service’ is defined as delivering value to customers by facilitating outcomes customers want to achieve without ownership of specific costs and risks. The ITIL Service Lifecycle caters to the concept that services continually adapt and evolve with the changing needs of business. Through this evolution the service builds value through interaction, evolution, dependencies and relationships to provide positive results. The stages of evolution covered by ITIL are Strategy, Design, Transition, Operation and Continual Service Improvement.

Strategy

ITIL service strategySuccessful service providers have a clear understanding of their customer’s business objectives and the role IT plays to ensure their customer’s success. They predict the customer’s needs by preparing, analyzing and examining customer activity and usage patterns.

LiveTime Service Manager provides service organizations with this capacity as the system includes Service Portfolio Management at its core. Although it may not be relevant to all organizations when they first start working with the system, in their own time, organizations can build their service strategy and record all proposed services along with forecasted costings in LiveTime. These services can be transitioned through the configured service lifecycle that begins with an idea or proposal, through approvals, design & implementation, into operation and subsequently through maintenance cycles until it is decommissioned.

Applying Service Categories that include business related attributes, such as business processes supported, business owners and users, and making these accessible to customers with a description of the services in a language they understand, ensures IT is evolving from supporting the business to a point of enabling business activities, and in some cases, even driving the business.

With the cost of providing a service often a deciding factor when developing services for the business, LiveTime includes the capability to track and report on service offerings and component usage, service level performance and costs as part of the fully integrated Financial Management.

Recording financial attributes against services, including the service cost, charges and revenue, allows service providers to calculate the expenses they incur for offering services and charge internal or external consumers appropriately.

Design

ITIL service designMoving from the prediction and planning stages, successful service providers apply service management practices systematically, which ensures the services they offer are responsive, consistent and measurable.

Approved services that are transitioned into an operational state within the Service Portfolio, are made available to customers within LiveTime’s Service Catalog. Considered a filter view of the Service Portfolio, the active or ‘Live’ services offered by the service provider can be accessed by customers within LiveTime’s Customer Portal.

Within the Portal, customers can log Service Requests, Incidents or Change Requests against services, as defined relevant by the service provider. It should be noted that if the Service Portfolio, Service Catalog and Financial Management functionality is never enabled, service providers can still record requests against items and services owned or accessed by their customer base.

Responsive service is managed with all requests being associated with Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which is applied Service Level Management. Service providers can use LiveTime’s fully configurable SLAs supported by Operations Level Agreements (OLAs) and Underpinning Contracts (UCs) to ensure the quality of service delivered to their customers. Applying SLA-compliance reporting, Managers can define and track service availability and performance objectives that reflect business requirements and improved customer satisfaction.

Transition

ITIL service transitionProviding stable and predictable services that allow businesses to view IT as a utility is also crucial to a service provider’s success. This is achieved by using LiveTime to map the designed services to the IT infrastructure that provisions the services. LiveTime’s embedded CMDB encompasses the Service Portfolio and Service Catalog, allowing service organizations to construct a complete model of the IT infrastructure. This model can be leveraged to identify, control, maintain and verify the Configuration Items (CIs) that underpin the services.

The CMDB is built on CI Type templates that include user-defined attributes and a lifecycle editor that is applied to reflect the State of the CI. It is this State that is also used to define a service as being proposed, operational, decommissioned or any stage in between.

CI details can be automatically populated from multiple third party asset discovery and management tools and updated based on a regular schedule. This ensures the stability of services as information relating to all support infrastructure is maintained, while enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of service desk staff when they are working on requests.

In all ITIL aligned service management implementations, getting the CMDB right is the biggest challenge. With LiveTime, service providers can set a simple list of services as CIs to provide immediate improvement for the creation and management of requests. Then as a background task, the service portfolio and service catalog can be built with all supporting infrastructure, bringing the services online when they are ready. By using the system whilst building the CMDB, service providers can take advantage of the single repository that shows customer activity and usage patterns. This is a valuable resource when fine-tuning the construction of the CMDB and the overall service strategy.

By building the Categories, Types and Classifications for all CIs in the CMDB, the foundations of the Knowledge Management system are also being implemented. All future solutions, known errors and back-out procedures, will use the CMDB model to store knowledge base articles for easy access when working across Service Requests, Incidents, Problems and Change Requests.

Change Management, with its default extension of Release and Deployment, allows service providers to mirror their change and authorization procedures into LiveTime. This ensures all changes in the environment are reflected in the CMDB and they are controlled and managed in accordance with the documented procedure. The tight integration with the CMDB means that third party tools that detect changes in the environment, initiate the creation of a request for change (RFC), when LiveTime synchs with the external systems.

Full visibility of current and planned outages also works to reassure customers about the availability and reliability of the services.

Operation

ITIL service operationServicing customers in line with their expectations and proactively identifying issues are key elements in a responsive and consistent service environment. Using LiveTime’s fully configurable workflows across Service Request, Incident and Problem management, ensures service providers handle all service issues with consistency and within service requirements levels.

Ready access to solutions and workarounds stored in the Knowledge Base during the request creation process minimizes the mean time to repair (MTTR) for incidents, and the proactive analysis of incidents automates the problem identification process to maintain the stability of services.

Tight integration and full visibility between all processes mean that a single click within a Service Request, Incident, Problem or Change can result in the creation of a related request within a different process. This new request will include the appropriate team, SLA and workflow assignment based on the CMDB configuration, and have the ability to update notes, time worked and status changes across the processes. LiveTime provides efficiency and effectiveness gains as all service desk staff have access to all the relevant information when working on a request and providing customer updates.

Service providers wanting to provide immediate value to their business customers when implementing LiveTime, can first roll out Incident Management or Request Fulfillment as they refine other parts of their service management strategy. Capitalizing on the embedded integration with authentication servers, email server and default system workflows, organizations immediately have a single point of access for handling all requests. They can use also use the newly captured data to audit their processes, classifications and customer requirements for future planning and implementing service management improvements.

Continual Service Improvement

ITIL continual improvementSuccessful service providers continuously analyze and refine their service offerings to perpetuate stability and reliability, while retaining adaptive and responsive services allowing the customers to concentrate on their business.

Managers across all service management processes are provided access to LiveTime’s inbuilt reports, allowing them to monitor the performance of all service offerings against the business requirements and agreed expectations.

The tight integration and visibility between all service management processes also provides Managers with ready access to information regarding the provisioned services, requests logged and committed agreements to identify weaknesses. The capability to automatically schedule review dates in LiveTime for service level agreements, knowledge base articles and change requests all combine to result in a professional, responsive and value driven service management environment.