Release Notes 8.0

September 10th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Release Notes

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

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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

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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

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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.

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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().
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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.

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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.
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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.

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