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Alarm Visualization

 

PSM displays alarms reported by discovered network elements in the Alarms panel, and provides an alarms summary at the bottom of the window. Alarms are displayed in table format as shown in the figure below. When you hover the cursor over an alarm description, a tool tip appears and provides more information on the alarm.

Figure 1: Alarm Table View
Alarm Table View
Note

Alarm times from each NE are translated into the current PSM server time, so variances in timezones are handled automatically when being displayed in the table. It is highly recommended that PSM and all NEs in the network use NTP servers for obtaining the time in order to avoid time discrepancies.

Alarms in the alarms table and in the alarms summary are color-coded by severity:

  • Red - critical alarms

  • Amber - major alarms

  • Yellow - minor alarms

  • Grey - acknowledged alarms

  • Green - cleared alarms

An alarm remains in the table until it is cleared, at which time the alarm is removed from the table, either immediately or after a configurable delay. If no delay is configured, the alarm just disappears from the table, with no indication that the alarm has been cleared, save for its absence. If a delay is configured, the alarm changes color to green to signify that it has been cleared, and remains in the table for the delay period. At the end of this period, the alarm is removed from the table. For details on how to configure this option, see Setting alarm display options. Regardless of which option is configured, when an alarm is cleared, the cleared alarms counters are incremented in the alarms summary bar at the bottom of the window. For information on the alarms summary bar, see Understanding the alarms summary bar

Alarms are automatically retrieved from NEs and added to the alarms table upon initial node discovery and are kept synchronized using SNMP traps. When a device is discovered, the PSM server registers itself as a trap listener with the network element, which enables the application to receive notification of new or cleared alarms.

When you first log in to the PSM server , the PSM server retrieves outstanding alarms from discovered network elements, and populates the alarms table. Previously acknowledged alarms continue to be acknowledged, but previously cleared alarms are not remembered.

When a network element is deleted, the following occurs:

  • Outstanding alarms raised by the deleted network element are removed from the alarms table, and the alarms counters in the summary bar are decremented accordingly.

  • Acknowledged alarms for the deleted network element are removed from the alarms table, and the acknowledged alarms counters in the summary bar are decremented accordingly.

Note

Cleared alarms from the deleted network element are not removed and cleared alarms counters in the summary bar do not change from this deletion.

Viewing Current Alarms

  1. To view current alarms, from the main menu choose View>Alarms > Alarms.

    The current alarms are displayed in table form in the Alarms pane.

  2. To filter the list of current alarms, see Working with the alarms table.
  3. To view details of an alarm:
    1. Right-click the alarm and select Alarm Details >View.

      The Detailed Alarm Information window appears.

      Note

      Not all fields apply to all network elements. For an explanation of these fields, see BTI7800 Alarm Details.

    2. To copy to clipboard, click Copy.

      You can now paste the alarms details text into another application.

    3. Click OK to close the window.

  4. To suspend alarm notifications, right-click in the Alarms pane title bar and select Suspend Alarm Notifications.

    Alarms continue to be collected in the background but the alarms table and summary bar are not updated with newly-raised alarms, newly-cleared alarms, or newly-acknowledged alarms. The delay timer for existing cleared alarms continues to count down but the cleared alarms remain in the table even after the delay period expires.

    Only after alarm notifications have resumed, either from operator intervention or from configured timeout, are the alarms table and summary bar updated. Newly-raised alarms are now added to the table. Cleared alarms that timed out while alarms were suspended are now removed from the table. Alarms that were cleared while alarms were suspended now change color to green and the delay timer started. Alarms that were acknowledged while alarms were suspended now change color to grey. The counters in the alarms summary bar are now updated accordingly.

  5. To see an alarms summary for individual NEs or network element groups, hover over the element in the navigation pane.

Understanding Alarm Timestamps

The timestamp of an alarm might undergo multiple time zone adjustments by the time the PSM Client displays the alarm to the user. The network element that raises the alarm, the PSM Server that receives the alarm, and the PSM Client that displays the alarm can all be in different time zones. In order to be able to correlate alarms, it is important to understand how PSM performs alarm timestamping.

How the PSM Server Timestamps the Alarms

When an alarm condition occurs, the network element sends a trap to the PSM Server. The server timestamps the alarm based on when the server receives the trap. This timestamp is relative to the server's local time zone. Some network elements include a network element timestamp in the trap. In this situation, the PSM Server uses the network element timestamp (converted to the local server time zone) instead of the time when the server receives the trap.

Note

Some network elements might lose the original alarm timestamp when the network element is rebooted. In this situation, the alarm timestamp shown using the network element's CLI might be different from the timestamp shown on the PSM Server. The PSM Server continues to use the original alarm timestamp.

How the PSM Server Timestamps the Clears

When an alarm condition is cleared, the network element sends a clear trap to the PSM Server. The server timestamps the clear based on when the server receives the clear trap. This timestamp is relative to the server's local time zone. Network elements do not include a network element timestamp in the clear trap, so the PSM Server always uses the time when the clear trap is received.

How the PSM Client Displays Timestamps

The PSM Client converts the timestamp reported by the PSM Server to the client's local time zone. All timestamps displayed by the client are therefore local to the client's time zone.

Working with the Alarms Table

The PSM client displays alarms in table format so you can sort alarms by column, and filter alarms by type.

Sorting the Alarms Table

The alarms table can be sorted in the following ways:

  • To sort the Alarms table by a column, click the column title.

  • To change the order (ascending or descending) of a column, click the column heading until the arrow shows ascending or descending order as desired.

  • To hide a column, right-click any column title and uncheck the column name you want to hide in the drop-down menu. The Network Element/Alarm column cannot be hidden.

  • To show or hide columns in the alarms table, right-click the Alarms Description column header and from the drop-down menu select the columns that you want to show or hide.

Filtering the Alarms Table

The alarms table behaves as follows:

  • If there is no alarm filtering applied, the alarms window title is displayed as "Alarms".

  • If a filter is applied, the title changes to indicate the applied filter, for example "Alarms (Devices - 10.1.103.6)".

  • If the filter description is too long to display completely, the title changes to "Alarms (filtered)".

  • By hovering over the alarms table title bar, a tool tip is displayed listing the applied filter attributes.

  • Each time a new entity or filter is chosen, the previous filtering is cleared and the alarms table displays the alarms that pertain to the chosen criteria.

The alarms table can be filtered in the following ways:

  • From the main menu, choose Tool>Options. Click Display, and then click Alarms and configure the alarm display options as desired.

    See Setting alarm display options for an explanation of these fields

  • To filter the table to show only a particular set of alarms, right-click a cell in the column of the alarms table that has the data you want to filter with, and choose the filter option Show only rows where to filter out (hide) all other entries from the table. In the following screen, the filter chosen is to show only XFP failure alarms.

  • To filter the table to show alarms that pertain only to a particular NE, service, or group, in the tree view right-click the entity and choose Alarms>Filter.

  • To quickly filter alarms based on severity, click a severity in the alarms summary bar to apply a filter for that severity. For example, clicking in the critical alarms section of the summary bar applies a Severity = CRITICAL filter to alarms in the alarms pane.

  • To remove filtering, right-click the alarms table header, and choose Clear Filter from the drop down menu.

    Alternatively, right-click any cell in the alarms table and choose Show only rows where>No Filter.

Using Service/alarm Correlation

PSM provides the capability to view the alarms that pertain to a particular service, or to view the services that are affected by a given alarm.

  • To view the alarms that pertain to a service, in the Service tree view, select the service, right-click a service and choose Alarms>Select. The alarms that pertain to the selected service are highlighted in blue. In the following illustration, there is a single alarm affecting the selected service.

  • To determine the service(s) affected by an alarm, in the Alarms window select the alarm, right-click and choose Select Affected Services.

    The affected service is highlighted in the Services tree.

  • To see an alarm summary for the service, hover over the service name.

    A summary of the number of critical, major, minor, and acknowledged alarms is displayed beneath the service name.

Suspending Alarm Notification

If the network is undergoing a lot of alarm activity, you can suspend changes to the alarms table.

  • To suspend alarm notification, from the main menu click the Suspend Alarm Notifications icon, or, alternatively, right-click the alarms table header, and choose Suspend Alarm Notifications from the drop-down menu. In this case the alarms window title is displayed as "Alarms (Suspended)" and the alarms window does not show any new alarms changes.

  • To resume alarm notification, from the main menu click the Resume Alarm Notifications icon, or, alternatively, right-click the alarms table header, and choose Resume Alarm Notifications from the drop-down menu. The PSM client asks the PSM Server for the latest active alarms list (including alarm clear requests) and updates the alarms window appropriately. The alarms window title changes back to "Alarms".

Understanding the Alarms Summary Bar

The PSM Client displays an alarms summary at the bottom of the window, and in various summary views, color-coded by severity.

Table 1: Alarms Summary Bar

Color

Type

Notes

Red

Critical

The value outside the parentheses represents the current number of outstanding alarms at the indicated severity, and is equivalent to the number of outstanding alarms in the alarms table for that severity. This counter is not resettable.

The value inside the parentheses is an incremental value that represents the difference (or delta) between the current number of outstanding alarms and the number of outstanding alarms when the counter was last reset. A positive value indicates that the number of outstanding alarms has increased. A negative value indicates that the number of outstanding alarms has decreased. This value is not individually resettable, and can only be reset together with the deltas for the other alarms.

Both values are incremented for any alarms retrieved when a new network element is discovered.

Both values are decremented for any alarms removed when a network element is deleted.

Amber

Major

Yellow

Minor

Grey

Acknowledged

The value outside the parentheses represents the current number of acknowledged alarms, and is equivalent to the number of acknowledged alarms in the alarms table. This counter is not resettable.

The value inside the parentheses is an incremental value that represents the difference (or delta) between the current number of acknowledged alarms and the number of acknowledged alarms when the counter was last reset. A positive value indicates that the number of acknowledged alarms has increased. A negative value indicates that the number of acknowledged alarms has decreased (through an operator unacknowledge action). This value is not individually resettable, and can only be reset together with the deltas for the other alarms.

Both values are decremented for any acknowledged alarms removed when a network element is deleted.

Green

Cleared

The value outside the parentheses is an incremental value that represents the difference between the current number of cleared alarms and the number of cleared alarms when the counter was last reset. This number can only increment and cannot decrement. There is no correlation between this value and the number of cleared alarms in the alarms table. Cleared alarms are automatically purged from the alarms table after a configurable time period. This value is individually resettable.

The value inside the parentheses is an incremental value that represents the difference (or delta) between the current number of cleared alarms and the number of cleared alarms when the counter was last reset. This number can only increment and cannot decrement. This value is not individually resettable, and can only be reset together with the deltas for the other alarms.

Both values are unaffected by the addition or deletion of any network elements.

Resetting the Deltas

When you first log in to the PSM server, the delta values (including both cleared alarms counters) are reset to 0. Subsequently, the delta values can be reset as follows:

  • To reset the values inside the parentheses, right-click anywhere in the alarms summary bar or in the Alarms pane title bar and select Reset Summary Deltas. This resets all deltas concurrently.

  • To reset the cleared alarms value outside the parentheses, right-click anywhere in the alarms summary bar or in the Alarms pane title bar and select Reset Clear Summary.

Interpreting the Deltas

The alarms summary provides hints on what is happening in the network. You might need to interpret the summary holistically rather than as independent counters. Table 2 lists general guidelines on how to interpret the summary, and describes some common causes that could precipitate the observed situations. Because other causes are possible, you should investigate further to confirm what is indeed transpiring.

Table 2: Interpreting the Alarms Summary

Observed situation

Might indicate ...

High critical/major/minor alarms delta, high cleared alarms delta

Flapping port or frequent intermittent failure and restoration, together with a failure of a shared component, network element, or link.

High critical/major/minor alarms delta, low cleared alarms delta

Failure of a shared component, network element, or link.

Low critical/major/minor alarms delta, high cleared alarms delta

Flapping port or frequent intermittent failure and restoration.

Low critical/major/minor alarms delta, low cleared alarms delta

No change.

High (negative) critical/major/minor alarms delta, high cleared alarms delta

Restoration of a shared component, network element, or link, and a possible flapping port or frequent intermittent failure and restoration.

Filtering Based on Alarm Severity

The alarms summary bar provides a quick way to filter alarms based on alarm severity. Simply click on a severity to apply a filter for that severity. For example, clicking in the critical alarms section of the summary bar applies a Severity = CRITICAL filter to alarms in the alarms pane.