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The Network Operations Workbench is a client/server based system that provides system management functions for both ATM Help Desk users as well as Tandem Systems Operation staff.  The major features of NOW are:
Configuration Management for ATMs, Branches, and Servicers
Online Network and System Status Information
Automated and Manual Incident Management
Command and Control through Base24's ONCI facility
ATM Graphic File Administration and Distribution
Security Access, Administration, and Auditing
The NOW presentation layer provides a graphic user interface implemented using Visual Basic and executing on a Microsoft NT environment. Standard Windows interfaces are supported with either mouse clicks or keyboard interaction.  NOW takes advantage of various graphical features such as icons, pull down menus, radio buttons, and slide bars. Navigation is quick and easy using the active task list feature, cascading, or paneling.
Services are provided by a set of Tandem-based server classes that access NonStop SQL databases.  Database integrity is provided by Tandem's TMF.  The servers are defined and managed through Tandem's Pathway facility.  Connectivity between client and server is implemented using RSC with transport options of TCP/IP, ASYNC, or X.25.
NOW is currently used to manage a network of over 5000 ATMs driven by 20 Resource Nodes resident on two geographically distributed Tandem nodes.  Users of the system are geographically disperse and connected via a router network. The system is operated by a staff of less than 20 Help Desk personnel. Over 80% of all problems are automatically dispatched and repaired within 15 minutes. Overall availability of the ATM network is over 99.5% during prime time.

Interfaces to Base24

Three major interfaces to the Base24-atm and Base24-pos systems:
EMS Events
ONCI Commands
Base24 Configuration
Events generated by Base24 and Tandem subsystems are forwarded to NOW through EMS Distributors. The NOW event consumer processes manage their EMS distributors and their filters.  These event consumers, called Event Managers, are configured as server classes and are associated to specific EMS Collectors.  The Event Manager applies user-defined rules that determine what NOW processing is necessary for each event. The event can be logged to a history table, forwarded to an online Status Manager, forwarded to an automated Incident Manager, or be used as a trigger for automated operations.
NOW has implemented a command and control facility to manage Base24 objects through ACI's Open Network Command Interface (ONCI).  By formatting command messages according to the ONCI structure and forwarding those messages to the Base24 command interface, NOW provides a programmatic management interface to all Base24 objects. While not required, additional NOW-defined enhancements (RPQs) to the Base24 Device Handler will provide more robust command and control features.  NOW also supports command and control interfaces to Tandem objects using SPI and to InSession's ICE product.
The NOW database can be maintained in two different modes.  Using the NOW database as the "database of record",  users can define objects through the NOW client.  Alternatively, a "discovery" server can be implemented to maintain objects as they are defined to the native systems.  During implementation, NOW installation programs extract data from the Base24 Network Environment Files (NEFs) and construct a database containing object names, attributes, and relationships. User defined names as well as Base24 symbolic names are supported. When ATMs are modified, ADAM's configuration management service coordinates database changes with changes sent as commands to the ONCI and updates to the TDF.

Event Rules Management

The core of the NOW event management services is the Event Rule table.  Each event that can be consumed by NOW has an entry in the table that defines how NOW should treat the event.  Event Rules specify a variety of system actions such as status changes (e.g., up/down, open/closed), incident actions (e.g., open, dispatch, arrival, close, reopen), history log indicator, incident threshold values and automated operations indicator.  The Event Rule table also defines the category or class of the incident (e.g., cash drawer, depository, communications), when to start counting down time (e.g., now, at repair arrival), the incident cause and resolution. The user can view or modify the contents of this table through the Rule Server

Incident Management

Based on the contents of the Event Rule table, incidents can be opened, dispatched to a servicer, change state, or close, all automatically.  Depending on the category of the incident and the time of day, NOW determines which servicer to contact. Each servicer type has an associated dispatch type - either automatically or manually through notification to the NOW operator.  Each category of incident has an associated close type - automatic, service, or manual. This allows the user to control automatic closing (used for communications outages), servicer-oriented closing (used for supply outages), or manual closing.  Incident categories also specify escalation times - short for branch supply functions, longer for communications outages.
Incidents can be opened and closed manually as well. The user can override automatic disposition of incidents, add comments, dispatch servicers and reopen closed incidents. If there are no incidents open on an object, NOW creates a new incident. If additional events occur that affect another aspect of the object, a subincident is created and attached to the initial incident.  Users can also open subincidents on open problems. In order to avoid ownership conflicts, any modifications to incidents require users to acquire the incident prior to updating it.
Each incident is displayed with the cause of the problem and the outage times associated with it.  Lists are also displayed that show subincidents, events, dispatches and comments.  The user is also notified if this problem was caused by a parent object such as a line outage.

Status Management

One of the primary screens used by the ATM Help desk users is the Network Status display. This panel applies user-defined search criteria to display the current status of ATMs in the network. The ATM ID, its physical status (open, degraded, closed), its incident status (problem open, late arrival, under repair), the problem code that opened the incident (depository, communications, cash out), and its acquired status. Each ATM is color-coded to show the length of outage. Additional graphic indicators show if an ATM is designated as high visibility or if it is chronically prone to problems. Double-clicking on an instance will navigate the user to the Incident display.
Detail status on a particular ATM is also available. This panel displays the current Base24 status, the cash cassette status, depository status, communication status, and current Incident status. Commands can be executed though pull down menus. ATM group status information can also be retrieved by using Location, Line, or Device Handler search keys.
A System Status display is available for Tandem operations staff. This panel shows the status of Resource Nodes, Satellite processes, Communications lines, and SNA or ICE sessions. The user can specify a monitoring threshold value that will change the various objects' color from green to yellow to red based on outages exceeding the defined percentage.  Stand-in rates and Denial Rates are supported using a Base24 Auth/Rauth RPQ.  Double-clicking on any of the objects will present the open incidents for that object type.

Configuration Management

NOW provides comprehensive configuration management facilities.  The normalized SQL database supports a set of objects that are managed by the system.  ATMs, Lines, Processes, Resource Nodes, Logical Networks, Host Systems and Data Centers are some of the supported objects.  A names feature allows each object to have a variety of aliases.  This feature allows the user to name ATMs independently of the Base24 symbolic names or to assign circuit IDs to Tandem ports.  Users are able to maintain information about ATMs, Locations, and Service Contacts. As mentioned above, changes that affect Base24 attributes can be forwarded through ONCI or applied to TDF. Database integrity is provided through Tandem's TMF.
All changes to the configuration database can optionally be maintained on a disaster recovery database at an alternate site. In case of a primary site failure, all configuration data is available and up-to-date on the alternate site.
A flexible adhoc query interface supports user access to the SQL database.  Output can be presented on the screen or stored in a PC file.  Queries can be saved for use a later times.

Command and Control

Users issue commands to ATMs via pull down menus. If the user has highlighted an ATM on the Network Status display or is viewing the Detail Status screen, the target ATM name is provided by the system. The ATM commands currently provided by NOW are start, stop, open, close, reset, and load. Load can either be issued by screen number or as a complete load image. All of the commands can be issued either individually, or by using a group name. The groups currently supported are by line, by location, by Device Handler, or by Data Center.  User defined groups are planned for the future.
Command and control has been implemented as a performance sensitive feature. A Router server receives the user request and determines the target set of Resource Nodes for any particular command. The Command servers then forward the commands to their associated target Resource node and, if necessary, to their communication subsystems.  The Command servers are nowaited and multithreaded so that multiple commands can be issued concurrently.  Tuning features are built in to enhance the processing of commands without flooding the target resource node.  These features ensure that network start up or mass image loads are accomplished as rapidly as possible.
Additional features are available that enhance the management of the ATM network.  Users need not understand that an ATM must be started before it can be opened.  NOW supports composite commands so that the user must only issue a command for the desired end state.  NOW will determine if the ATM comm interface must be started and automatically start it before the Base24 open is sent.  With minor enhancements (RPQs) to the Device Handler, additional management and performance features are possible. In particular, the desired state facility is of great value. Whether or not the ATM is in communication, NOW will remember the state requested by the user and issue the appropriate commands whenever communications is reestablished.
This above feature is valuable for high risk ATMs. The user may designate hours of operation for an ATM so that is must be down during certain times of the day.  NOW provides a server that examines the database, issues the appropriate command to close or open the high risk ATM, and then reschedules itself for the next action.


NOW provides a large set of security features that protect the system.  All access to NOW requires a user ID and password. This password must be changed on a frequency defined by the security administrator.  Old passwords are kept and the user may not use any of the previous ten passwords.  Each user has a security profile assigned by the security administrator.  This profile specifies the functions that are accessible by any user.  The icons for prohibited subsystems are not displayed to unauthorized users.  Certain functions such as sensitive commands require reentry of passwords before the command is executed.  Super sensitive commands such as stop by Data Center require a second authorized user password.
Repeated, failed attempts to logon will disable that user until overridden by the security administrator.  The administrator can block access by a user as well as reset a user's password.  If a password has been reset, the user must immediately change the password.  NOW does not allow users to logon at multiple terminals simultaneously. If they attempt this, NOW will automatically log them off at their previous terminal. Inactivity at the terminal will also cause an auto-logoff.
In addition to access control, NOW provides auditing features. All configuration changes log a before and after image of the change. All security functions such as logon, password change, or administrative function is logged to an encrypted security log. All ATM commands are logged. A security report is available to format and print audited security actions.


Many of the tables within NOW store historical data that must be periodically removed from the system to avoid disk space problems and performance impacts. Three sets of tables are supported by batch programs that provide these housekeeping functions.
The Event Archive server uses a user-defined retention value to remove rows from the Event History table.  Based on a user parameter, these aged history rows can be either archived to an Enscribe file for backup or they can simply be deleted.  The Incident Archive server provides the same features for the Incident database.  This involves removing aged incidents, subincidents, dispatches, and comments from the database.  Out of date User information within the Security database is also removed using the same controls.

External Interfaces

In addition to the interfaces to Base24, Tandem, Insession and to the client workstation, NOW supports two major external interfaces:
Automated Dispatch
Incident Reporting Extracts
NOW dispatches repair staff based on the time of day, the type of problem, and the supported interface.  Manually dispatched problems alert the ATM Help Desk staff who then contact the servicer.  Automatic dispatching is provided through the use of the COMENSA product.  This is an ASYNC-connected workstation that uses the information provided by NOW to automatically call and deliver repair instructions. Adding an alternative interface such as a FAX is readily supported.  For users that currently use GASPER, NOW can forward events for dispatching.
While NOW maintains a comprehensive online SQL database of incidents and history, currently there are no reports that provide availability calculations.  The incident information is extracted from the database and transmitted to an external system. We will be happy to provide integration services from NOW to your current facility or develop reports based on the NOW incident database.
For more information about NOW, please contact: