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OTRS 2.2.2 Virtual Appliance Ready: upgraded with ITSM modules!

Quick news:

I've just finished making the "OTRS 2.2.2 (Ipanema) with ITSM 1.0.2 Modules" Virtual Appliance. I will upgrade this soon to the download server. A quick look at the features of this virtual appliance:

  • OS : Centos 4.5 Server(equivalent to Redhat 4.5), OTRS version: 2.2.2, ITSM packages: 1.0.2
  • Production Ready! (supports ESX 3.x version)
  • OS : Centos 4.5 Server(equivalent to Redhat 4.5)
  • Test and Evaluation ready (as always)
  • Compatibility across wide range of VMware products: ACE 2.x, Fusion 1.x, Server 1.x, Workstation 5.x, Workstation 6.x
  • Full support and production engagement available (for Virtual Infrastructure, our OTRS friends will handle on your functional needs)
  • Supporting Avastu and OTRS docs for test and deployment

What is OTRS:

OTRS is an Open source Ticket Request System (also well known as trouble ticket system) with many features to manage customer telephone calls and e-mails. The system is built to allow your support, sales, pre-sales, billing, internal IT, helpdesk, etc. department to react quickly to inbound inquiries.

Whats new in OTRS 2.2.2:

  • Support of Services and SLAs: As major step towards IT Servicemanagement OTRS 2.2 brings in the new attributes 'Service' and 'Service Level Agreements (SLA)'. While creating a new ticket a service requester has to select both a service (e. g. email-service) and a related SLA . SLA attributes are "response time", "update time" and "solution time". These attributes are used by the IT Service Organization for notification and escalation purposes in order to keep the agreed SLA. Service- and SLA-related informations within incoming email headers might also be used by the Postmaster-Filter as already known before.

  • Support of native ticket types: Ticket types can now be managed over the admin interface. You do not longer need to use ticket free text field for this purpose. Installations which already use a ticket free text field for ticket type classification do not need to migrate. This feature will also be shown in zoom and print view for agents and customers and can be changed via the agent interface.

  • Support of multiple authentication backends: Added support of multi authentication feature for agent and customer backend. By using this feature it is now possible to use multiple trusted authentication sources (i.e. use LDAP as a first source for authentification and in case of an unsuccessful authentification try a SQL DB as a second source).

  • Support of different password crypt types: Supported and permitted password authentication types for agent and/or customer login are:

    • unix_crypt()

    • md5()

    • plain()

    Default is 'unix_crypt()'. The administrator can easily switch from unix_crypt() to md5() on the fly by changing the related configuration parameter.

  • Changed OTRS internal CustomerUser structure: Customer datas (CustomerUser) are restructured and split into the objects "CustomerCompany" and "CustomerUser" within the internal OTRS database. Company related attributes like company name and address will be managed separately from those attributes related to a single contact (e.g. prename, surname, phone etc.).

    This information will be shown in zoom and print like the current customer info.

  • Enhanced OPM-Format: OPM Packages are now delivered with an additional online help. The introducing page will inform the user about new features and will also give a short overview about the next steps to do after having installed the packages.

  • PostMaster-Admin-Interface: The improvement has lead to a more detailled definition of those email adresses which have to be matched by PostMaster filter.

  • SysConfig Improvement: A quicker page view and page saving leads to essential time savings during configuration process.

What is ITSM:

IT Service Management (ITSM) is a discipline for managing large-scale information technology (IT) systems, philosophically centered on the customer's perspective of IT's contribution to the business. ITSM stands in deliberate contrast to technology-centered approaches to IT management and business interaction. The following represents a characteristic statement from the ITSM literature:
What's new in ITSM 1.0.2 (Whitehaven Beach):

OTRS::ITSM 1.0 offers:

  • ITIL compliant representation of "service support" processes

    • incident management,

    • problem management and

    • configuration management

  • an integrated, individually extensible configuration management database (CMDB)

  • ITIL compliant names for new functions and functions contained in previous OTRS versions

  • ITIL compliant role, responsibility and permission model

  • cross-process communication management: within the IT service organization, with customers/users/management and suppliers/providers

  • flexible stats functions for (trend) analyses; reporting, planning and controlling based on performance figures

  • flexible configuration, customization and upgrade to meet individual requirements

Configuration management & integrated CMDB:

OTRS::ITSM is based on an integrated configuration management data base (CMDB), which serves as the fundament for the comprehensive control of the service management processes. It represents the configuration items (CI), their complex relationships and interdependencies with each other and with other components of the service chain.

  • Comprehensive recording and management of ITSM relevant configuration items (CIs) such as computers, hardware, software, networks, documents and services, SLAs and organizational structures.

  • Illustration of the IT service catalog and agreements in force (SLA, OLA, UC)

  • Recording, management and illustration of technical and service related relationships and interdependences among CMDB data, e.g. a service with all necessary, alternative or relevant CIs

  • Management of historic, current and future CI states, e.g. for problem diagnosis, server maintenance or planned changes

  • Analysis of the potential impact of service failures or configuration changes

  • Display of virtualized IT infrastructures, e.g. server / memory virtualization

  • Software license management, e.g. licenses available / in use (third party products required)

  • Chronological life cycle management for CIs, from acquisition to disposal

  • Reporting of all configuration changes performed on CMDB data

  • Interface to company directories (e.g. LDAP, eDirectory, Active Directory)

Incident management:

  • Comprehensive support of IT service support organization processes with incident recording, classification, prioritization, direct help (1st level support), diagnosis, coordination (2nd/3rd level support, external partners etc.), service recovery, resolution, closure and documentation

  • Incidents and service requests can be recorded quickly and intuitively by service desk staff and users (web self-service)

  • Rule-based ticket generation and/or notification, e.g. in interaction with IT monitoring systems

  • Classification and prioritization options (priority, impact, urgency)

  • Complete CMDB coverage, e.g. services affected by the incident, configuration items concerned, FAQ database, link-up between tickets and CIs for analyses and reporting

  • (Automatic) recording of "articles" for tickets (activity record)

  • Constant monitoring and evaluation of the ticket processing progress

  • complete integration of OTRS role, group and queue mechanisms for incident ticket allocation, tracking, escalation and interpretation

  • Provision and storage of relevant time data, e.g. for service level management

  • practical ticket handling (merge, split), allows to merge similar incidents and/or split complicated ones

  • planning, proactive control and monitoring of service request activities (work packages, work plans, service lead times, due dates)

  • generation and tracking of problem tickets from incidents

Problem management:

  • comprehensive support of IT organization processes in problem identification, recording, classification, prioritization, problem origin diagnosis, resolution coordination, e.g. workaround or request for change, closure and documentation

  • provision of relevant information for subprocesses

    • problem control (trouble-shooting),

    • error control (error processing),

    • proactive problem management (e.g. ticket trend analyses) and

    • management information (on incidents, problems and known errors)

  • current/historic incidents, knowledge base (FAQs) and CMDB are constantly available

  • complete integration of OTRS role, group and queue mechanisms to allocate, track, escalate and evaluate incident tickets

  • systematic automated notifications on the problem resolution progress for users (user groups) concerned or the management

  • incident management receives ready signal for resolved problems

Tickets are central information containers for IT service process management: They transport multiple possible underlying data such as:

  • persons, organizations

  • time stamp

  • priority, impact, severity

  • associations to IT service catalog and projects

  • activities, e.g. note about a call with time accounting

  • objects, e.g. CIs, including relations

  • (sub)tickets, e.g. a problem with the underlying incidents

  • notes and attachments, e.g. scanned service request forms

  • work packages, i.e. planned, allocated tasks

  • SLA information

  • thresholds and escalation data

  • ticket history (all changes)

  • accounting information (time accounting).

You have got to be nuts to ignore this beautiful baby and go out and pay tons of cash on proprietary tools! Go ahead, download it from VMware's Virtual Appliance marketplace and test it. When you decide you push it to production, we will assist you in getting your virtual infrastructure ready for this fantastic tool. You are virtualizing, right?


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