Friday, March 14, 2008

Introduction to ITM 6.1 Policies

Policies are the "grey area" of ITM. Everyone knows what they are, but only a few really implement them. While there are reasons for not implementing them as your primary event handling mechanism, there are enough reasons for relying on ITM policy automation for some of your simple needs. This articles lists some example scenarios to implement ITM policies.

Policies - A quick look

ITM 6.1 policies provide a simple if-then-else automation and they can be used to take actions based on situations. For example, if most of your event handling involves running a script to take some actions such as sending an email, running a recovery script, etc, you could easily implement it in ITM policies.

When to use them?

Here are some scenarios where you will need to rely on policies.

1) If you don't have framework or planning on moving away from it, then ITM policies might be the way to go.
2) For small environments where the volume of events happening is very low.
3) You could write your scripts to provide necessary logging but policies don't provide explicit event tracking mechanism as such.
4) You have only a small number of situations to manage.
5) All your response actions are very simple and doesn't involve complex event correlations.

Example 1: Sending emails for alerts

To send an email alert for a situation, use the "Wait Until a situation becomes true" activity and "Take Action" activity and connect them using "Situation is true" connector. In the take action, choose "Run a system command" and specify the script that will send email alerts. Make sure that you execute this action at the TEMS or at a specific node where the script will be available by clicking "More options" button.

Example 2: Restarting Windows Services when they go down.

To restart a Windows Service when it goes down, setup a situation to monitor the service and when it goes down and use a similar mechanism like the above except that in the "Take Action" field, use "net start &NT_Services.Service_Name". You can enter the service name by using Attribute substitution button.

Policy Distribution

Once the policy has been created, it need to be distributed to manage systems or managed system lists on whose situations it will have effect on. Click on the distribute check box against the policy name and it will bring up Policy distribution window. This process is similar to situation distribution selection.

Start Policy

The policy will not be effective unless you start the policy. On the other hand, if you would like to disable a policy for a while, you could stop the policy. Make sure that AutoStart attribute is set appropriately so that your policy will take effect during server startups.

There are few more interesting combinations possible with policies, start playing with them and you will never know when they will become handy. Good luck.

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