NOC Internal Integrated Trouble Ticket System Functional Specification Wishlist ("NOC TT REQUIREMENTS")
Network Working Group D. Johnson
Request for Comments: 1297 Merit Network, Inc.
NOC Internal Integrated Trouble Ticket System
Functional Specification Wishlist
("NOC TT REQUIREMENTS")
Status of the Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does
not specify an Internet standard. Distribution of this memo is
Professional quality handling of network problems requires some kind
of problem tracking system, herein referred to as a "trouble ticket"
system. A basic trouble ticket system acts like a hospital chart,
coordinating the work of multiple people who may need to work on the
Once the basic trouble ticket system is in place, however, there are
many extensions that can aid Network Operations efficiency.
Information in the tickets can be used to produce statistical
reports. Operator efficiency and accuracy may be increased by
automating trouble ticket entry with information from the network
Alert system. The Alert system may be used to monitor trouble ticket
progress. Trouble tickets may be also used to communicate network
health information between NOCs, to telcom vendors, and to other
internal sales and engineering audiences.
This document explores competing uses, architectures, and desirable
features of integrated internal trouble ticket systems for Network
and other Operations Centers.
This RFC describes general functions of a Trouble Ticket system that
could be designed for Network Operations Centers. The document is
being distributed to members of the Internet community in order to
stimulate discussions of new production-oriented operator-level
application tools for network operations. Hopefully, this will
result both in more ideas for improving NOC performance, and in more
available tools that incorporate those ideas.
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RFC 1297 NOC TT REQUIREMENTS January 1992
PURPOSES OF A NOC TROUBLE TICKET SYSTEM
A good Network Operations Trouble Ticket System should serve many
1) SHORT-TERM MEMORY AND COMMUNICATION ("Hospital Chart"). The
primary purpose of the trouble ticket system is to act as short-
term memory about specific problems for the NOC as a whole. In a
multi-operator or multi-shift NOC, calls and problem updates come
in without regard to who worked last on a particular problem.
Problems extend over shifts, and problems may be addressed by
several different operators on the same shift. The trouble ticket
(like a hospital chart) provides a complete history of the
problem, so that any operator can come up to speed on a problem
and take the next appropriate step without having to consult with
other operators who are working on something else, or have gone
home, or are on vacation. In single-room NOCs, an operator may
ask out loud if someone else knows about or is working on a
problem, but the system should allow for more formal communication
2) SCHEDULING and WORK ASSIGNMENT. NOCs typically work with many
simultaneous problems with different priorities. An on-line
trouble ticket system can provide real time (or even constantly
displayed and updated) lists of open problems, sorted by priority.
This would allow operators to sort their work at the beginning of
a shift, and to pick their next task during the shift. It also
would allow supervisors and operators to keep track of the current
NOC workload, and to call in and assign additional staff as
It may be useful to allow current priorities of tickets change
according to time of day, or in response to timer alerts.
3) REFERRALS AND DISPATCHING. If the trouble ticket system is
thoroughly enough integrated with a mail system, or if the system
is used by Network Engineers as well as Network Operators, then
some problems can be dispatched simply by placing the appropriate
Engineer or Operator name in an "assigned to" field of the trouble
4) ALARM CLOCK. Typically, most of the time a trouble ticket is
open, it is waiting for something to happen. There should almost
always be a timer associated with every wait. If a ticket is
referred to a phone company, there will be an escalation time
before which the phone company is supposed to call back with an
update on the problem. For tickets referred to remote site
personnel, there may be other more arbitrary timeouts such as
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