Simplify and Accelerate Problem Resolution with Advanced Diagnostics


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Customers and service providers alike are struggling to keep costs down while supporting initiatives like Bring your own Device (BYOD). Advanced tools are needed to add new levels of serviceability and outpace the services demand. Avaya, which has long been a leader in the development of automated remote diagnostic service capabilities, is once again leading the way with a new generation of solutions designed to simplify and accelerate problem resolution.

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Simplify and Accelerate Problem Resolution with Advanced Diagnostics

  1. 1. Introduction The transformation taking place today in enterprise communications networks requires a corresponding change in how they are supported and maintained. The dramatic growth in network complexity has made management and maintenance more time-consuming and expensive. Customers and service providers alike are struggling to keep costs down while supporting initiatives like Bring your own Device (BYOD). Advanced tools are needed to add new levels of serviceability and outpace the services demand. Avaya, which has long been a leader in the development of automated remote diagnostic service capabilities, is once again leading the way with a new generation of solutions designed to simplify and accelerate problem resolution. Clients covered by Avaya Support Advantage Preferred have access to two new diagnostic tools: Avaya Diagnostic Server and expanded access to Avaya’s extensive testing and diagnostic routines through the Avaya Diagnostic Portal. Supporting the New Enterprise Network Today’s enterprise communications networks are undergoing more change than at any time in their history. In the past, network value was concentrated in a relatively small core of infrastructure elements (switches, routers) and devices (phones, fax machines, PCs) supporting a limited set of communications capabilities (primarily voice) between a fairly narrow set of locations (office to office.) | 1 White Paper Simplify and Accelerate Problem Resolution with Advanced Diagnostics Table of Contents Supporting the New Enterprise Network........................................... 1 Traditional Service Paradigms...................................... 2 Advanced Remote Diagnostics................................... 3 Changing the Value Equation in Service....................................... 3 Simplicity, Security and Flexibility.......................................4 Next Generation Remote Access: The Avaya Diagnostic Server....................... 5 Empowering Avaya Partners: The Avaya Diagnostic Portal........................ 6 The Future..................................... 6
  2. 2. | 2 Today, none of the above is true. The infrastructure is more distributed. The range of devices more diverse. More people work in more locations, communicating and sharing greater amounts of information across a wider range of formats—voice, text and video—than anyone ever previously thought possible. Mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), SIP and virtualization are all part of the mix. The technology supporting all of this has become increasingly complex as technology stacks grow thicker and increasingly include elements from different suppliers. While previously troubleshooting involved tracing a connection between two end points over a clearly identified set of components, it now requires looking at multiple sessions across different call servers, feature servers, conferencing bridges, and handoffs (none of which necessarily appear as if they are connected) while correlating information from multiple logs with various time stamps. The net result is that problem resolution is more time-consuming and costly: A 2008 Gartner study of overall IT support costs showed few enterprises (less than 10 percent) able to lower their hardware and software support costs, and almost half seeing a significant rise. 1 This is consistent with internal Avaya research showing that over the past decade, the amount of time—normalized for various factors — required to resolve a real-time communications problem has doubled. Traditional Service Paradigms As the service and support challenge intensifies, traditional service paradigms struggle to keep up—and they will continue to do so as communications elements become even more distributed across the core, edge and cloud. On-site Support: A significant portion of service problems are still resolved by sending a technician on-site to physically work on a system. This is costly, both in terms of the impact on the customer due to the elapsed time for resolution and in terms of labor and support expenses. According to the Technology Services Industry Association, a typical truck roll today costs $1,011.172 . 1 Gartner; User Survey Analysis: The Cost of Hardware Support, North America, 2008, December, 2008 2 Technology Services Industry Association, presentation at the Field Service Power Hour - “Slow your Roll” May 6, 2013, Ravi Naidu, Director – Research, Field Services
  3. 3. | 3 Service Desk: Service Desk (a.k.a Help Desk) approaches have eclipsed on-site service as the most common form of support. This can be more cost-effective for the provider, but not always as beneficial for the customer: if a “catch and dispatch” approach is followed—logging the call and passing it on—the elapsed time until resolution can still be significant. Self-service: Web-based self-service solutions have been successful at reducing service costs and accelerating resolution. They have won acceptance in the marketplace from customers who welcome the flexibility and overall cost reduction. Self-service is rapidly evolving with capabilities such as: • Enhanced knowledge bases including text and video-based information • Search engines with intuitive, multilingual search capabilities • Improved incident-status reporting capabilities • Enhanced interaction capabilities such as virtual chat and video • Incident status portals with personalized access • Data mining of incidents (calls, chats, Web forms or e-mails) Avaya has invested significantly in self-service options, for example posting an average of 1,600 knowledge articles to its knowledge base each month. In 2012, customers viewed more than 700 of Avaya’s instructional videos more than 175,000 times. While self-service is very valuable, it is not a panacea for all support situations. Also, it in effect shifts more of the support burden onto customer personnel, leading to inevitable drawbacks (e.g., as companies operate globally, the wide range in technical backgrounds and languages of their employees can make error-identification difficult.) Advanced Remote Diagnostics Traditional service approaches are all reactive and as such can never entirely eliminate the impact of performance disruption. They all tend to reinforce the siloed, tactical, “fix what’s broken” approach that is increasingly ill-equipped to support today’s complex and widely distributed networks.
  4. 4. | 4 The only service delivery method that that can be effectively proactive, while also minimizing both cost issues and human involvement, is automated remote diagnostics. As Gartner notes, “proactive and predictive services that prevent customer pain” are the foundation for the next generation of service delivery.3 Remote diagnostics of enterprise communications have evolved dramatically over the last two decades: from remotely located technicians using data networks to log in and gain administrative access to customer systems to today’s fully-automated Avaya EXPERT SystemsSM Diagnostic Tools. Avaya relies on its EXPERT SystemsSM to detect and resolve more than 600,000 trouble alarms each year, ranging from issues as simple as a power surge or an inadvertent programming error to proactively identifying if trunks or processors are nearing capacity, whether toll fraud occurred, or if there’s danger of a system outage. These EXPERT SystemsSM can also check for software and hardware upgrades, identify password lapses, and even identify “chronic” problems that need resolution before they escalate. Remote technician support, together with Avaya EXPERT SystemsSM , deliver an overall resolution rate of 99% of the alarms on Avaya enterprise communications solutions. Avaya provides access to a range of tools for analyzing system behavior and performance issues across the network. 3 Gartner, Market Trends: Product Support Service Evolution Slows, but Proactive Opportunities Exist Despite Market Conditions, April 2013
  5. 5. | 5 Changing the Value Equation in Service The increasing effectiveness of remote diagnostics is bringing about a change in how the value of service is calculated. Historically, it’s been measured in terms of the speed with which a repair takes place (i.e., response-time metrics such as time-to-respond or time-to-repair). This is still the case, but recent years have seen an increasing emphasis on the value of prevention: stopping problems before they occur. A study conducted by the Data Analysis Research Department of Avaya Labs demonstrated that the process of dealing with remote alarms (via Avaya EXPERT SystemsSM and/or remote technicians,) reduces the risks that can lead to customer outages. The study showed that systems that experienced a major problem had 74% fewer outages when monitored remotely by Avaya. This general effect was detected consistently across all major product groups and software releases. To help customers understand the value of remote diagnostics, Avaya introduced the While You Were Sleeping/EXPERT View® Reports which show the number of alarms and trouble tickets received during a specified timeframe and estimate the cost that a business would have incurred if it had not been protected by remote monitoring and trouble resolution. These reports enable customers to fully comprehend the value of remote monitoring and trouble resolution that is part of their maintenance agreement. Simplicity, Security and Flexibility As the value of remote diagnostics has expanded, the solutions have kept evolving. (See the sidebar, Avaya Remote Diagnostics: Constant Evolution.) For example, Avaya introduced Secure Access Link (SAL), a standardized remote access solution, in response to customer requests for more control over who had access to their system, when this access could take place, and what information was accessible. They also wanted remote access tools that were “channel-agnostic”—making it possible to obtain support from their in-house staff or from preferred partners. Avaya SAL provides controls that enable customers to determine who will provide services to their products and to what degree. Customers may have services provided by Avaya, their own internal support groups, authorized Avaya partners, or any combination thereof.
  6. 6. | 6 In addition, Avaya SAL egress mode provides no inherent mechanism to allow Avaya or any service partner to remotely access customers’ products without the TCP/IP connection first being initiated from customers’ networks. To help customers remain compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) and other industry regulations, all Avaya users are uniquely identified and authenticated. Avaya SAL provides clear, auditable logging of any access attempt, as well as a customer-managed authorization mechanism. Avaya SAL also presents minimal connectivity requirements, as all connections initiated by the SAL Gateway to the service provider use HTTPS, making it possible to tunnel application-layer protocols, such as SSH, from the engineer’s desktop to the products being serviced. Connectivity and installation are simple and secure­—generally requiring no firewall changes on the customer network. Establishing a standardized approach to remote access through Avaya SAL enabled a range of new value-add services such as the Avaya Operations Intelligence Suite and the While You Were Sleeping report. Next Generation Remote Access: The Avaya Diagnostic Server In 2013, Avaya introduced a major enhancement to its remote diagnostic capabilities: the Avaya Diagnostic Server. The Avaya Diagnostic Server, which can be implemented at the client location or a partner location, does everything Avaya SAL does, and much more. For example, now it’s possible to: • Remotely capture direct evidence of system behavior—static screen grabs or even video of the solutions in action—without involving customer personnel. • Remotely implement professional-level packet sniffing—which previously required one more onsite visits—to monitor everything coming in and out of the network interface, pinpointing bottlenecks and diagnosing intermittent quality issues. • Enable system engineers to remotely generate calls between locations, pressing buttons and executing keypad sequences, the way they would if they were physically at the customer’s site.
  7. 7. | 7 • Remotely run stress tests, flooding the customer’s network, to simulate extreme performance situations and measure scalability. In the past, each of these tests would have required multiple truck rolls, special probes, the installation of traffic generator equipment, and/or extensive involvement of customer and support personnel. With the Avaya Diagnostic Server it’s all done remotely. No additional servers are needed beyond the Avaya Diagnostic Server itself, alleviating complex firewall integration. (Many competitive solutions require servers and sniffers to perform these functions, which require time and resourcing.) Avaya clients who now have Avaya SAL can move to the Avaya Diagnostic Server at any time. It’s just a software upgrade, and it’s free. Avaya clients who don’t currently have SAL are entitled to the Avaya Diagnostic Server as part of Avaya Support Advantage Preferred maintenance coverage offer. Embedded Intelligent Agents: A key capability of the Avaya Diagnostic Server is its ability to leverage intelligent agents embedded in Avaya endpoints. These intelligent agents continually collect relevant data and transmit it to the Avaya Diagnostic Server to detect potential problems before they occur. Having the embedded agents and now a service capability specifically designed to accept agent-transmitted information creates a true 1 + 1 = 3 benefit—significantly enhancing the ability to diagnose, analyze, and fix incidents without any human assistance and without compromising the stability of the machine.
  8. 8. | 8 Avaya is focused on extending these diagnostic capabilities across the wide area network, making it possible to analyze performance on each hop— including segments outside of the enterprise perimeter— gaining visibility into all areas that affect voice/video/data quality. These extended capabilities will continue to accelerate troubleshooting, maximize uptime, and further decrease the resources required to pinpoint issues. The Avaya Diagnostic Server, which can be implemented at a client or partner location, does everything the current Secure Access Link Gateway does, and much more. Empowering Avaya Partners: The Avaya Diagnostic Portal Customers have consistently sought service and support options that are channel-agnostic. Avaya has responded by putting more communications and collaboration capabilities in our partners’ hands via Avaya SAL and now the Avaya Diagnostic Server. In 2013 Avaya provided our customers and partners with another powerful tool through the introduction of the Avaya Diagnostic Portal. Developed through experience with thousands of support requests from the Avaya customer base, the portal provides web-based access to a wide range of diagnostic tools and tests that were previously only available to Avaya engineers. Partners (and customers) can gain access to the Avaya Diagnostic Portal via the Avaya Support Website with Support Advantage Preferred. Access to the portal makes it possible to run hundreds of tests (typically in under two minutes) and obtain a report highlighted with simple green, yellow, and red indicators (reducing the time required for discovery, analysis and resolution) and also containing detailed actionable recommendations. DISCOVERY AGENTS ADMINISTRATIONREMOTE CONTROL Help | Welcome: svci | Sign Out Mode: Admin Packet Sniffing Agent(s) added to working set:, Agent Working Set IP / Extn. / MAC Add Agent Remove Start Capture Start Capture Refresh Delete Get All Captures Packet Captures Select Agent IP Extn. Gateway Type Select Agent IPID Start Time Last Update Packet Count File Size (bytes) SLAMON SLAMON 3 06-Jun-2013 05:25:39 06-Jun-2013 05:26:38 22 11582 2 06-Jun-2013 02:32:57 06-Jun-2013 02:33:51 24 13221 1 01-Jun-2013 16:37:28 01-Jun-2013 16:38:21 24 13221 4 06-Jun-2013 05:25:39 06-Jun-2013 05:26:33 16 7998 Items 1 - 2 of 2 Items 1 - 4 of 4
  9. 9. | 9 Avaya Remote Diagnostics: Constant Evolution 1. IP-based Remote Access: The use of modems enabled Avaya professionals to gain the same level of administrative access as if they were locally connected to the product terminal. 2. Avaya EXPERT SystemsSM Diagnostic Tools: Supporting software that could automatically perform regular tasks instead of requiring a technician to log in manually to each product. 3. Advanced Services/Secure Access: Use of IPSec VPNs and a customer-resident management server, the Avaya Secure Intelligent Gateway, to provide advanced features such as patching and software release management. Secure, isolated Enterprise Service Platform data centers were established to contain and control access to the Avaya Secure Intelligent Gateways and constrain access to any customer sensitive data. 4. Enhanced Remote Access: IP-based solutions combined with customer-resident servers, such as Avaya Secure Services Gateways (SSG), to provide remote support capabilities similar to those previously provided by modems, but with the added benefit of higher bandwidth and improved customer control. 5. Channel-neutral Support: Customers can take advantage of self- service, Avaya support, and/or authorized partner support via Avaya Secure Access Link—high speed, secure SSL VPN session solution that integrates the customer and Avaya at the application layer, with advanced policy and audit capabilities. Customers can be in complete control of when and how Avaya, or any other service partner, accesses their equipment. 6. Avaya Operations Intelligence Suite: The Avaya Operations Intelligence Suite is a unified dashboard that improves serviceability with real time system status, reporting, and incident management. With easy access to powerful system reports and tools, The Avaya Operations Intelligence Suite can provide an end-to-end view of network operations, enabling customers to reap the full benefits of their Avaya solutions. 7. Advanced Remote Diagnostics: Avaya introduces the Avaya Diagnostic Server and the Avaya Diagnostic Portal, significantly extending the range of service capabilities that can be performed remotely and/or by customers/partners onsite. 8. Avaya Support Website: Avaya continually adds new capabilities to its support site ( to speed and enhance responses. In 2013, the site underwent a complete redesign introducing a wide range of new features to enable Avaya customers to locate critical information more quickly and also customize the site to their specific needs and solutions.
  10. 10. © 2013 Avaya Inc. All Rights Reserved. All trademarks identified by ®, ™, or SM are registered marks, trademarks, and service marks, respectively, of Avaya Inc. 08/13 • SVC7332 The Future The rapid evolution of enterprise communications networks requires an equally rapid evolution in how they are supported and maintained. Siloed, tactical, “fix what’s broken” reactive service models are ill-equipped for today’s complex, distributed networks. Advanced remote capabilities represent the future—and a major focus of investment by Avaya. While traditional on-site, help desk, and self-service support approaches will always have a role, automated remote diagnostics can promise cost-effective delivery, minimize the disruption to the customer and offers the potential to completely eliminate performance-impacting conditions. Avaya is committing to making best-in-class diagnostics a key differentiator going forward. The introduction of the Avaya Diagnostic Server and Avaya Diagnostic Portal are clear examples of how Avaya is advancing what is state-of-the-art in service and support. Extending these diagnostic capabilities across the WAN will significantly add to their value. Enabling our technicians, our partners, and our customers to diagnose trouble quickly and more intuitively—and then solve the related issues in a very timely manner—will translate into an important cost advantage for Avaya customers. This can have a direct impact on their operating expense budgets, total cost of ownership, and the overall value and performance of their enterprise network. | 10 About Avaya Avaya is a global provider of business collaboration and communications solutions, providing unified communications, contact centers, networking and related services to companies of all sizes around the world. For more information please visit