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Welcome to the Smart Call Home Community!

Our online forum for Smart Call Home customers to share, learn, and collaborate on Smart Call Home related topics. We encourage you to ask questions of Cisco experts, start a discussion, or share ideas and insight.

Smart Call Home enabled devices perform proactive diagnostics on their own components to provide real-time alerts and remediation advice when an issue is detected. An embedded support feature available on a broad range of Cisco products, it is provided at no additional cost with an active Smart Net Total Care Service, SP Base, Unified Computing Support Service, or Mission Critical Support Service contract for the designated products.

This Community will provide you with an overview about Cisco Smart Call Home features and how these features are embedded in a wide range of Cisco products to help your network. Smart Call Home provides higher network availability and support service quality.

Smart Call Home Blogs

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TG
Once message is triggered from the device, it will go to TEMP folder in T.G initially and then to NEW folder. If this message is processed then it goes to the CURRENT folder (it means messages are processed successfully).  Please check these things when message from the device is triggered (based on current date and time)

C:\Program Files\Cisco Connectivity Transport Gateway 3.5\CSCOSchtg\tg\resources\Httpmsgstore

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Cisco Live! San Francisco ended May 22nd, but the sessions are available in the Cisco Live on-demand library. Want to know more about Smart Call Home? See a demo of a live device configuration for Smart Call Home? Watch this one-hour webcast from Cisco Live! - Smart Call Home Overview.
 

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Call Home enabled devices using the direct HTTP(S) transport and the optional Transport Gateway proxy server communicate with Cisco's Smart Call Home at this address: https://tools.cisco.com/its/service/oddce/services/DDCEService.

When configuring outbound rules in your firewall to allow Call Home traffic, please allow both the primary and secondary sites for Smart Call Home.

tools1.cisco.com 72.163.4.38

tools2.cisco.com 173.37.145.8

 

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Call Home on UCS uses the SMTP protocol to deliver messages to Cisco Smart Call Home servers for analysis.  This should not be confused with Smart Call Home notifications, which are sent from the Smart Call Home servers back to the customer's designated email contact.

When configuring Call Home on UCS, DO NOT add a real user’s email address to the CiscoTAC-1 profile.  This will cause the device to send many unfiltered  XML messages directly to that user.

The Cisco-TAC1 profile should contain the email address of either callhome@cisco.com or a dedicated email address that is monitored by a Transport Gateway.  In the example below, Call Home is configured to send directly to Cisco at callhome@cisco.com.

destination email.PNG

Refer to the quick start guide for UCS in the Smart Call Home support community for more information:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/switches/lan/smart_call_home/QuickStart_UCS.pdf

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Planning to attend Cisco Live? Stop by the Cisco Services booth in the Cisco World of Solutions to speak with our technical experts, watch a demo, and learn more about Smart Call Home. Our Technical Marketing Engineer, Bryan Williams, will present a technical breakout session about Smart Call Home on Wednesday January 29 from 2:30 until 4:00 p.m. Be sure to register for the session (BRKNMS-1039 Cisco Smart Call Home and Smart Net Total Care: Proactive Automated Support for the Internet of Things). Hope to see you there!

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You might have noticed that the Device Report, Registration Summary Report, and Call Home History Report may reflect different devices and different numbers of devices. This is because they each have a different purpose.

Devices show up on the Device Report if an inventory or configuration message has been sent from the device to Smart Call Home. Typically this is done during the initial configuration, provided instructions in the Quick Start Guide we followed the device was initially configured. If no inventory or configuration message was ever sent from the device to the Smart Call Home backend, then the device will not appear in the Device Report.

Devices listed in the Registration Summary Report are those devices that have been successfully registered with Smart Call Home.

Devices listed in the Call Home History Report are those devices that have experienced an issue and a fault message from the device was sent to the Smart Call Home backend. If the device experiences a fault, it will be in the Call Home History Report, but not necessarily in the Device Report.

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Planning to attend Cisco Live? Stop by the Cisco Services booth in the Cisco Main Campus/World of Solutions to speak with our technical experts, watch a demo, and learn more about Smart Call Home. Our Technical Marketing Engineer, Bryan Williams, will present a technical breakout session about Smart Call Home on Wednesday June 26 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Be sure to register for the session (BRKARC-4921 How Do You Automate Support for the Internet of Things? Cisco Smart Call Home Has An Answer). Hope to see you there!

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One of the ways that Smart Call Home helps customers identify and resolve problems faster is by automating interactions with TAC.  Call Home automatically uploads items that are frequently required by TAC to resolve issues, including the saved and running configurations.

To limit privacy or compliance issues, the configuration upload feature is optional and turned off by default.  When enabled, Call Home masks any sensitive data not relevant to the support process.  Data is masked in the device so that it never traverses the LAN or the Internet.  Masked data includes usernames, passwords, and community strings.  The following is an example of the masked items from a device in my lab:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

enable password 7 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

!

call-home

data-privacy level normal

profile "CiscoTAC-1"

  destination transport-method http

  no destination transport-method email

  destination address email XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  destination address http XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

profile "CiscoTAC-2"

  destination transport-method http

  no destination transport-method email

  destination address http XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

!

cwmp agent

management server username XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

!

username XXXXXXXX privilege 15 secret 5 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

username XXXXXXXX privilege 15 password 7 XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

snmp-server community XXXXXXXX v1default RO

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Call Home version 2, which is currently available in the ISR G2 running 15.2(2)T and above, adds the option to mask the IP Address and Hostname.  Note that masking the hostname may cause some Smart Call Home processing rules to fail, so it is only recommended in environments that absolutely require this degree of privacy.

The new options in call home are:

Data-privacy level high

Data-privacy hostname

Combined, they mask these additional items in our sample config:

hostname XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

!

ip domain name XXXXXXXXX

!

interface GigabitEthernet0/0

ip address XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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How does Smart Call Home compare to a traditional Network Management System (NMS)? Simply put, it doesn't—because Smart Call Home is not an NMS.

A typical network management system tracks the state of your multi-vendor network and alerts administrators when any event, known or unknown, threatens to interrupt your business. Whether commercial or open source, an NMS requires an investment in resources to install and configure to match your network and business priorities.

While Smart Call Home shares some characteristics of an NMS, the goal and the implementation are different. Smart Call Home helps detect and resolve known errors faster and with less effort by automating support. Smart Call Home is included with the Cisco service contract you probably already own, so no additional purchase or license is required. Call Home is a feature in your device that is installed with a supported operating system, so there is nothing to install; it is enabled with a few entries in the configuration. While you have considerable control over the data you send to Cisco, we provide reasonable default values so there is no need to tune Smart Call Home to match your environment.  

How does Smart Call Home automate support and save time and effort?

Detects critical problems faster

Cisco has instrumented Call Home to detect, and Smart Call Home to analyze the most critical known errors. It is our goal to make sure that every notification sent to you and to TAC is critical and immediately actionable. And because Smart Call Home is a feature embedded in the device with access to all of the diagnostic and health information available, it can often detect signs of a known error sooner than an external system.

Analysis and recommendations

Faults are typically cryptic. There are many resources an administrator can use to decipher a fault, including Cisco documentation, the error message decoder, and support forums. Smart Call Home automatically looks up every fault using those sources as well as unique intellectual capital built into the backend service to determine what the fault means, what the impact might be, and recommended steps to troubleshoot and resolve the known error.

Actionable notifications

For a set of faults that are deemed critical, Smart Call Home sends a notification email to you that includes Cisco's analysis and recommendations. Critical faults are determined by the engineers who create the product, the Advanced Services engineers who deploy the product, the TAC engineers who support the product, and feedback from customers.

Automatic TAC case creation

When it’s known that TAC is required to resolve a known error, Smart Call Home automatically raises a case on your behalf. When you receive a notification referencing a support case, there is no need to find your serial number and contract and call us—TAC is already on it.

Automatic case routing

Want to skip level one support? Smart Call Home registered devices are pre-entitled and SCH messages are pre-classified, so your support case goes straight to the team that can evaluate and solve the problem.

Automated diagnostics, inventory, and configuration

When Smart Call Home detects an eligible event, it runs a pre-determined set of diagnostic commands. The outputs from these commands are sent to TAC along with the fault, which means TAC automatically has diagnostics following each occurrence of the fault. Additionally, Smart Call Home can periodically upload configuration and inventory messages. With all of this data, TAC can start working problems sooner and you spend less time running and uploading diagnostics.

Miscellaneous automation

Depending on the platform, SCH contains other support automations to help you and TAC to troubleshoot more efficiently. Examples include crash analysis, telemetry, End-of-Life and End-of-Sale advisories, PSIRT lookup, and configuration sanity checks.

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Every Call Home capable device has one built-in profile, CiscoTAC-1, which provides reasonable default values for Call Home's many options and makes Smart Call Home easy to configure and activate.

You have the option to disable the default profile and create one or more custom profiles.  Reasons to do this include:

  • Transport Gateway - On IOS based platforms it is possible to change the transport type but not the destination in the default profile.  You must create a custom profile to use a Transport Gateway on these devices.

  • Alert group subscription - Call Home makes it easy to customize the data that you send back to Cisco.  To do so, create a custom profile and specify your own alert-group subscriptions.  You can choose to exclude a group altogether, or adjust the coverage within the group either by severity or schedule.

  • Copy yourself - Some customers choose to send a notification directly to their inbox in addition to activating Smart Call Home.  With a custom profile, customers can choose to send more or less alerts than Smart Call Home does using the default profile. Customers can choose either the full-text format suitable for an email client or short-text format suitable for mobile devices.  Note that the resulting notifications will be missing the analysis and recommendations provided by Smart Call Home; that information is available in the Smart Call Home portal.  Also note that Smart  Call Home will accept XML formatted messages only, so please do not create a text based profile that forwards messages to Smart Call Home.

Tech Insights:Use the IOS Call-Home Feature to Send CLI Output to Email Destinations and to Cisco TAC Service Requests

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A key value of Smart Call Home is its ability to reduce the flood of cryptic syslog, environmental, and diagnostic alerts that an administrator normally receives, to actionable email notifications containing analysis and recommendations for only the most critical events.

But fault notifications are not the entire story.  Smart Call Home also sends emails related to the service.  Examples include emails confirming inventory, configuration, and registration messages.

Recently, we've heard loud and clear from you that Smart Call Home sends too many of these non-fault email notifications.  We are evaluating every possible message to make sure that every email is relevant and actionable.  To that end, we recently suppressed several email notifications that fail that criteria. They include:

Company_marget_segment_name

Company_erp_party_id

Company_name

Company_state

We hope this will alleviate some of the extraneous emails you’ve been receiving. Thanks for your patience!

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As stated in our previous blog post, we were actively developing support for the Cisco UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnect and the Cisco 6296 Fabric Interconnect. We are pleased to announce that the Cisco UCS 6248 is now fully supported by Smart Call Home.  We are continuing development on the Cisco UCS 6296.

On Wednesday July 25, we released a minor update to the Smart Call Home servers at Cisco.  The update extends the troubleshooting and analysis logic already in place for the Cisco UCS 6100 Fabric Interconnect to support the Cisco UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnect

Support for the Cisco UCS 6248 includes:

  • Environmental, fault, and log messages are analyzed using intellectual capital from TAC and the support community
  • Analysis and recommendations are provided in the Smart Call Home portal
  • Email notifications contain a description of the problem and a link to Smart Call Home portal
  • Smart Call Home automatically raises a case with TAC for the most critical events

If you have already registered a Cisco UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnect with Smart Call Home, no action is required to take advantage of this new support.

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Smart Call Home currently supports the Cisco UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnect. We are actively developing support for the Cisco UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnect, and support for the Cisco UCS 6296 Fabric Interconnect will follow.  I will post here when that support is complete and we will update the supported products table at http://www.cisco.com/go/smartcall.

The Call Home feature embedded in your Cisco UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnect is completely functional. However, the parsing and diagnostic rules hosted at Cisco must be updated to support this new model. 

If you are prepared to enable Call Home for a UCS domain managed by the Cisco UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnect, please proceed.  Registration will succeed and no further action will be required once full support is delivered.

If you choose to register a Cisco UCS 6248 Fabric Interconnect before full support is delivered, here is what you can expect:

  • Inventory messages are processed and registration is successful

  • Environmental, fault, and log messages are received, but no diagnostic and parsing rules are applied
  • Notifications are sent, but indicate that a parsing error occurred
  • Messages are posted to the Smart Call Home portal with no diagnosis or recommendation
  • Support cases are not automatically created

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Recently a customer asked, "How is the remediation advice from Smart Call Home different from that provided by the Error Message Decoder on Cisco.com?"

Using the Error Message Decoder, an administrator can manually post a syslog message and receive a description of the error and recommendation. The tool may also include references to related documentation or recommend that the customer contact TAC for assistance.

Smart Call Home automatically evaluates syslog messages sent by the device. For a select set of critical syslog messages, Smart Call Home will automatically parse and evaluate the message and deliver the result to the administrator via email. When processing syslogs, Smart Call Home has the following advantages:

  • The alert description has been expanded by a dedicated team of Smart Call Home engineers to include a more detailed description of the alert, including the impact to the device.
  • In many cases, the Error Message Decoder suggests to contact the TAC and provide more information to solve the problem. The Smart Call Home intellectual capital (IC) provides step-by-step instructions on how to solve the issue. For the most critical messages, Smart Call Home will automatically raise a case with TAC.
  • Smart Call Home also looks at multiple syslog messages within the device to determine if there are correlations to better diagnose the problem.

Smart Call Home has these additional benefits beyond the scope of the  Error Message Decoder:

  • Smart Call Home automatically identifies the most critical events.
  • Smart Call Home derives the health of the device using multiple sources including syslog, GOLD Diagnostics, and environmental data.
  • Smart Call Home includes additional diagnostic and log data with each fault to improve fault analysis and reduce the data required from the customer.
  • Smart Call Home can identify field notices, security vulnerabilities, and make configuration recommendations based on optional periodic inventory and configuration uploads.
  • All data sent to Smart Call Home is available on the Smart Call Home portal for troubleshooting and trend analysis.



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As the Technical Marketing Engineer (TME) for Smart Call Home, I'm often asked how Smart Call Home compares to the traditional network management systems (NMS) that most Smart Call Home adopters already have (in fact, they need both and we'll get to that in a future post). Lately, I've heard that customers’ IT support staff are losing confidence in Smart Call Home because it is very quiet once enabled. So I thought I would share a little insight based on my years installing network management systems in my own datacenters and carrying the on-call pager.

Traditional NMS systems typically focus on breadth of coverage rather than depth of coverage. The result of limited depth of coverage, in terms of fault management, is that a traditional NMS tends to be quite noisy. Over time, support staff may come to think of the steady stream of false alarms as a kind of heartbeat. When things get “too quiet" they start looking for trouble, starting with the NMS itself.

One of the ways that a support staff will test a potentially failed (or prove a new) NMS is to intentionally break something and wait for the pager to start buzzing. This works because traditional NMS are often easily fooled. With limited data available externally, it is difficult to tell the difference between a component that has been intentionally disconnected and one that has truly failed.

Smart Call Home is different by design. It is embedded deep in the device where it can efficiently access accurate diagnostic and environmental information. Its parsing rules and recommendations are gleaned from Cisco's support community and TAC cases. When Smart Call Home does raise an alarm and/or a service request, the alarm and severity will be accurate and the next action will be clear. After all, TAC is also a consumer of data reported by Smart Call Home, so accuracy impacts Cisco as well.

So when you panic because Smart Call Home seems "too quiet," remember that quiet can be a good thing.

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