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Overview of Smart Call Home and Device Diagnostics - FAQ from Live Webcast
Bryan is a Technical Marketing Engineer in the Technical Services Product Management group at Cisco. He is an expert in the configuration, registration, and operation of Smart Call Home. He has worked at Cisco since 2003, as a solutions architect, IT manager, and IT architect.
Topic covers in the event are: an description of the Smart Call Home and Device Diagnostics offerings. and a detailed overview of the services, discuss deployment options, and answer any questions you might have
The following experts were helping Bryan to answer few of the questions asked during the session: Micki Eubanks, Mieke Frederickx,Casey Holdway, and Anshul Arora. All of the panelists are top experts and have vast knowledge in Smart Call Home.
You can download the slides of the presentation in PDF format here. The related Ask The Expert sessions is available here. The Complete Recording of this live Webcast can be accessed here.
Q. What type of service contract is needed for Smart Call Home?
A. Smart Call Home is available for devices covered by Cisco SMART net, SMART net Total Care, Cisco Unified Computing Support Service, Cisco Unified Computing Mission Critical Support Service and SP Base for Service Providers, and collaborative contracts such as partner support services and Smart Care
Q. Is Smart Care Home automatically extended when the service contracts are renewed?
A. Yes, the Smart Call Home feature is always available for any device covered by an active supported contract. 2
Q. If you do not renew a contract but continue to have Smart Call Home configured on your devices, what happens? Will it work?
A. The customer will no longer be able to take the advantage of the automatic service request creation feature because the product will no longer be eligible for that support
Q. Is there a free trial? How does it work?
A. For out-of-warranty devices that are not currently covered under the contract, a trial period of 90 days is available.
Q. How do I update my contract associated with the Smart Call Home registration?
A. The option to update the contract associated with the Smart Call Home registration is available from the EDIT Device Preference screen in the portal.
Q. How long does the contract go?
A. It depends on the service contract expiration date.
Q. Are contracts renewed automatically by default?
A. No, contract renewal is not automatic. Your Cisco account representative will contact you regarding service contract renewal.
Q. Is Smart Call Home available under partner-shared support contracts?
A. Answer 3
Q. What kinds of events trigger alerts?
A. There are different types of events that trigger the alerts. For more information, refer to the Smart Call Home Monitoring Details document. This document shows the list of supported events, as well as events that get qualified for sending a notification to the customer and events that get qualified to raise a service request with TAC.
Q. Does Smart Call Home send alerts on IOS versions that have bugs with a recommendation to update the IOS version to?
A. Smart Call Home includes field notices that cover these alerts. However, it does not make recommendations for upgrades. This feature is available in one of our other services included with SMART net Total Care.
Q. What classes of problems can Smart Call Home handle? Can it accept and process functional- and performance-related problems with each supported platform?
A. Yes. Smart Call Home processes environmental data and diagnostic data. Therefore, environmental-related problems are covered.
Q. Can TCL scripts generate Smart Call Home alerts?
A. TCL scripts cannot generate alerts¬. The user can only trigger alerts based on device configuration.
Smart Call Home Portal
Q. Can you briefly show security alerts and EOL reports from the portal?
A. You can find security alerts and EOL reports on-line.
Q. Can Smart Call Home create a case in my ticketing system?
A. Smart Call Home is integrated with another service called Smart Bonding. With the help of Smart Bonding, Cisco directly exchanges ticketing data with the customer of the partner’s ticketing system. For more information on this service, send an email email@example.com. A representative will contact you and provide more information about this service.
Q. Is there a method to forward debugs on an IOS device to a TAC case via Smart Call Home?
A. On some devices there is a call home send command that can be used to forward the additional diagnostics. On other devices, it is possible to add a show command to the various alert groups in order to send additional information along with the standard set.
Q. Does Smart Call Home use EEM scripts, or SNMP traps and syslogs?
A. Smart Call Home does use EEM scripts in order to subscribe to the event detectors such as Generic On Line Diagnostics (GOLD) and environmental crash. However, Smart Call Home does not use SNMP in any form either as a method for collecting information, or as method for delivering events.
Q. What is the difference between Smart Call Home and Call Home?
A. The difference between Smart Call Home and Call Home can be confusing. Refer to the entire solution generally as Smart Call Home. To give an idea on the basic difference, all the commands used in the CLI and in the configuration omit the smart from the call home. Technically, the component in the operating system on the customer’s premise is called Call Home and the backend servers are referred to as Smart Call Home.
Smart Call Home Portal
Q. How does Cisco gather the intellectual capital that is used to create the remediation recommendations?
A. The intellectual capital comes from a variety of sources. A team within the Smart Call Home development organization constantly watches for new intellectual capital by parsing cases and watching the support forums. The TAC engineers can also write rules and submit those to the intellectual capital library. On some occasions, while parsing events, the team uses other internal resources to get remediation and recommendation data.
Q. What are typical problems with Smart Call Home so far? Are there any bugs that should be considered?
A. If you face any issues when enabling Smart Call Home, the issue is certainly related to any of the prerequisites listed below. Therefore, during the registration process, it is very important to make sure that these prerequisites are satisfied. • Device Type and IOS Supported Ensure that the device is supported and runs on an operating system that supports Smart Call Home. For a complete list of supported devices, refer to Supported Products Table. • Cisco.com login The user registering the device must have a valid Cisco.com login. • Serial number of device covered by contract The device must be covered by an eligible contract. • Contract associated to the Cisco.com profile The Cisco.com profile must be associated with the same contract as the device that the customer is trying to register. Contact Cisco Smart Services Bureau (SSB) for further assistance in turning on this feature on the devices..
Q. What exactly is Transport Gateway, and how does it work?
A. The Transport Gateway is a proxy server for Smart Call Home messages. There are some occasions when the customers might not choose or are not willing to grant Internet access directly from their devices, or might require the use of a traditional proxy server in order to have the Internet access for those devices. In those cases, Transport Gateway is provided as a solution. It is a software package that can be deployed on Windows, Linux or Solaris. The gateway is registered with the backend. In this registration process, a unique ID and password are created. This avoids usage of the customer’s credentials for that communication. The Transport Gateway can accept incoming communication from devices via SMTP or HTTP and always securely transmit that data back to Cisco using HTTPS. There are a number of additional cases where a customer wants to deploy a Transport Gateway, one being an administrator that wishes to monitor all the traffic on their LAN before securely delivered to Cisco over the Internet. All these details are covered in the White Paper on Transport Gateway that will be published later this month.
Q. Are there any hardware specifications about supported devices that I need to check?
A. No. Just ensure that the operating system on the device, whether it is IOS, NX-OS or others is at least the minimum supported version. For more information, refer to the Supported Products Table.
Q. How many system resources does Smart Call Home use? Will my network performance be impacted?
A. Smart Call Home is embedded in the device and accesses as much of the default data through EEM. Therefore, it is able to see a wide range of indicators of the health of the device with very little impact to the performance of the device. Once an eligible event is detected (Smart Call Home selects that based on a certain amount of filtering based on Cisco IP), it runs additional show commands. These are documented in the configuration guide for each of the products. These commands will always have an impact only when an event is detected. Because the customer has to run these show commands anyways, there is no additional impact. No measurable impact on the network when compared to a traditional network management system that uses SNMP or syslog.
Q. Can you explain in more detail how GOLD diagnostics work?
A. For a detailed explanation about GOLD diagnostics, refer to Accelerating Network Health with Smart Call Home.
Q. When does Smart Call Home create a service request?
A. Smart Call Home creates a service request when an eligible event is detected. For the list of eligible events, refer to Smart Call Home Monitoring Details.
Q. How is Smart Call Home different from Device Diagnostics that was mentioned earlier?
A. Smart Call Home is the tool and Device Diagnostics is the capability provided by that tool to customers of Smart Net Total Care and various collaborative services.
Q. If an RMA is issued automatically from Smart Call Home, how does the system know the correct address to send the new part to?
Q. Is there a place where we can collaborate and propose new rules to add to the system?
A. There is a process available for submitting the customer request.
Q. Are all UCS servers covered by Smart Call Home, or is it just limited to the UCS C series servers?
A. The Smart Call Home feature is present in the UCS manager or UCSM. Therefore, all of the UCS B series, which require the use of UCSM, are supported and any of C series or the rack servers that are integrated with UCSM are also supported. At present, any UCS C series server which is deployed outside the scope of the UCS domain is not covered by Smart Call Home. For more information, refer to the Technical White Paper.
Q. Is there any information about the Smart Call Home roadmap that can be shared?
A. The Smart Call Home roadmap is currently focused on the integration of Smart Call Home functionality into Smart Net Total Care and providing a single portal experience for the customer. Plans to add support for new or additional devices will resume in FY13.
Q. How many devices does Smart Call Home support? Is there an upper limit for each customer?
A. No. There is no upper limit set for each customer.
Configuration and Registration
Q. How can you configure many devices at the same time? Is there a tool that allows you to configure many devices at once?
A. There are number of tools that support specific devices, for example Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) for the data center products. As considered earlier, Cisco Prime LAN Management Solution can also be an option to configure a broad range of devices and groups.
Q. How does the free trial work? Do I just follow the steps to register the out-of-warranty device?
A. Yes. The registration process is the same as registering the out-of-warranty device.
Q. Can someone connect to my Cisco devices using Smart Call Home?
A. No. All of the communication is one way, and is always initiated from the device and sent to the back end at Cisco. The customer is in complete control of the information, level of information and the severity of the information that is sent to Cisco.