11th Systems Administration Conference (LISA '97)
Automating 24x7 Support Response To Telephone Requests
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California
Institute of Technology
Demands for uninterrupted availability of systems that were
hitherto not viewed as critical to the success of the enterprise has
placed a burden upon support infrastructures for those systems. The
small-to-medium help desk for a system that comprises part of an
enterprise information system is under increasing pressure to provide
round-the-clock support, while staffing budgets may not have caught up
with the fiscal realities of covering second- or third-shift on-site
personnel. While the volume of calls outside normal hours may be
small, a guaranteed turnaround and response to emergencies is
essential for many IT operations to gain the trust of their customers.
This paper describes a system for automated answering of the help
desk telephone during non-peak hours, and for notifying on-call staff
of emergencies within minutes. The system uses two voice-capable
modems on a well-maintained computer for presenting to the caller a
typical phone menu hierarchical menu which may include an option to
record a message about some type of emergency. In this event, the
system will notify the staff who are on call at that time for that
type of emergency, contacting them by means they have specified in
advance, such as voice telephone, numeric or alphanumeric pager, or
other means. The system is currently undergoing testing in the
Enterprise Information System File Service at JPL.
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