Inventorying The Discovered Cisco Devices
After running the discovery service, if we visit the Discovered Devices section from the menu, the system will confirm the devices found already exist in the system and report that we need to run the inventory service:
Following the instructions, we select Services under the customer's Administration menu:
This will load the Service Control panel where we can execute on the spot a number of services or schedule them to automatically run at specific times and dates. The panel will also show when exactly the available services were executed.
To continue our setup, we select the Run Now... button to initiate the Inventory service.
Like most partner-initiated services, this is a 4-step process where we selected the discovered devices to the inventoried:
After selecting the devices to be inventoried and clicking the Next button, we are asked to enter the necessary credentials for each Cisco device, so that the Smart Care appliance can log into each device.
This might come as a surprise to some engineers, however it is necessary because the Cisco Smart Care appliance actually logs into each device and obtains a full list of all components installed, including part numbers, serial numbers, PVDMs (Cisco DSPs), slots in which cards are installed (for routers) and even Cisco Unity Express modules (if installed)!
The amount of information later on provided will surprise you as it is extremely comprehensive.
In case an incorrect username or password is entered, the system will reported a failure to log into the affected device and we will be able to later on re-run the inventory service and enter the correct credentials. For any given device who's credentials are correct, the SmartCare appliance will save this information for all future monitoring services to be run.
As we complete entering all information and select the protocol used to access each device, we can click on the Next button to start the inventory process:
At this point, the Smart Care portal queues the operation at the customer's Smart Care appliance and will begin to execute in a minute or two.
The time required to complete the inventory process will depend on the amount of devices and their complexity. For our setup, the process did not take more than 5 minutes to complete.
As soon as the process completes, we are presented with a brief summary of the process and are able to Terminate (close) the window. This will take us back to the Service Control panel where the Inventory will show as sucessfully executed along with a date and time.
With the inventory process complete, the last step is to schedule or run the Core, Security and Voice technology processes in order to examine and monitor the equipment discovered.
The Core, Security and Voice process is out of this article's scope and will be covered in future articles.
This article introduced the new Cisco Smart Care service and explained the secret details of this service, which is executed by Cisco Smart Care authorized partners only. We saw the setup process of the Smart Care appliance, the portal setup including discovery and inventorying process of Cisco devices.
Future articles will cover the activation of various services offered by a Cisco Smart Care contract such as scheduled security assesments, Voice quality monitoring and many more.