The Protocol - Mar/Apr 2000

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Bring legacies up to speed with IAM

The IAM is a versatile, embedded mediation platform capable of mediating any mixture of industry standard protocols.

"People buy it because it simplifies their jobs," said DPS Director of Technical Sales Eric Storm. "It's so darn versatile - it is a quick way of solving many problems."

IAM
Alarm and relay reporting:The rack-mounted Intelligent Alarm Mediator features alarm and relay reporting with escalating paging.

The IAM's flexible, available transports include RS232, RS422 or RS485, 202/212 modems, X.25 and, of course, TCP/IP. It can function as a proxy SNMP agent, placing alarms on a LAN from devices that cannot be economically connected to a LAN by other means.

As LANs and WANs evolve, it makes sense to use that bandwidth. It saves the cost of dedicated circuits, and generally has redundancy already built in. In addition, most high-level management systems now require alarms to be reported over TCP/IP.

Typically, the IAM is used to provide local alarm visibility and can mediate (convert) alarms to TL1 or SNMP to report an existing higher-level manager.

The IAM is a rack-mountable, industrial computer that operates on -48VDC. It simultaneously mediates many different alarm protocols including TBOS, DCP, DCPF, DCM, Datalok, TelTrac, E2A, TABS, Badger and TL1. It expands to 24 serial ports and a 10BaseT Ethernet port for alarm traffic, plus a separate RS232 port and a modem port for configuration.

"It even works as a passive monitor for E2A, DCP or DCPF and can take over as master, should a link go down," said Eric Bopp, DPS' senior software engineer. "It will parse ASCII text messages, and convert them to popular alarm protocols."

Alarm history is an important feature, according to Storm. The IAM will record and store one-million alarm events. The history files can be queried in many different ways, including the history of a specific alarm point, or perhaps all alarms of a specific type, or even alarms generated during a specified period.

Summary reports can be generated. For instance, you can generate a report for a specific alarm point for a certain time period stating the number of times it failed, the total time it was in the failed condition and the longest period it spent in the failed condition.

Reports can be exported to any spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel to create graphs.

In addition to alarm mediation, the IAM has extensive notification capabilities. The page feature supports alpha or numeric paging and an e-mail notification. Both features can be configured in many different ways and allow for scheduling and escalation, should a page not be answered within a specified amount of time.

"Perhaps the best thing about the IAM is that we can provide a tailor-made solution that meets the exact needs of the customer," said Storm. DPS is well known for providing a functional total solution in a short period of time. We provide extensive back-up support, and turn-up assistance.

"Best of all is that it is easy to use," said Storm. "It's intuitive, with no extensive training required. Most people learn the basic screens within the first hour."

T/Mon sends alarm messages via e-mail

DPS' senior software engineer, Eric Bopp, has added an e-mail browser to our current alarm monitoring applications.

Now users can receive alarm notifications and acknowledge them via e-mail. All that is required is an Ethernet card and access to an SMTP mail server on the network for your T/MonXM Workstation or IAM.

The new e-mail feature works similarly to the current escalating paging system. The new browser can store up to 999 e-mail addressees and can notify your staff as formatted, even on an hourly basis, throughout the week. The e-mail notification content is designed by the user during formatting.

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