WIN-911 System Platform Data Source


Improvements over WIN-911 V7:

  • Remotely accessible, browser-based configuration
  • Run-time all the time, configuration changes take effect immediately
  • Alarm Subscriptions remove the need to import/maintain alarm tags within WIN-911
  • Automatic reconnect if connection is lost to System Platform
  • All Notification methods are bi-directional, supporting acknowledgements and alarm/report requests
  • More control over escalation with Tactics and Strategies
  • New Schedule interface allows the user to easily create complex schedules via an intuitive calendar/agenda presentation


Release Notes:

  • The System Platform Data Source supports System Platform 2014 R2 SP1 (older versions may be functional but have not been validated).
  • The System Platform Data Source utilizes a combination of Wonderware's Alarm Toolkit and MXAccess to receive and acknowledge alarms
  • MXAccess requires a deployed ArchestrA Platform on the computer running WIN-911.
  • MXAccess requires a license, if you need to download a license, you can do so from here, MXAccess for SP 2014 R2
  • The Alarm Toolkit requires the "InTouch alarm provider" feature be enabled for the deployed platform.
  • The Alarm Toolkit requires that InTouch 8 or higher be installed on the computer running WIN-911.
  • InTouch Alarm Provider Comm alarms are not native galaxy alarms and thus cannot be acknowledged from WIN-911. 
  • WIN-911 will make use of the Alarm Comment defined on each alarm condition within ArchestrA; however the Description field for a device or attribute is not provided with events. 

Installation


A step-by-step installation guide is included with the software download, please review the installation guide before installation. 


Getting Started with WIN-911


The following guide will explain some key concepts of WIN‑911 by walking new users through the configuration of a simple alarm notification system with the System Platform Data Source and the Email Notifier. While the specific technologies discussed may not be applicable to your system, WIN‑911 has been designed in such a way that configuring a connection to one data source, or configuring a specific notification method is not that different from configuring another. The fundamental concepts are the same and this guide will serve as an introduction to the platform as a whole.  

There are three basic things that must be configured in every WIN‑911 system: who must be notified, when must he be notified, and what must he be notified about.  Let’s walk through each of these items.


Note: For the purposes of this document, we will be referencing the Reactor Demo Application Server included with System Platform.


Configure a Notification Method


Gateways


It is considered a best practice to configure any new installation by starting on the notification side of things, so we will begin by configuring our Email Gateway. Every Notifier has a Gateway. The Gateway defines the set of information required by WIN‑911 to access the outside world. In the Mobile‑911 Notifier, this is your Mobile‑911 server address, for SMS, your modem hardware settings, for Voice, this is your SIP server address and its associated settings or your TAPI modem configuration.

Launch the WIN-911 user interface by opening the shortcut placed in your Windows Start Menu after installation, Start > WIN-911 > WIN-911 Configuration. This will open your browser and navigate to the locally installed Silverlight application. Find the Email Gateway workspace by clicking Contact > Email > Gateway.


Note: Internet Explorer is the preferred web browser.

Note: If you are using a Server OS, you may need to disable IE Enhanced Security Configuration or add the computer to the Trusted Sites list in order to load the WIN-911 Configuration.

Configuring your Email Gateway is much like configuring any Email client such as Outlook or a smart phone application. WIN‑911 supports SMTP for outgoing mail and POP or IMAP for incoming mail. Obtain your mail server settings from your network administrator, email hosting provider, or ISP. Customers using Exchange Server should consult with their mail administrator about configuring an SMTP relay. Place the settings provided to you in their respective fields.


 



There are two configuration items worth highlighting here. First, in order to connect to your mail server, you must acknowledge the fact that WIN‑911 needs exclusive access to the mail account credentials you provide. WIN‑911 will use this account to send and receive mail. It will also delete any mail sent to this address as it processes it; for this reason, you should not use this account for any other purpose. Secondly, you can disable incoming mail by unchecking the incoming mail option on your gateway. This means that users will not be able to acknowledge alarms or make alarm and report requests. If you wish to allow only some users to have incoming mail privileges, enable the feature here and configure the option on a per-user basis. We’ll discuss this in the next section.


Connections


A connection defines the specific endpoint WIN-911 will send a notification to regarding alarms and reports. For the email module, this is an email address. In other modules, like SMS and Voice, this is a phone number. The connection also defines the format that should be applied to messages, for both alarms and reports. The connection also determines the hours during which a user should be notified, his personalized Schedule.



Enter a unique name for the connection and an email address. Pick a Schedule from the list of default Schedules available to you, or if none of these meet your needs, click the arrow next to the list of Schedules to be taken to a workspace where you may define a new one. Schedules are configured using a calendar control much like any scheduling application. Use the GUI to configure when a connection is on or off duty. When you’re done, use your browser’s back button to finish configuring your connection. You may also attach a Role to a Connection. Roles are used to organize connections. We’ll talk about Roles more when we discuss alarm escalation. There are a few predefined Roles already configured. Use the arrow button to create a new one, if you would like to. An arrow next to any field will take you to a workspace where you may configure that setting. You’ll find this pattern repeated throughout the WIN-911 user interface.



Select an Alarm Format that best suits your needs. You may format the subject and body in any way you wish. WIN-911’s message formats are stored as XSLTs. XSL is a powerful programming language used for transforming XML documents. WIN-911 uses XSLTs to transform alarms into email messages, voice calls, text messages, etc. Editing XSL is quite a complex task and is well outside the scope of this document. For more information on creating XSLTs, consult with W3Schools or contact WIN-911’s support department. We’ll be glad to help you design a Format that best suits your needs.



The Ack Option tab defines how alarms should be acknowledged by this connection, or if this connection should be allowed to acknowledge alarms at all. Select “Ack on Any Reply” and when WIN-911 receives a reply from this connection about an alarm, WIN-911 will acknowledge the alarm. Select “Ack with Password” to require a specific phrase be present in the reply message. There are a few more settings available for you to configure, but they are not necessary. For the full documentation regarding Email Connections, see the WIN-911 Email manual. Save the Connection and we’ll move on to configuring your escalation rules.


Configuring Escalation


The Dispatcher module is responsible for accepting alarms from data sources, running your escalation rules to determine who should receive those alarm messages and when. It sends these messages out to the appropriate notification module, which will, in turn, send them to their final destinations. In WIN-911 alarms are associated with strategies, and strategies orchestrate the execution of tactics. We'll examine both of these concepts more closely below.


Tactics


Tactics are essentially action sequences of which there are two types, Advanced and Basic


Basic Tactics are simply a callout list of connections. When a Basic Tactic is started, WIN-911 begins notifying connections in the list in the order in which they are defined and with any delays specified. Basic Tactics are easy to configure, and correspondingly, offer less flexibility regarding notification. That said, they meet the majority of users’ needs and have the added benefit of being quite easy to maintain. The remainder of this guide will make use of an example Basic Tactic for each Area in the Reactor Demo, Sim_Area and Demo_Area.

Find Basic Tactics by navigating to Notification > Tactics > Basic.



Advanced Tactics are flow charts which determine who should hear about an alarm. Each block in the chart represents either an action to be taken or a decision to be made. These actions are generally Notification Blocks. Notification Blocks send messages to the connections specified in the block. You may also place a Role in a Notification Block. When you do this, any connection which has that Role attached, will be notified. Decision Blocks allow the chart to branch, decisions may be made based on properties of the alarm or the amount of time the tactic has been executing. Advanced Tactics are quite powerful and quite nuanced. A full discussion on them can be found in the WIN-911 Dispatcher manual. 



Strategies


Strategies are simply a set of rules defining how WIN-911 should respond to alarm events, i.e. when they should start and stop Tactics. Find Strategies by navigating to Notification > Strategies.



The Default Strategy will send every alarm to every connection configured in your WIN-911 system and send every update about every alarm to every user who previously received a message about the alarm. It will stop sending messages after the alarm is Terminal. An alarm is considered Terminal when it is inactive and acknowledged. The Strategy only has three rules, formally called Policies, which define this behavior.


Initial Event -> Start Tactic “Notify All”

Any Alarm State Change -> Re-Notify

Alarm Becomes Terminal -> Stop Strategy


The first rule means that when the initial alarm is received, WIN-911 should start a Tactic called “Notify All.” The Tactic determines who should actually be notified for an event. The “Notify All” Tactic tells WIN-911 to notify every connection configured in the system about the alarm. When it does so, it takes into account the Schedule defined for the connection. If the connection is on-duty, the alarm will be sent, if it is off-duty, the connection will be passed over. We’ll talk more about Tactics later.


The second rule says that when any state change is received for the alarm, WIN-911 should send a message to anyone who previously received a message regarding the alarm. An alarm is considered to have changed state when either the active or acknowledged state changes.


The last rule says that when the alarm is both active and acknowledged, it should stop processing the strategy rules for the alarm. This ends the life cycle of the alarm.


We'll create two example Strategies, one for each Area in the Reactor Demo. We'll keep the default Policies but select the corresponding Basic Tactic we created earlier. Now we can configure the System Platform Data Source. 




Configure System Platform


Getting System Platform Ready


WIN-911 interfaces with System Platform using MXAccess and the Wonderware Alarm Toolkit, each have their specific requirements for proper functionality. For MXAccess this means WIN-911 must run on a system with a deployed platform and an MXAccess license must be available. If you do not have an MXAccess license for System Platform 2014 R2, a license is available here, MXAccess for SP 2014 R2.


The Alarm Toolkit requires that your WinPlatform act as an InTouch Alarm Provider. You can enable this feature in the ArchestrA IDE.


  • With the IDE open and connected to your Galaxy, double-click on your WinPlatform.


  • On the General tab, check the box for 'Enable InTouch alarm provider'


    (DO NOT check the box for "Register using "Galaxy_<Galaxy_name>" instead of "Galaxy"")


  • Save your changes and re-deploy your platform if you needed to make this change.


System Platform Data Source Runtime

Before you can receive alarms, you must start the WIN-911 System Platform runtime. You'll find a short in your Start menu, Start > WIN-911 > WIN-911 System Platform.  


The System Platform runtime will run as an application which means a user must always be logged into a Windows session. If you close the runtime, WIN-911 will stop receiving alarms. The runtime executable can be accessed and exited via the Windows system tray.


System Platform Subscriptions


Navigate to the Subscription workspace, Alarming > System Platform > Subscriptions.


WIN-911 utilizes Alarm Subscriptions to filter in alarms during run-time rather than having to import and maintain a list of attributes/tags. You are free to filter alarms on certain criteria, Area, Object/Attribute Name, and/or Priority. A built-in Subscription to bring in all alarms is included, aptly titled, "All Alarms". 


Subscriptions provide a dynamic connection to System Platform, meaning, when you create new alarms in System Platform, they'll automatically be processed by WIN-911 without having to make any configuration changes. For example, if you have a Subscription which filters all alarms belonging to an Area named "Demo_Area" and you add a new alarm under this Area, WIN-911 will receive the new alarm. 


You're not limited to a single Subscription, you're free to create as many as you need and assign them to different Strategies which gives you ability to have many contact groups. 


For this guide, we'll create two Subscriptions, one which filters alarms from "Demo_Area" and another for alarms from "Sim_Area". We'll assign these Subscriptions to Strategies in a later step. 





You can also attach Alarm Labels to alarms which match a particular Subscription. Labels are another organization feature of WIN-911, much like Roles. Tactics can treat Alarms with specific labels differently that other alarms. For instance, if you label alarms by System Platform Area, you can use a Label Decision Block to notify one set of your personnel about alarms on Demo_Area and another set for alarms on Sim_Area. We'll skip labels for now, but this is a powerful feature that you'll want to revisit once you create your production configuration.


Galaxies


Now that you have your Subscriptions created, we can start to configure your Galaxy. Find your Galaxy settings by navigating to Alarms > System Platform > Galaxies.


We'll create a new Galaxy connection which will require a few details. 


Connection Details


Name: You must enter a friendly name for this connection, I'll use the same name I'm using for my Galaxy in System Platform, Reactor_Demo. 

Enable Authentication: If you're using Authentication for your Galaxy, check the box and enter your credentials. 

Areas: You must tell WIN-911 which Areas in System Platform you'd like to receive alarms from. Type the Area names exactly as they appear in your Galaxy. If you have nested Areas under other Areas, you only need to enter the root Area name as alarms from all descendant Areas will automatically be included. If you enter an Area and one of its descendant Areas, you will receive duplicate alarms from each Area definition and will inhibit performance of the system.

In the Reactor Demo, Sim_Area and Demo_Area are root Areas so we must make an entry for each.  



Subscription Routes


Subscriptions Routes allow you to associate Alarm Subscriptions to Strategies for a particular Galaxy. Routes are ranked. As alarms come in, each Subscription Route will be evaluated in order, and the alarm will be handled by the Strategy of the first matching Subscription Route. Alarms can only match a single Subscription Route. 


We will use the Subscriptions and Strategies we created previously to create our Subscription Routes. Alarms which match the Demo_Area Subscription will be assigned to the Demo_Area Strategy which will launch the Demo_Area Basic Tactic while the Sim_Area Subscription will be assigned to the Sim_Area Strategy which will launch the Sim_Area Basic Tactic.



Watchdogs


Watchdog alarms check for a changing alarm state for a particular Object/Attribute in a Galaxy, if no alarm activity is detected after the specified timeout period, the alarm becomes active. If alarm activity is restored, the alarm becomes inactive. You can use Watchdog alarms as a connection health indicator for System Platform. For example, create an Object named WIN911_Watchdog with an alarm that automatically toggles active/inactive every 30 seconds. Create a Watchdog alarm to monitor this Object and set the timeout period for 60 seconds. If WIN-911 doesn't detect a changing alarm on this Object, for whatever reason, the alarm becomes active. 



Let's save our Galaxy configuration and if you followed along with the Reactor Demo, you should start receiving alarms. If you have configured the Email Notifier, you'll start to receive emails that should look something like this:






Congratulations on configuring you first WIN-911 System.


What just happened? The Reactor Demo is simulating alarms which match the Alarm Subscriptions we created. The Subscription Routes are triggering the Strategies we also created. Because the initial event was received, WIN-911 started the Basic Tactics we created, which sent the alarm message out to anyone configured in those Tactics.


When the alarm becomes inactive, this represents a state change, the Strategies we created will execute the Policy for Any State Change., which tells WIN-911 to renotify everyone who was sent the alarm message again. You should get an Email indicating that the alarm is now inactive.


If you set your connection up with the "Ack on Any Reply" setting, reply to this message. Leave the subject alone, it contains a ticket number, which WIN-911 uses to identify which alarm you would like to acknowledge.  You can leave the body of the Email blank, or leave it filled with the history of your thread. If you set WIN-911 to require a password to acknowledge the alarm, enter that password anywhere in the body of your Email.


After WIN-911 acknowledges the alarm, you'll receive another message, because of your re-notification policy, which will indicate that the alarm has indeed been acknowledged. Because the alarm in now Inactive and Acknowledged, WIN-911 will stop the executing Strategy and the lifetime of the alarm is now completed.