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The IT business necessitates resolving issues/requests in well-timed, efficient manner. Thus it is important that tickets/record are instantly assigned to an individual for attention. Since we are talking about several tickets generated on a regular basis so there needs to be configurable rules to find the best assignee. Here, BMC Remedy assignment engine helps us to automatically find the individual to work on it.

 

Introduction to Assignment Engine (AE):


The AE runs on the BMC Remedy Action Request System where it is used to automatically find out an assignee for a request, based on the configured rules. Assignment Engine is a Java Process run on the server. It has an entry in the armonitor.cfg file. You could search with keyword ‘assignmentengine’ or ‘AssignmentServer’ to locate the java process entry in armonitor.cfg file

 

Assignment Engine Process Flow:


Assignment Engine Process Flow.jpg

 

 

AE server commands and Application Pending Form:

 

We trigger each command with Application-Command. All commands are issued via filter Run Process actions which run an application command process.

 

AE-Cache: It updates the Assignment Engine's internal cache of assignment rules and data on potential assignees. This information is cached so that the engine will run more efficiently when choosing the right assignee based on assignment method and number of items assigned.

AE-Assign: This is important command in AE process. Application dispatches the rules to AE to determine an assignee. The engine uses the definition of the assignment rule and assignee data to determine the correct assignee and then updates the ticket ID specified with the person entry found as the correct assignment, and then the application workflow pulls in the appropriate values for login name, etc, of the assignee.


Let’s review the following case of Incident Auto Assignment rule.

    • AE-ASSIGN DoAssign -t "Incident General Assignment - Round Robin" -e INC000000000209

Per above example, the Incident General Assignment - Round Robin Process will run on the request ID INC000000000209.


Application Pending form: Assignment engine commands are processed through ‘Application Pending’ form. It creates an entry in the ‘Application Pending’ form with process name and request ID of the application request. This record is deleted after execution of the rule.

 

Application Pending form.png

 

Implementation and Use:

 

In ITSM the assignment architecture is based on a two phases. The first phase is assignment of the support group, which is taken care by front end user configuration on the form ‘CFG:Assignment’ and by the workflows at the back end.

 

Configure Assignment.jpg

Please click here to see more information on support group assignment and events.

 

The second phase is assigning the support technician based on administrator’s preferred rule developed for Assignment Engine. This process is used across the application for Incidents, Problems, Change Requests, and Tasks etc. There are separate forms to set the distinct rules for each application.

 

Incident Rule.jpg

 

Assignment rules facilitate to assign record based on number of tickets already assigned to individual, round robin, and capacity process rules. Please click to know details about these methods. Review details about Assigning requests with the Assignment Engine.

 

Guidance to troubleshoot issues in AE:

 

Assignment Engine logs how it handles an application command. It can be related to incorrect rules set up or the processes are not configured correctly. To set Assignment Engine logs to two files aetrace.log and ae.log. We need to set the following parameters in the ar.cfg (ar.conf) file:

  • AE-LOG:ON
  • AE-TRACE:ON
  • AE-TRACE-FILE:<log file path>/aetrace.log
  • AE-LOG-FILE:<log file path>/ae.log

  See details at Configuring the Assignment Engine logs.

 

Let’s talk about few scenarios and tips to handle them:

 

Scenario 1) Assignment engine has stopped working.

  • Tips: Check the AE Debug logs and see if you are getting any errors
  • Also check if the assignment engine java process is running or not. Please refer Troubleshooting issues with plug-in servers. If it is not running then, then you can copy the line out of the armonitor.cfg file and try to run it manually, and see if it ran or giving any error message to diagnose.

 

Scenario 2) In server group environment one of the servers Assignment Engine is operating in Suspended mode.

  • Tips: Check if server group environment is set up correctly.
  • Check ‘Assignment Engine’ process on operational ranking form has the entry for server in concern
  • Reconfigure the server group environment

 

Scenario 3) AE is running however records in the Application Pending form are piled up.

  • Tips: First identify how old records are stuck on the Application Pending form.
  • If necessary, export that entry from Application Pending form to an ARX file, delete it, and restart the AE
  • Check server side API, filter and SQL logs to find out if any query is taking long time and impacting AE

 

See online information about Troubleshooting Assignment Engine

 

Manually start and stop Assignment Engine:

 

We know AE has an entry in armonitor.cfg, hence it is automatically started and stopped by armonitor.exe. However, I would like to cover in case you require starting and stopping AE manually.

 

  • To start the AE manually on Windows:
  1. At the command-line prompt, go to the following folder: ARSystemInstallDir\assignmentengine\bin
  2. Enter aejstartup.bat.

 

  • To start the AE manually on UNIX:
  1. At the shell prompt, go to the following directory: ARSystemInstallDir/assignmentengine/bin
  2. Enter ./aejstartup.sh.

 

  •   To stop the AE manually on Windows and UNIX:
  1. Press Ctrl+C or kill the aejstartup process

Please select below to know about it:

 

 

Existing Ideas for AE:

 

  1. bulb.png  Auto-assignment feature enhancements
  2. bulb.png  Modify Assignment Engine Integration to work at Group Level

 

I hope this helps understand the role of Assignment Engine and how it works. I welcome your comments, feedback, and suggestions that you may have regarding this blog post. Further, I encourage you to submit Ideas on BMC Communities should there be business need to enhance this feature.


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