FAQ

This topic provides information that supplements the BMC Helix Subscriber documentation.

Frequently asked questions about BMC Helix services

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions about BMC Helix services.

BMC provides services to hundreds of customers worldwide. These customers are across multiple industries and include many global customers with complex security, compliance, integration, and performance requirements.

Yes. BMC SaaS Operations monitors all customer environments. For more information, see System monitoring. 

In Support Central, select the Service Status Dashboard option within the Case Management view.

BMC frequently resolves potential issues before they are customer-impacting. Based on incident severity, issues are addressed so as to provide restoration of the service as soon as possible. If you are experiencing an issue, promptly submit an incident to BMC Support. For more information, see the BMC Helix Incident Response policy. 

For more information, see BMC Helix Upgrade policy.

Yes. You will have an opportunity in user acceptance testing to determine if those customizations still make sense. If they do not, they can be disabled so that the out-of-the-box workflow is executed instead.  For more information, see BMC Helix ITSM Customization policy.

BMC SaaS Operations supports minor adjustments made to customizations as a part of the service update process. If a significant change to logic is required, you should work with BMC SaaS Operations to understand the impact. If a major change to the customized code is required, you can choose to implement it on an "as-is" basis, implement a small workaround, or disable the customized code. Any major changes to the customization can then be scheduled for implementation after the service update through the regular change control process. For more information, see BMC Helix Upgrade policy.

At present, BMC Helix does not support 2-way SSL (also known as mutual TLS, client certificate authentication) for the inbound REST API/ Web Service traffic. However, we are looking to provide this option in the near future.

The SMTP incoming and delivery servers are BMC-managed infrastructure. The only connectivity to external cloud allowed is Microsoft Exchange Web Services (EWS). Other external connections are considered to be prohibited. For the avoidance of doubt, the external cloud and on-premises infrastructure configuration, administrative settings, servers, logs, and your network environments are managed outside of BMC, therefore out of scope for BMC Support. 

 Custom headers are not supported.

The customer is responsible for obtaining and managing the client certificates for third-party integrations with the BMC Helix ITSM. The BMC SaaS Operations team will assist with the certificate installation into their BMC Helix environment.

For more information on obtaining and managing the client certificates, see KB Article 000251885 Open link .

Masquerading outbound emails with a sender address on behalf of the customer’s domain or third-party network is allowed only if the following conditions are met:

  • The customer or third-party must take steps to trust the BMC Helix SMTP servers to send emails on their behalf. This includes adding our SMTP server public IP addresses to their published Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record. 
  • The customer or third-party must modify their email filters to accept the masqueraded email from BMC SMTP servers without flagging it as unsolicited.
  • The customer or third-party must provide evidence showing the above steps have been addressed.

The following table lists the hosts for each region that need to be added to the SPF record. You only need to add the location that corresponds to your service location in the SPF record.

Region

Hosts

Americas

_spf-amer.onbmc.com

EMEA

_spf-emea.onbmc.com

APAC

_spf-apac.onbmc.com

For more information, see Planning email integration with BMC Helix services.

Next Action: Raise a support case by providing the evidence that the above conditions are met. BMC will approve the masquerading configuration and move forward with the implementation.

Access to the mid-tier configuration page is restricted for security reasons. However, the customer can perform the cache flush on non-production using alternative steps.

For more information, see BMC Helix ITSM Administrator Permissions policy.

Use this procedure if you need to encrypt a file within BMC Helix ITSM and transfer it over the SFTP to be used later. For example, you can encrypt a report extracted after processing data by an AI job. 

The following steps describe the process of decrypting a GPG-encrypted file in BMC Helix ITSM:

  1. Generate a key using a GPG program.
    The steps shown in the following screenshot demonstrates how to generate a key using GPG in Linux. Follow your organization's security guidelines to meet the security requirements.

  2. Export the public key using the GPG command.
    Example:
    gpg --output GPGKey_public.asc --armor --export GPGKey
  3. Raise a support case to install the public key into your environment. The BMC Helix Operations team will upload the key into the AR System File form, ensuring that the key is uploaded every time the server is restarted.

    It is your responsibility to track the key expiry and renewal process. In the event that the key expires and needs to be regenerated, you must submit a support case to upload the renewed key.
  4. Design an Atrium Integrator job that uses the Shell Script step to encrypt the GPG-encrypted file.
    A sample job is shown:

    The following screenshot shows a sample script (TrustKey Shell Script step):

    The following screen shot shows a sample script (Encrypt Shell Script step):

The encrypted file is available under the directory /opt/bmc/ars/data/FromOnDemand as per the sample script above. The sample script uses hard coded values. Replace with the variable as per the requirement.

If you need to upload an encrypted file to the BMC Helix ITSM, you can encrypt the file using a GPG program and then process it in BMC Helix environments.

The following steps describe the process of decrypting a GPG-encrypted file in BMC Helix ITSM:

  1. Generate a key using a GPG program.
    The steps shown in the following screenshot demonstrates how to generate a key using GPG in Linux. Follow your organization's security guidelines to meet the security requirements.

  2. Export the Private key using the following command.
    For example:


  3. Raise a support case to install the private key into your environment. The BMC Helix Operations team will upload the key into the AR System File form, ensuring that the key is uploaded every time the server is restarted.

    It is your responsibility to track the key expiry and renewal process. In the event that the key expires and needs to be regenerated, you must submit a support case to upload the renewed key.
  4. Design an Atrium Integrator job to download the GPG-encrypted file from the BMC Helix SFTP server to the local AR System directory. Use the Get a file with SFTP step to upload the file.
    File Path to be used to download the GPG-encrypted file: /opt/bmc/ars/data/ToOnDemand
  5. Design an Atrium Integrator job that uses the Shell step to decrypt the GPG-encrypted file.
    A sample job is shown:




    The following screenshot shows a sample script:

    Important: In GPG command, the escape character for special characters is the backslash "\". If you need to use a special character in a command or in a passphrase, you can use the backslash to escape it and prevent it from being interpreted as a command or separator.

Frequently asked questions about BMC Helix service update

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions about BMC Helix service update. The service updates are pushed in the form of automated rollouts to your environments with zero downtime. 

Planning the service update

BMC plans the service update and shares a schedule with you. The service update schedules are shared through email notifications 7 days prior to the update of your nonproduction environments and 21 days prior to the update of your production environment.

The service update schedule will be visible to you on the Change calendar 48 hours prior to the start of the update.

You can also request a service update. For more information, see Requesting a service update.

BMC plans and schedules the service updates. The updates are pushed in the form of automated rollouts to your environments with zero downtime. However, due to some reason, if you do not want to update your environment as scheduled, you can opt out of the scheduled service update and request a service update later. 

BMC does not recommend that you to opt out of a scheduled service update.

It takes about 24 hours to update each environment (Development, QA, and Production).

Based on a few factors, such as the size and complexity of your environment, it might require more than 24 hours to update your Production environment. Based on the observations made while updating your Development and QA environments, BMC will notify you of the time required to update your production environment.

Based on the region in which you are located, the service updates are scheduled to begin outside the core business hours during weekdays.

The following table lists the regions and their respective update start time: 

RegionsUpdate start time in UTC
Americas East2 A.M. 
Americas West5 A.M.
APAC12 P.M.
EMEA East8 P.M.
EMEA West10 P.M.

No, there are no prerequisites.

However, if you have any specific requests, such as a database refresh, make sure you get it done before the service update. Use the standard change request process or raise a support case (for customizations or configurations) to address any specific request.

BMC performs the service updates as frequently as required to make sure that you are on the latest version.

During the planning stage, an update schedule is shared with you. The service update schedules are shared through email notifications 7 days prior to the update of your nonproduction environments and 21 days prior to the update of your production environment. The service update schedule will be visible to you on the Change calendar 48 hours prior to the start of the update.

Yes, you can opt out of a scheduled service update.

BMC does not recommend that you opt out of a scheduled service update. However, due to some reason, if you do not want to update your environment, you can opt out of the scheduled service update.

To opt out of a scheduled service update, use the Support Central to submit a support case at least 4 calendar days before the scheduled service update. For more information, see Opting out of a scheduled service update.

To opt out of a scheduled service update, you must submit a support case at least 4 calendar days before the scheduled service update. 

No, BMC Helix IT Operations Management services are not updated during the service update. Currently, only BMC Helix IT Service Management services are updated during the service update.

BMC closely monitors the service update process and if there are any issues that require a rollback, then an automatic rollback is performed during the update window.

Post update, BMC will help you resolve any issues as quickly as possible. 

Upgrading the environment


It takes about 24 hours to update each environment (Development, QA, and Production).

The following components are included in the service update:

  • BMC Helix ITSM
  • BMC Helix Smart IT
  • BMC Helix CMDB
  • BMC Helix Digital Workplace Basic
  • BMC Helix Digital Workplace Advanced
  • BMC Helix Innovation Suite
  • BMC Helix Innovation Suite Apps
  • BMC Helix Action Request System
  • BMC Helix Multi-Cloud Broker
  • BMC Helix Business Workflows

Important

This is a complete list of Service Management subscription services. Your subscription might not include all the preceding components.

During the update of your environments (Development, QA, and Production), you can perform all end-user operations. However, admin user operations, including metadata operations, are not allowed.

For more information, see  Zero-downtime (ZDT) upgrade for BMC Helix Innovation Suite and applications Open link

Your Development and QA environments might be unavailable for 30 minutes throughout the update window. However, your Production environment will be fully available.

At the end of each environment update, BMC performs basic sanity checks (such as availability of URLs, log in and log out)

We recommend that you use your discretion to decide the test cases to test your environments. To accommodate testing during the update window, BMC has set aside a rest period of one week between the update of your environments.

For example, after BMC updates your Development environment, you have one week to test your Development environment before BMC begins the update of your QA environment.

You can take one week to test each of your environments. 

At the end of each environment update, BMC has set aside a week before it begins the update of the next environment. You can use this time to test your environment and reach out to the BMC Support team if you encounter any issues. 

For example, after BMC updates your Development environment, you have one week to test your Development environment before BMC begins the update of your QA environment.

Frequently asked questions about BMC Support

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions specific to BMC Support.

Use BMC Support Central Open link  portal, which requires registration. 

Access to the BMC Support Central Open link portal first requires registration through BMC Support Central. You will log in using the credentials you set up during that registration process.  Your username is usually your employer-provided email address.

To register for access to the portal, see the BMC Support Central User Guide Open link

If you are having trouble accessing either portal, contact your Customer Success Specialist or have a co-worker submit a support case on your behalf. You may also initiate a live chat (during business hours) from the BMC Support Central site.

BMC Support Central is available via a desktop application only.

Frequently asked questions about submitting a Request for Change (RFC) 

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions specific to submitting an RFC from the support portal.

See Change documentation for a complete list of the information you must provide when submitting a change within Support Central. Failure to provide the required information will result in scheduling delays for your request.

Scheduling is based on the date and time you request from the Requested Window Start Date and Requested Window Start Time fields. If there are any conflicts or concerns with these inputs, BMC SaaS Operations will contact you. BMC recommends a minimum of 72 hours notice for RFC scheduling.

Within BMC Support Central, you may cancel the case by opening it and selecting the Cancel button.

If you are using BMC Support Central, you have to state the related request in plain text. 

No. Email communication will continue, with the added benefit of communication through the RFC request within the portal.

No. Although you may summarize the type of change in the Summary field, BMC SaaS Operations actually determines the type of change and categorizes it in the internal change management system. Customer input is not needed for this field.

No. BMC allows you to opt-out of CRB review and approval, assuming the customization was designed and developed using BMC recommended best practice guidelines. See BMC Helix Customization policy for more information.

Yes. Customers may add a comment to the RFC form requesting an adjustment to the date and time originally requested.

No. Regardless of whether or not you have CRB approval, it is your responsibility to maintain your customizations on an ongoing basis. For additional information, see the BMC Helix Customization policy.

BMC will first review the RFC inputs for completeness. Every effort will be made to schedule the requested change based on the date and time you requested. If there are any issues with the RFC scheduling, BMC SaaS Operations will contact you with a suggested alternate date and time. You will then have the option to accept or reject the proposed change window. If you need to reject it for any reason, please provide a reason for a rejection or another alternate date and time that works for you.

You may add a comment to the original RFC request and the assigned Support Manager can contact you.

In BMC Support Central > Case Management and select the Change Calendar option to see your scheduled change in the calendar view. If the RFC is not yet scheduled, you can view it under Case Management Details menu. This menu displays all requests that you have submitted, including incidents, service requests, and change requests. Various filtering options are available from the list view.

In BMC Support Central > Case Management, select Change Calendar. This option displays a calendar view of all scheduled (past 90 days plus future) changes.

Additional resources from BMC

For additional information that you might find helpful, use the following links:

  • BMC Helix ITSM and Remedy IT Service Management documentation index:  BMC Helix ITSM and Remedy IT Service Management Open link
  • BMC Helix Digital Workplace Advanced product documentation:  BMC Helix Digital Workplace Advanced Open link   
  • BMC Client Management product documentation:  BMC Client Management Open link
  • BMC Helix Discovery product documentation:  BMC Helix Discovery Open link  
  • BMC Communities: BMC Helix Community Open link
  • BMC Educational Services:  BMC Helix ITSM Suite Training Open link
  • www.bmc.com BMC Helix Open link
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Comments

  1. Tim Mccue

    Hi

    Directed a customer to this page and links don't work please for registering for the support portals 

    How do I register for access to the portal?

    To register for access to the portal, see Registering for the support portals. N

    -Tim

    Apr 29, 2021 10:00
  2. Martha Mulvaney

    Thanks Tim. The link is now updated.

    Apr 29, 2021 11:12
  3. Jose Vargas

    Hi, Who can help me out with the following customer's question in our SaaS service (Helix environment): Describe the secure erasure measures for the destruction of data when they are no longer necessary in the service, specifying the tools or systems used.

    Mar 14, 2023 02:21
    1. Dhanya Menon

      Hello Jose, 

      Please see this link: Data extraction. I hope this answers your questions.

      Let us know if you need more information.

      Thanks,

      Dhanya

      Mar 15, 2023 01:30