Computer Laboratory

The RT ticketing system

We use a system called RT for problem tracking. RT has several queues such as sys-admin, win-admin etc. When new e-mail is sent to a queue address like sys-admin@cl.cam.ac.uk, the system creates a ticket which is a new record with a unique identifier. The tickets are displayed to sys-admins on a web page which shows unresolved problems and their status. This helps to keep track of correspondence related to particular problems and prevents tickets from being forgotten or languishing un-attended for too long.

The queues

sys-admin
System and network administration in general
unix-admin
Unix/Linux systems administration
win-admin
Windows systems administration
printing
For issues relating to printers and printing
building-services
For anything to do with the building and other physical infrastructure

If you are unsure about which queue to send your item, send it to sys-admin – we can easily move the ticket to a different queue if necessary.

In addition to the above there are other queues which tickets are moved to. For example there is hardware-admin which is a queue to which hardware-related items are moved. In the first instance though all fault reports should go through one of the above listed queues.

It helps us if tickets are each about one distinct item. If you have several requests which are all different and you expect could be dealt with by different people, then please send separate e-mails – it helps us manage the work better.

If you want to send mail to a group of people but don't want to create a ticket for some reason then use the addresses sys-admin-comment, unix-admin-comment etc. These are for messages which are for 'information only' and which do not elicit some specific response from the recipients.

The process

When you first send mail to a queue on a new subject, a ticket is created and you are sent an automatic reply with the ticket reference, e.g. [rt.cl.cam.ac.uk #2830], in the subject line. This should be quoted in the subject line on all further correspondence relating to that matter.

When the new ticket is created, all watchers of the given queue are notified by e-mail. At some point one will take ownership of the ticket and start work on it until it is resolved, whereupon it disappears from the queue. Any resolved ticket can be resurrected by someone sending further correspondence to the queue address with that ticket's identifier in the subject line.

The RT system maintains a history for each ticket on the system (so it is not necessary to quote past correspondence for us when you reply to e-mails sent via RT.) E-mail correspondence is always via RT and will show as being e.g. From: Ian Grant via RT <sys-admin@cl.cam.ac.uk> so replies 'to sender' go via RT and are logged.