|CSF Scripting Tool from Maxava Helps Automate Repetitive Tasks|
|Analysis - Analysis of News Events|
|Written by Chris Smith|
|Friday, 06 May 2011 00:00|
Combined with a remote mobile system management tool, users can oversee their backups from beneath the shade of a beach umbrella.
The underlying idea behind mobile computing is to give people the tools to make better use of their time, regardless of where they happen to be—in the car, on a plane, or waiting for a delayed flight (as I am now while writing this article). Mobile devices, however, have limited functionality. Thus, applications running on mobile devices will likely have to change to make computing simpler. High availability provider Maxava appears to be well ahead of the power curve on this user trajectory.
After last year's introduction of maxView, the mobile app that allows users to check the status of their replicated systems, Maxava this year enhanced their offering to include interaction and system control with the mobile solution. Recognizing it may be difficult to accurately type in a series of critical commands using an iPad, the company has built a menu-driven command scripting tool that allows users to create, save, and automatically run a sequence of any native IBM i commands—or scripts—to perform more complex tasks on the iSeries. Combine remote access with a scripting function, and you can do even a delicate failover or role swap while you're working on your tan at the beach Sunday afternoon.
Visiting the COMMON Expo in the Minneapolis Convention Center this week, I met with Maxava's technical specialist, Mark Crosby. Crosby is the architect behind Maxava's latest scripting tool, Command Scripting Function (CSF). This appears to be a really neat little utility that comes with Maxava's latest enterprise high-availability product, Maxava HA Enterprise+. Sort of a shell, Command Scripting Function allows an operator to combine a series of CL commands into one menu-driven executable that is easy to create and maintain, performs complex tasks, yet requires no programming or recompiling. Deploy it with Maxava's new maxView Manager, and you have a nifty and powerful combination that puts you on the golf course with your boss instead of locked away in the bowels of IT in front of a console executing backup commands one prompt at a time.
"Say you want to perform a simple task like a backup," says Crosby. "You first have to shut down your [HA] replication so you have no activity on the database. Then you can do your save and finally start the configuration backup. You do this enough times, and pretty soon you recognize the need for a small set of commands that will perform a repeated procedure," he says. "Normally, a user would write a simple little CL program, or the operator has to repeat the same command over and over. The more often you do it, the more benefit you would derive from being able to call a program that performs the entire task. With CSF, you simply list all the CL commands you would run individually and let it execute each one automatically."
While running high availability software, you have to follow a number of steps before you can perform a backup. When you're attempting a failover or role swap, the number of steps becomes even more complicated and is compounded by having both source and target machines. For a backup using Command Scripting Function, you might drop in native commands to vary on the tape drive, initialize tape, save libraries A-G, and then perhaps display object print to provide an output file. To run it, you simply run a Maxava command that calls the script procedure. The utility has a logging feature that allows you to display what it has done so far, and an error-handling function so if any of the command lines contains a mistake, the operator either can keep going or, if it's a critical error, tell it to stop. Once the error has been reviewed and/or corrected, the routine can be restarted from the point where it was stopped rather than having to restart it from the beginning as would be needed with a real program.
"If it's done 20 lines of commands, and it fails on the 21st line, you can either say start on the 22nd line, and miss that altogether, or repair that line and tell it to restart from an earlier line," says Crosby.
The utility was introduced as a PTF to existing Maxava HA Enterprise customers a few months back, and the response was highly enthusiastic, Crosby says. It's now being included with the Enterprise+ version, a free upgrade for customers already on maintenance.
While many COMMON attendees who stopped by the Maxava booth had questions about CSF, we suspect that once users understand what this little utility does and how simple and effective it is, they will want to try the tool for a variety of tasks. Combined with maxView Manager, it makes a compelling reason to upgrade to Enterprise+ for any company that might be on the fence about whether to go with the SMB or Enterprise+ version of Maxava's high availability solution.
as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7, V6R1
|Last Updated on Friday, 06 May 2011 00:00|