Manage and monitor IBM SmartCloud resources from your mobile device

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Mobile, social, and cloud are the three hottest trends in information technology today, and IBM is bringing these technologies together with IBM SmartCloud mobile applications for iPhone, iPad, and BlackBerry devices.

Using these applications, which are currently technology previews, you can monitor your IBM SmartCloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) resources anywhere, anytime to gain greater insight into consumption and costs.

You can also download and email command output and logs from running instances, and record virtual machine instance expiration time to your calendar. With this capability, you can share information about your cloud resources with colleagues.

In this post, I show you how to:

  • Request access to the IBM SmartCloud Innovation Center sandbox environment.
  • Install the mobile application from the BlackBerry App World.
  • Provision and access a DB2 server instance using the BlackBerry app.
  • Monitor Linux operating system processor, memory, and disk usage.
  • Start DB2 if it is not running, execute diagnostic commands, and email the output.

Request access to the IBM SmartCloud Innovation Center

You first need an account in the IBM SmartCloud Innovation Center (hereafter referred to as the Innovation Center, or IC). This is an experimental environment separate from the production IBM SmartCloud Enterprise and used as a sandbox for innovation in IBM cloud computing solutions.

Request access to the IC by using the Request access today link to fill out a boarding survey. A representative will respond with information about how to complete the trial registration process.

Install the BlackBerry application

Next, download the BlackBerry application from BlackBerry App World (pre-installed most BlackBerry devices. An iOS version will also be in the iTunes App Store soon).  A search for “SmartCloud” will help you locate the application for installation.

You can also preview the catalog listing through a standard web browser here. The following screen capture shows the name, description, prerequisites, and version information. Version 5.9 is the most recent release.

Provision and access a virtual machine instance from the application

After you have installed the application, launch it and log in with the credentials you created when you registered for the IC. This screen alerts you of any current outages or maintenance windows. It also provides a link to the online documentation where you can find help with the application or the Innovation Center.

The first screen you will see after logging in is your instance listing, which at this point will be empty. We need to create a key pair that we can use to access virtual machines from the mobile device (and that we can later export for use on other SSH clients).

Select the Keys menu item, click Generate key pair and give it a name. “ToC” is what I used for this example.

Now, select Images and add a new instance of the “DB2 Express-C CR” image.

Select the key pair you generated and name the instance “DB2 Command and Report”. Submit the instance request and select the Instances screen to track as it moves from the request to active after the short provisioning process.

Monitor Linux operating system processor, memory, and disk usage

After the instance is active, select it to see instance details and the basic operating system statistics for memory and disk usage, along with the processor load average over the past 15 minutes.

You can also add the instance expiration date to your calendar to notify you when the instance will be deprovisioned so that you can better plan how long you require access to it and remember to extend reservation time if needed.

Verify that DB2 is running and execute diagnostic commands

For this particular virtual machine, the image author has taken advantage of a feature of the image catalog description file to expose commands and reports relevant to DB2 users.

I can see that DB2 is running (the status report shows that it is “Up”) and I have buttons to stop DB2, back up my databases, or run three commands that generate output: db2diag, db2advis, and db2mtrk.

The set of screen captures above shows the output of db2mtrk (the DB2 Memory Tracker utility), which I then can email from my device to share with colleagues.

Learn more about the apps and give us your feedback

The mobile applications for the IBM SmartCloud Innovation Center provide always-on, anywhere, anytime access to your cloud resources for better insight into usage and more control over costs.

To learn more about the innovation behind these mobile apps, check out the white paper and short video on the IBM SmartCloud Innovation Center home page. The video will provide more information about where to go for help, how to report bugs, or to suggest improvements.

Request access to the IBM SmartCloud Innovation Center to get started today!

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