My group's infrastructure manager (let's call him Jon) Sametimed me the other day, and asked when I'd be able to give up my desktop server.
My physical server is an old ThinkCentre, 8 GB RAM, Windows 2008 Server, Maximo 7.1, Oracle 11g. This server has been good for me over the past five years. No matter how many times it lost power, it came up like a champ. Sometimes I had to turn on the Oracle Listener, but that's all part of doing the job. Then there was the time the hard drive just up and died. But I had a backup, and plenty of DVDs with the products I needed to install to get it up and running. Fixed in a week. How could I give it up?
Jon said he'd be able to get me a new Virtual Machine to replace it - what specs did I need?
I shot for the moon: 32 GB RAM, 500 GB HD, quadcore processor.
Hmm, no, responded Jon. Let's be more realistic.
Well, what then? He tells me. It will be better than what I have now. Plus I'll get some extra desk space when the old ThinkCentre is gone.
Now, I'm not a novice to VMs. I've been using 3 VMs in our vCells for a few years now in addition to my ThinkCentre. Since I'm in Maximo Systems, I need servers. A bunch of them. I need to test dozens of installs, apply multiple configurations. I use it to walk through my own setup while guiding a customer on the phone. I take screenshots for tech notes.
Maximo isn't just one product. And we have multiple versions to support. For starters, Maximo runs on two web application servers, three databases and two LDAP directory servers. And we have add-ons, industry solutions, clustering, process isolation (like reporting on its own servers). I need to know how something's going to install. What does it look like to the customer? How long does it take? How hard is it to follow our install instructions?
Basically, I need to have access to a continuous, hands-on Maximo customer experience - a window into what the typical Maximo Asset Management or SmartCloud Control Desk administrator deals with every day. That's what these VMs give me.
Still, I hesitated. The physical server has its advantages. I don't have to open a Remote Desktop session to get to it, and if there's a big problem, I'm the admin and can fix it right away.
But then again, this server is not what it once was. I've been using my other VMs a lot more than this box.
Sure, Jon, I'll do it.
Next day, Jon Sametimes me with the machine specs. Pretty good. Better than the ThinkCentre. I set up a new RDP and log in. A blank slate, a new beginning. I install some standard utilities - Text editor, SQL query tool, LDAP browser.
Then I think about what my desktop server currently does. In addition to a basic Maximo 7.1 installation, it provides several resources for my other Maximo/SCCD configurations:
- Oracle Server with four schemas: SmartCloud Control Desk 7.5, Maximo 18.104.22.168 and Maximo 6.2.8, the latter necessary for upgrade support.
- WebSphere 6.1 server for Maximo 7.1 and two Maximo 6.2 instances
- Application server security enabled for the Maximo 7.1 instance
- Three external hard drives loaded with all of our installation software.
Jon Sametimed me on a Friday. I add IBM's standard software installer, then load on Tivoli Endpoint Manager, IBM Standard Asset Manager and Symantec Endpoint Protection.
Monday would be planning day. Migrating a Maximo server, Part Two