Data Center Automation
berenss 1200009PF3 Tags:  servicemanagementconnect automation dcm development provisioning #smc dca tpm 5,623 Views
If you're writing workflows you have no doubt encountered the DCMQuery/Insert/Update functions. They rely on an archaic DCMAccess notation which can be difficult to figure out, especially for very complex queries. The main point is that you start with some known information and from that known you gather new info based on data model relationships. Certain objects have certain relationships and therefore you can link from one item to the next based on this context. Sort of like the game '7-degrees of Kevin Bacon'. Sort of.
To make this job a bit easier you can utilize the DCM object browser tool, available for your download from the ISM library.
The tool relies on the existing DcmObjectMappingsDocument.xml which can be found on the TPM server under the TIO_HOME/xml directory. A simple 'ReadMe.txt' file located in the download zip will help guide you though the configuration and usage of the tool.
example usage picture:
berenss 1200009PF3 Tags:  dca tpm provisioning performance #smc servicemanagementconnect 5,155 Views
I just wanted to take a moment to spread the word about a new performance cookbook resource available from the IBM Service Management (ISM) Library. You can find it here:
This cookbook is based on the latest available version of TPM 7210 and combines all the most recent performance improvements available. Performance areas discussed in the cookbook include:
Grab your copy today!
Should we or shouldn't we?
The typical question of the IT Manager when her/his datacenter automation software releases a new fixpack. This question stems from prior nightmares attempting to deploy fixes that were half-baked, poorly documented and delivered in haste.
I'm not an 'alpha' adopter but I certainly am an early adopter. The reasoning I take into deploying a new fix or new release fixpack is that I want the newest features, I want the bugs corrected - especially if there is a specific one that I'm subscribed to, and I want the latest enhancements in stability and serviceability. This will invariably cause some churn in my current calendar which may in turn force other projects to take a break, downtime will have to be scheduled, and service request tickets opened to alert dependent teams, but that short team pain will always bring a longer term gain.
Further reasons to keep up to date include the following:
To emphasize this point we'll look at the upcoming TPM 7210-IFIX03 release due at the end of October 2012. In it we include a host of fixes and enhancements which improve the overall function and quality of the product. In particular a migration function to upgrade your WebSphere version 6.1 to version 7.0. This is really key for shops that need to keep their web-hosting environments running at the latest technology and security levels. The IFIX03 installation is redesigned as well, moving many of the prior manual steps into scripted pre- and post- installation sections. This is really great and should be a major step forward at alleviating many common maintenance headaches. While you're at it you should also take a moment to register for the upcoming training on this TPM721 IFIX03 release,
The Olympics always bring a strong sense of competition as countries vie for top honors, fueled with nationalism and pure athletic pride on the line. In every sport there is almost always one competitor out in front, willing to wear a target on her/his back, doing the extra training and utilizing his/her resources more effectively when the challenge arises. We admire their grace, strength and success. We desire their quality.
Without launching into a philosophical discussion on quality, I do want to tie the above premise into an IT model: The end result of doing the right work, spending the extra time to plan and design, and implementing the right features will be perceived as a high quality solution.
What I like the most about working at IBM is that we always set the bar high. Sometimes too high - we may set out to create something too vast, too complex with too many variables. While this may not provide us with the quickest or cheapest solution, over time and with the right ingredients, we generally come out with something ground breaking and pack-leading. Quarter after quarter, year after year, decades on, our products tend to shape the market. Other technologies that did not have the right 'stuff', even internal projects which were explored but do not pan out for public consumption, fall by the side and take silver and bronze. With IBM gold is in our blood - just like the Olympic competitor keen to achieve success, our focus on quality and exceeding customer expectations will always lead us to delivering the right products and solutions.
Setting the bar high means that sometimes you will fail to hit your mark, but just like the Olympic athlete on center stage for all the world to see, you would prefer to give it your best with the highest challenge on the line than to sit on the sideline and settle for less.
Proper maintenance of your Provisioning Server is necessary for smooth data center management operations. Without following basic guidelines for disk management and resource handling you can find yourself unable to perform necessary provisioning actions when the time comes.
The key aspect for TPM datacenter performance is the database connection. We do most of our testing and performance baselines using IBM DB2 and as such most of our recommendations are made towards configuring the DB2 management server appropriately. A few key items to review:
For more information on the above and additional TPM maintenance topics, like database backups, WebSphere settings and TPM java configuration for high scale, please review the Support Technical Exchange: TPM721 - Hygiene and Maintenance. For a full video replay of the STE event please follow the link: https://de202.centra.com:443/GA/main/0000007b4703000001371b4729a6a40c
Password: tiv0li ("0" is a zero)
Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment and Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Images documentation is now available in ePub format
Starting from October 14th, Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment and Tivoli Provisioning Manager for Images documentation is available also in ePub format at the following links:
Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment:
EPUB (short for electronic publication) is a free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). Files have the extension .epub. EPUB is designed for reflowable content, meaning that the displayed text can be optimized for the particular display device used by the reader of the EPUB-formatted book, like tablets or e-book readers.
The IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager development team continues to enhance the next release (TPM v8.1) with new features and usability improvements which are targeted for future delivery. We have just announced the availability of our first BETA.
If you are an existing TPM customer or stakeholder and would like to participate in the BETA and provide feedback, please contact Kimberly Mungal (email@example.com) to join the TPM 8.1 Early Access Program.
In How Tivoli Provisioning Manager integrated usability testing in Agile - Part 1 we talked about 3 points on how usability testing fits into the development cycle. In part 2, I will be sharing some other points to make this activity successful.
4. We tested “anything”
For example, we tested various designs to validate the general flow of a task from the business perspective. The feedback received from a design validation session helped us determine the right choices to provide. We also tested draft documentation to identify gaps and to validate the effectiveness of search results.
In addition to testing working code and documentation during usability sessions, our team conducts validation sessions for features that are in the design phase. In these sessions, we are gathering feedback from customers from the start. This way, they are helping to shape the product functions.
5. We involved everybody
For all usability sessions, in-person and remote, our team encourages stakeholders to participate in listen-only mode. This process helps the team understand the customer’s perspective because everybody can see where the users are confused and if they are struggling to complete their tasks.
6. We recorded feedback
Our team uses a wiki to store the information that we collect for each sprint, session, and feature tested. We are using IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) to open defects, to track how many defects have been fixed at any point in time (and for which feature), and to remind us what issues still need to be addressed.
7. We presented results
In the report, we summarize the ratings and overall task success, the positive feedback, and the number of defects opened. We also store this report in the wiki along with the notes from the sessions.
Conclusion: We improved usability
We took the following actions based on usability issues identified in our testing:
The Tivoli Provisioning Manager development team has implemented usability testing in the Agile development process. By allowing customers to experience the product while in development, we are building a strong partnership with our customers to shape the solution that they need.
Here are the main points that we followed to be able to fit formal usability testing into the Agile schedule. By doing so, our team greatly improved the task flow and user interaction for the features tested.
1. We created a team
Our usability team is cross-functional, made up of people who have a "day job” but are also passionate about usability. Our team is composed of: a user interface (UI) developer, a tester, an Information Development (ID) representative, an Outside In Design (OID) representative, and a sponsoring manager.
2. We tested with 4-6 users
Our team conducts 5-6 usability sessions at the beginning of a sprint, each with a single user. We recruit users who are typical for our product: either external customers (existing or new, who are participants in the Early Adoption Program) or internal customers (Level 3 Support, Services, or Sales).
Testing with 5 users is sufficient to reveal 80 percent of the usability issues. This way we received enough feedback on the main flow, and we were able to figure out the top priority issues. For more information about testing with 5 users, see Jakob Nielsen’s article Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users.
3. We tested every sprint
Our team calls the first week of a sprint “the usability week.” Usability sessions are 1.5-2 hours long. Additional time is needed to set up the environment for the session, write the script, and summarize the results. We conduct moderated sessions, both in-person (in the Usability Lab) and remotely (using IBM LotusLive).
By keeping a consistent schedule, we know we are getting feedback from customers every sprint, so we can plan accordingly to fix the issues in a timely manner. After a few sprints of consistent usability testing, it becomes second nature for teams to validate their developed features with users, as shown below.
1. Obtain feedback within first week of sprint. Incorporate feedback into the design.
2. Incorporate usability feedback. Depending on the severity of the problems found, the feedback is applied to the development or the design work.
3. Validate solutions by a combination of internal testing and additional usability tests.
4. Repeat entire cycle every sprint.
In addition, we have other channels of communication with customers, like the EAP forum, where we keep the communication ongoing throughout the development cycle. Forum communication can cover additional topics of discussion, which are not necessarily covered by the usability sessions.
Continue with How Tivoli Provisioning Manager integrated usability testing in Agile - Part 2, where I am sharing some other important points.