Tivoli Storage Productivity Center and Me
Well...here I go! I wanted to provide some background information about myself before diving into this blog.
I'm Johanna Hislop. I've spent 14 years with IBM and over 10 of that has been with storage management software. I am part of the development team for the IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center application. More specifically, I am a lead for the level 3 support team delivering fix packs and other maintenance to the field.
I have a wide breadth of knowledge regarding Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, affectionately referred to as TPC by many, but my biggest interest lies in the fabric side of things. I've worked closely with the major switch vendors over the years and thoroughly enjoy getting hands-on time with the switches. I love solving problems and the challenge of new configurations and getting things to work. I also l enjoy low-level Fibre Channel traces. That's a carry-over from my previous job on a hard disk drive development and test team, but it has come in handy for SAN management in general.
The intention of this blog is to share interesting news, activities and other random tidbits regarding Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. I hope you'll find the content of interest to you.
Fix pack 2 for Tivoli Storage Productivity Center version 4.2.1 was released to the field two weeks ago. You can see the various APAR fixes and currency updates for it documented on the support site. One of the featured items is a currency update to support XIV 10.2.4. With each XIV firmware level picked up and supported by Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, the available performance metrics have increased. With XIV 10.2.4, they have increased significantly. We've updated the InfoCenter for 4.2.1 to reflect the additional metrics available based on XIV firmware levels.
I don't want to duplicate all the details of the InfoCenter, because that's your official go-to spot for this, but here is a sampling of some of the new metrics.
Have you installed the DB2 Enterprise Server Edition 9.7 that came with Tivoli Storage Productivity Center version 4.2.0 or 4.2.1 physical media or eAssembly packages only to find that it is missing the license? If so, you might be wondering why this is or where you can get it.
Where is the license?
With the latest versions of Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, the DB2 Enterprise Server 9.7 installation image does not include the license required. Rather, the license is available as a separate part that can be downloaded and activated, following the directions provided with the keys. Knowing that it is separate step will save you from trouble as you work through the installation.
If you are viewing one of the the download docs on the Tivoli Storage Productivity Center support site, you can see that the new part number (CZ381ML) for DB2 Enterprise Server Edition, Version 9.7 Quick Start Guide and Activation Keys has been added. This is what you'll need for adding the license to DB2 9.7.
Download and Activate!
The main DB2 installation is no different than what is documented in the Tivoli Storage Productivity Center documentation. Once DB2 is installed, you're ready to follow the activation directions provided in the downloaded QuickStart Guide. This is a general DB2 procedure for activating a license. Soon you will be on your way to installing Tivoli Storage Productivity Center 4.2.1 with your new DB2 9.7.
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In 2000 I was looking for a job change within IBM. I had been working on protocol testing for IBM's fibre channel hard disk drives for a couple years and had an idea that I wanted to get into Java programming. It seemed like all the cool kids were doing it. At the end of the year I made the transition to a new team and went to work on IBM's (Tivoli) storage management software. It was a great fit and a way to leverage the fibre channel and SAN knowledge I had. However, the Java programmer thing never really panned out. I think that was for the best anyway!
As I settled into the new area, I moved to a new office that I shared with a girl. One of the first things she did was "warn" me about Dave. By warn, I mean she told me to watch out for him because he was going to give me a lot of work! He was notorious for asking for difficult or time consuming tasks that may result in you needing to stay late. Sure enough...in not too long I was tied up on the phone working late with him.
For the past 11 years, Dave has challenged me as we continued to work together on Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, he as an architect and me as level 3 development support. There was a lot of mutual respect and I appreciated how he valued my opinions based on my customer experiences and would regularly ask for my input while making architectural decisions. With Dave across the hall from me, I didn't feel so remote from the rest of the team members, who are spread across various sites across the globe. We would bounce questions and ideas off of each other and really didn't even have to get out of our chairs. We may have driven the couple people in the offices next to us crazy! It made work fun.
Dave was young, but he passed away last week. The empty office across from me feels even emptier now that I know he won't be coming back. I miss him for his technical expertise, his patience, his ability to strongly persuade in a very positive way, but most of all I just miss him being around and part of my work day. Peace and strength to his family and all who knew Dave.
This is the first of a multi-part series of posts related to using Cisco switches with Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. This one addresses the various agents used for discovering fabric information and how they work together to provide that information.
Out-of-band Fabric Agent (also known as SNMP agent)
Storage Resource Agent (Inband Fabric Agent - prior to TPC 4.2.1)
Now what do I want to deploy?
My recommendations for agent deployments with Cisco fabrics vary based on customer needs.
There are a lot of options and I'll pursue some of those in detail with later posts in this series. Here are some basic recommendations to break all of this information down as simply as possible for quickest deployment. You can use these individual entries to determine the combination of agents best suited for your environment.
Switch performance monitoring
switch support matrices
switch zoning capabilities by vendor
Tivoli Storage Productivity Center supports a broad range of devices and configurations. We list out a lot of them in the Supported Products and Supported Platforms documents. But what about the ones not in this list? We know it's not an all-encompassing list. Maybe you have a newer version of firmware, a new storage device, a different switch, or a different operating system configuration. Maybe you've been told that it isn't supported.
You have an option!
Let your voice be heard and your request be documented for review by product management and development. Within developerWorks, there is an RFE Community. Here you can collaborate with development teams and other product users through your ability to search, view, comment on, vote for, watch, submit, and track product requests for enhancement (RFEs).
If you have a new request, fill out the form and submit it. Other users may find it and vote on it if it is something that interests them. They can add comments if they need to express more details. Maybe you'll find someone already submitted a request for what you're looking for. You can add comments and vote on it. Ideally, the submission and voting should provide field input to show areas for product management to consider.
Maybe you've already told your advocate about your needs. That's good, but the RFE process officially tracks the requests and provides feedback whether the request is being considered. It also gives other users the chance to join you in expressing that need.
We want to hear about what you need.
The RFE process is still fairly new for Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, but it is proving effective already at bringing in field requirements. Takes some time and browse the open requests and think about what enhancements you really need. We welcome the feedback.
The IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) is an industry leading Storage Resource Management software. An IBM Tivoli team is designing and developing the next generation of this cutting edge product and wants your participation in the beta program for this product. This beta program will provide product code and documentation on a download site, provide online support along with meetings with TPC development. If you are interested in participating please complete a sign-up form at this site: https://www-304.ibm.com/software/support/trial/cst/forms/nomination.wss?id=4620
Whether you're new to Tivoli Storage Productivity Center or you've been using it for years, this is your opportunity to sign up. Don't miss your chance to get an early look at the product and provide feedback.
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I traveled to Taipei, Taiwan in December. I left home on a Monday and then left Taiwan on the following Monday. It was the return trip that, due to crossing the international date line, created my longest Monday ever. It also created a unique claim that I can make. More on that in a bit.
My husband was sent multiple times this fall to Taipei this fall for work, a couple weeks at a time. I decided to take advantage of that and joined him for part of his third trip back in December. Using frequent flyer miles, I got my roundtrip plane ticket for $37. I was excited about that, but it also ended up meaning that I didn't have the most direct set of flights to get there. Roughly 33 hours of travel time in each direction. Yowza! Not the direct route. After a rocky start with flights in and out of Dallas cancelled, I amazingly made it through the rest without issue.
Rochester -> Chicago -> Dallas -> Los Angeles -> Honolulu -> Taipei
Since my husband was there working, and I was short on vacation days, I planned on working some of the time out of the IBM office in Taipei. I love how I can get my job done from any location. The IBM office is conveniently located next to Taipei 101, Taiwan's tallest skyscraper and currently the third tallest in the world. The elevator goes from floor 5 to the observatory on floor 89 in 37 seconds. It's cool. One of the interesting things about working in the Taipei office was that at certain times in the day the intercom played music or all of the lights just shut off for a minute or so. Apparently it's an indicator for break times and lunch. My husband wouldn't let me go to lunch the first day until after the lights had shut off. Wait for it....wait for it...OK! Now we can go.
Luckily it wasn't all work, and I found plenty of time to see and do a lot while I was there. We regularly visited the bakeries and sampled pastries, visited night markets, ate dumplings at Din Tai Fung (I especially loved the Xiao Long Bao), went to the zoo, saw temples and generally wandered around taking in the city and trying to not get run over by traffic. One of my favorite activities was an all day tour to Taroko Gorge National Park. We took a short flight to the eastern side of the island, got on a bus and escaped from the city for a day among mountains and marble canyons. It was beautiful.
And then it was Monday again and time to go home. I turned in my visitor badge at the IBM office on Monday afternoon, went out to eat one last time and then headed to the airport. As my flight landed in Honolulu (Monday morning *again* after the 9 hour flight), I had a text from my coworker Norio, who I had yet to meet even after working together for years. We had arranged to meet up during my layover. He found me in the international arrival area and greeted me with a beautiful lei. It was awesome. We had lunch, talked a little L3 support shop and stopped by the nearby IBM office for a bit. It was now Monday afternoon again. I had now been to 2 different IBM offices in 2 different countries and continents all in the same afternoon! I found that slightly amusing. And even more odd since this wasn't a work trip. As we walked through the office, Norio tried to tell me he didn't work *on* the beach and that the traffic wasn't so great, but the view out of the window at the office was pretty nice and you could see the nearby ocean and a bit of the beach. I'm not feeling too bad for him. ;) It was a beautiful sunny day and I'm so glad he took the time to get me out of the airport to enjoy it a little before I had to head home to sub-zero temperatures.
After that, the rest of the trip was about getting home, but there's one last fun fact. I left Taipei at 7:40 pm on Monday. My husband left at 9:40 am on Tuesday with a completely different airline. He arrived in Rochester 20 minutes ahead of me! However, he did not get to enjoy an afternoon in Hawaii like I did.
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Tivoli Storage Productivity Center 188.8.131.52 was released to the field on Friday Dec 20th and is available on Fix Central. It contains numerous APAR and defect fixes along with currency updates. Use this to update your system if you're not quite ready to make the jump to Tivoli Storage Productivity Center 5.2.0.
These handy reference links address many of the questions I'm asked on a daily basis. I reference them often in my own work and you may find them helpful too.
This is by no means an all inclusive list of important support documents. Rather, it's a good starting point. I highly recommend bookmarking some of these and using the support portals for searching out additional information, such as APARs, for your troubleshooting or planning activities.
Are there any other Tivoli Storage Productivity Center pages that you use on a regular basis?
Don't forget that you can always rate or provide anonymous feedback at the bottom of the support pages. I personally receive all of the feedback comments for content that I have created and must disposition it. I take the comments seriously and strive for continuous improvement.
Every January I am reminded specifically of January 6, 1997. I was 21 years old and fresh out of college with a computer science degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. IBM had hired me and I showed up at the IBM site in Rochester, MN for my first day of work. I still remember exactly what I wore that day! I must have stressed over finding the right mix of professional and casual while still staying within my meager college budget. (BTW...There's no photo from my first day. The one on the right is of me in my office in 1999. It's the oldest work photo I could find.)
As I sit back and think about that day, I have to realize it has been 17 years. 17 years! That's 4 years away from having spent half of my life at IBM. Whoa! Did I think I would still be here 17 years later? Maybe. Have things changed? Certainly. Change is inevitable.
But what have I done with that time?
Unlike some people, I haven't hopped between jobs at IBM. I've worked in two main areas during this time.
1997 - 2000
My early years were spent in a lab doing hands on activities with hard disk drives. I remember having a dream (or was it a nightmare?) about installing Windows 95 from a *huge* stack of floppies. I guess I had done that too often as part of a test setup during the week! I started with performance tests for the 2.5" form factor IDE drive for laptops and eventually moved on to testing SCSI and Fibre Channel hard disk drives. This is where I learned to love the Finisar FC analyzer. I eventually ended up working closely with the developers writing low level protocol test cases to test their implementations. Shortly after I moved out of that team, that business was sold to Hitachi.
As a young employee, I especially remember getting to go on "business trips". I really hadn't traveled much prior to working at IBM. This gave me opportunitis for first visits to a number of states and countries, first rental cars, and more. One of my favorite trips was getting to spend 2 weeks in Japan working with the hard disk drive development team.
And then I moved on to a new challenge.
2001 - present
Although I enjoyed many aspects of what I was doing, I had an idea that I wanted to become a Java programmer and I wanted to work on user interfaces. I joined a new team at IBM that was just about to release the very first version (1.0!) of their storage management product. For those that remember, it was Tivoli Storage Network Manager and involved Tivoli Netview and things like MQ Series. After several product overhauls and framework changes, you get to Tivoli Storage Productivity Center as it is today. Just ask anyone who has been involved ad you'll hear that it has come a *long* way. We recently released Tivoli Storage Productivity Center 5.2 to the field, and the differences are amazing.
I didn't initially land in level 3 support, but I have always been involved in the fabric aspects of the product. I've worked on licensing, acted as a vendor liaison for standards implementations, handled tool implementations, worked on the ibm.com support site content for Tivoli Storage Productivity Center and its predecessors, handled fabric PMRs for our product, provided on site support for customers, led a team of support engineers delivering fixes for all areas of our product, handled security vulnerabilities, coordinated maintenance deliveries and more. In fact, I still do most of that today! I even get the opportunity to look at a Finisar FC trace every now and then and I like it.
Although some things don't seem to change, I've always loved the "you never know what you're going to get" part of support. It changes day to day and always brings a new challenge. I love troubleshooting and digging into problems. Tivoli Productivity Center and our team have grown since the early days and I've grown immensely with it. There's so much more I want to accomplish within level 3 development support and with Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. Changes to the web GUI with Tivoli Storage Productivity Center 5.2 show potential with improved usability and new functionality. I'm also looking out for the best support experience we can provide.
Here's to another year!
Recently, IBM celebrated 100 years and the Rochester site celebrated 50 years. My 17 is just a drop in the bucket. :)
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IBM is looking for customers and business partners who are interested in participating in a beta program for IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center (VSC)/Tivoli Productivity Center (TPC).
To enroll in this beta program, please take this link: https://www-304.ibm.com/software/support/trial/cst/forms/nomination.wss?id=5405
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