IBM recently released a new version of Systems Director. In this blog, I'll provide highlights of the enhancements included in the new version that might be of interest to Power users.
A new release of IBM Systems Director—version 6.3.3—was recently released. In this blog entry, I'll share some of the new and updated features of the release that might be of interest to Power users.
The ability to create a storage LUN and zone it to a designated host was added back in version 6.3.2 as a Create Storage Volume task. This function requires a pre-zoned environment plus storage+SAN management, and it's only supported for LPARs that have been configured with Fibre Channel adapters.
In version 6.3.3, Smart Zoning capability was added to the aforementioned Create Storage Volume task. With this addition, zoning will be enabled if it's not already enabled, a zoneset will be created if one doesn't already exist, and if one doesn't exist for host and storage, one will be created. For this capability to work, the user must have administrator privileges or, at a minimum, permission for fabric/zoning.
The Common Agent for AIX and VIOS systems has been enhanced so that the registration state of the managed endpoint is preserved when the agent is updated. This means that if the endpoint is currently registered and being managed by a Systems Director server, then that registration information will be maintained across the agent package upgrade.
With previous versions of the Common Agent, occasionally the installation of the agent would hang due to delays at the start of the agent. The latest version of the Common Agent includes a change to the endpoint.sh startup script that adds a 300-second wait to allow the agent to start.
IBM i Enhancements
The monitor view for IBM i has been improved to increase performance (in an upcoming blog, I'll walk through the various monitors that are provided in Systems Director for IBM i). An additional enhancement in this version of Systems Director is in the area of update management. Systems Director 6.3.3 lets users compare PTF levels between two systems. The function is started by selecting Inventory, Compare Installed Fixes from one of the two systems:
In the next step, the system to compare is selected. Once both systems have been specified, a report showing the PTF levels of both systems is displayed:
Keep in mind that the results of the comparison will only be as valid as the last inventory that was collected for each system, so it's a good idea to perform an inventory collection prior to the PTF compare. Also, the Systems Director team in IBM Lab Services has developed a script that supports comparison of multiple IBM i systems against a designated “master” system, so if you need to compare more than two systems, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inventory collection has also been improved. In Systems Director 6.3.3, when inventory is collected on a host, an inventory collection on all of the hosted LPARs is collected as well. Prior to version 6.3.3, the inventories had to be collected separately. In addition, when possible, inventory collections will occur concurrently rather than single-threaded to improve the overall performance of the inventory collection function.
The past several releases of Systems Director have supported either local authentication (i.e., authentication using the OS credential facilities that Systems Director is installed on) or authentication integrated with LDAP services.
Systems Director supports five LDAP servers for performing credential validation:
- Microsoft Active Directory
- Tivoli Director Server
- Oracle Director Server
- Microsoft ADAM
Prior to version 6.3.3, integrating Systems Director with the LDAP server required users to make a number of manual changes to the security.propeties file. Now a utility (cfgusereg.sh) helps to configure the properties file.
The latest version of Systems Director includes a sample file for each type of supported LDAP server, and each file includes pre-defined filters. Only the hostname, port, username, password, and base parameter of the LDAP server have to be added to the sample file. In addition, the latest version of Systems Director includes a utility (cfguserreg.sh) that's used both to perform the configuration and—perhaps more importantly—to test the configuration settings. Be on the lookout for an upcoming blog entry that will go over the LDAP integration in greater detail.
Additional Systems Director Enhancements
In addition to the enhancements included in Systems Director 6.3.3 that I covered here, there are also enhancements in support of xSeres resources, Flex systems, and Service and Support Manager. In my next blog entry, I'll show you how to install the latest version of Systems Director.