April 10, 2014 1 Comment
Kelly Schlamb , DB2 pureScale and PureData Systems Specialist, IBM
I’m a command line kind of guy, always have been. When I’m loading a presentation or a spreadsheet on my laptop, I don’t open the application or the file explorer and work my way through it to find the file in question and double click the icon to open it. Instead, I open a command line window (one of the few icons on my desktop), navigate to the directory I know where the file is (or will do a command line file search to find it) and I’ll execute/open the file directly from there. When up in front of a crowd, I can see the occasional look of wonder at that, and while I’d like to think it’s them thinking “wow, he’s really going deep there… very impressive skills”, in reality it’s probably more like “what is this caveman thinking… doesn’t he know there are easier, more intuitive ways of accomplishing that?!?”
The same goes for managing and monitoring the systems I’ve been responsible for in the past. Where possible, I’ve used command line interfaces, I’ve written scripts, and I’ve visually pored through raw data to investigate problems. But inevitably I’d end up doing something wrong, like miss a step, do something out of order, or miss some important output - leaving things not working or not performing as expected. Over the years, I’ve considered that part of the fun and challenge of the job. How do I fix this problem? But nowadays, I don’t find it so fun. In fact, I find it extremely frustrating.Things have gotten more complex and there are more demands on my time. I have much more important things to do than figure out why the latest piece of software isn’t interacting with the hardware or other software on my system in a way it is supposed to. When I try to do things on my own now, any problem is immediately met with an “argh!” followed by a google search hoping to find others who are trying to do what I’m doing and have a solution for it.
When I look at enterprise-class systems today, there’s just no way that some of the old techniques of implementation, configuration, tuning, and maintenance are going to be effective. Systems are getting larger and more complex. Can anybody tell me that they enjoy installing fix packs from a command line or ensuring that all of the software levels are at exactly the right level before proceeding with an installation of some modern piece of software (or multiple pieces that all need to work together, which is fairly typical today)? Or feel extremely confident in getting it all right? And you’ve all heard about the demands placed on IT today by “Big Data”. Most DBAs, system administrators, and other IT staff are just struggling to keep the current systems functioning, not able to give much thought to implementing new projects to handle the onslaught of all this new information. The thought of bringing a new application and database up, especially one that requires high availability and/or scalability, is pretty daunting. As is the work to grow out such a system when more demands are placed on it.
It’s for these reasons and others that IBM introduced PureSystems. Specifically, I’d like to talk here about IBM PureData System for Transactions. It’s an Expert Integrated System that is designed to ensure that the database environment is highly available, scalable, and flexible to meet today’s and tomorrow’s online transaction processing demands. These systems are a complete package and they include the hardware, storage, networking, operating system, database management software, cluster management software, and the tools. It is all pre-integrated, pre-configured, and pre-tested. If you’ve ever tried to manually stand up a new system, including all of the networking stuff that goes into a clustered database environment, you’ll greatly appreciate the simplicity that this brings.
The system is also optimized for transaction processing workloads, having been built to capture and automate what experts do when deploying, managing, monitoring, and maintaining these types of systems. System administration and maintenance is all done through an integrated systems console, which simplifies a lot of the operational work that system administrators and database administrators need to do on a day-to-day basis. What? Didn’t I just say above that I don’t like GUIs? No, I didn’t quite say that. Yeah, I still like those opportunities for hands-on, low-level interactions with a system, but it’s hard not to appreciate something that is going to streamline everything I need to do to manage a system and at the same time keep my “argh” moments down to a minimum. The fact that I can deploy a DB2 pureScale cluster within the system in about an hour and deploy a database in minutes (which, by the way, also automatically sets it up for performance monitoring) with just a few clicks is enough to make me love my mouse.
IBM has recently released some white papers and solution briefs around this system and a couple of them talk to these same points that I mentioned above. To see how the system can improve your productivity and efficiency, allowing your organization to focus on the more important matters at hand, I suggest you give them a read:
The four strategies as described in these papers, that talk to the capabilities of PureData System for Transactions, are:
- Simplify and accelerate deployment of high availability clusters and databases
- Streamline systems management
- Reduce maintenance time and risk
- Scale capacity without incurring downtime
I suspect that I won’t be changing my command line and management/maintenance habits on my laptop and PCs any time soon, but when it comes to this system, I’m very happy to come out of my cave.