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IBM i Automation Blog

What’s In Your To Do List?

Over the years my neighbor has harassed me (it’s really just good-natured ribbing) about my extensive “Honey Do” list. What I never tell him is that I actually work on my own list of projects and priorities—to juggle work, home, coaching, and other responsibilities. And, to avoid forgetting something important, I use sticky notes, checklists, and To Do lists.

It’s a little tougher on a network of IBM i servers—there are a lot of events to deal with. There, you need software like Robot/NETWORK to consolidate events from QSYSOPR, backup processes, job scheduling, high availability, security, hardware, critical resources, and software applications across all IBM i partitions and servers to a single workstation.

It Soon Will Be Easier To Automate An MS SQL Server

Otten, the most common type of server placed next to an IBM i server is a Windows server running Microsoft SQL Server (MS SQL Server). Currently, Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise can automate an MS SQL Server process, but you have to write your own scripts to monitor the process. Soon, we’ll be releasing a Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise enhancement to increase its integration with MS SQL Server.

The Change

This enhancement adds a function that lets you reference your server and control SSIS packages directly from a Robot/SCHEDULE job.

How Long Will It Take? – Part 2

In my last blog, we started discussing the question: “How long will it take to implement automation software?” My definitive answer was: “It depends.” That led to a discussion about the first three steps: Downloading the software; creating automation instructions (rules); and building a task list to keep things organized and prioritized.

What To Automate First?

The next question is, “What type of automation do you implement first?” A good idea is to start with an area that’s easy to automate, and provides fast, early success and positive feedback. Job scheduling and report management are harder to implement—there's just more detail and prerequisite work—than are monitoring and backups. So, I'd say the best place to start is by monitoring messages (QSYSOPR) and system resources. This type of automation is very similar from system to system.

How Long Will It Take?

That question is very fresh in my mind after a visit to a local company in the Minneapolis area. I wonder how many times during my 23 years at Help/Systems I’ve heard: “How long will it take to implement this software?” My answer: “It depends.”

Implementation obviously depends on what areas of the IBM i system you are planning to automate and monitor. For instance, are you just interested in monitoring, or do you really want to automate? Do you want to automate job scheduling, backups, or both? How about report management? Monitor the QSYSOPR message queue? What you want to monitor and automate makes a big difference.

i and Me In St. Louie

This past week, I spent three days in St. Louis, MO visiting customers to learn about their needs and to share the Help/Systems Product Development Roadmap for 2012. Visiting seven customers in three days turned out to make for a busy schedule—I covered more than 250 miles driving from the airport to the hotel, to customer locations, and to dinners (plus a few wrong turns).

The IBM i platform is alive and well in this market. I visited financial and manufacturing companies, a consumer product company, and a service company. Several of these accounts are planning projects involving PowerHA, software replication, security, business intelligence, and automation.