Friday, June 15, 2018

ICD 7.6 Fresh install and config with LDAP authentication configured will fail

We found a problem when installing IBM Control Desk 7.6 on WebSphere and MSSQL where it fails every time if you enable LDAP/AD authentication during the configuration phase of the install. Specifically, you'll see this error in the ConfigTool window:

Apply Deployment Operations-CTGIN5013E: The reconfiguration action deployDatabaseConfiguration failed. Refer to messages in the console for more information.

And if you look in the CTGConfigurationTrace<datetime>.log file, you'll see this error:

SEVERE: NOTE ^^T^Incorrect syntax near the keyword 'null'.
com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerException: Incorrect syntax near the keyword 'null'.
at com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerException.makeFromDatabaseError(SQLServerException.java:216)
at com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerStatement.getNextResult(SQLServerStatement.java:1515)
at com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerPreparedStatement.doExecutePreparedStatement(SQLServerPreparedStatement.java:404)
at com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerPreparedStatement$PrepStmtExecCmd.doExecute(SQLServerPreparedStatement.java:350)
at com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.TDSCommand.execute(IOBuffer.java:5696)
at com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerConnection.executeCommand(SQLServerConnection.java:1715)
at com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerStatement.executeCommand(SQLServerStatement.java:180)
at com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerStatement.executeStatement(SQLServerStatement.java:155)
at com.microsoft.sqlserver.jdbc.SQLServerPreparedStatement.executeQuery(SQLServerPreparedStatement.java:285)
at com.ibm.tivoli.ccmdb.install.common.util.CmnEncryptPropertiesUtil.init(CmnEncryptPropertiesUtil.java:187)
at com.ibm.tivoli.ccmdb.install.common.util.CmnEncryptPropertiesUtil.<init>(CmnEncryptPropertiesUtil.java:101)
at com.ibm.tivoli.ccmdb.install.common.util.CmnEncryptPropertiesUtil.getInstance(CmnEncryptPropertiesUtil.java:141)
at com.ibm.tivoli.ccmdb.install.common.config.database.ACfgDatabase.createCronTask(ACfgDatabase.java:1391)
at com.ibm.tivoli.ccmdb.install.common.config.database.CfgEnableVMMSyncTaskAction.performAction(CfgEnableVMMSyncTaskAction.java:140)
at com.ibm.tivoli.ccmdb.install.common.config.database.ACfgDatabase.runConfigurationStep(ACfgDatabase.java:1108)
at com.ibm.tivoli.madt.reconfig.database.DeployDBConfiguration.performAction(DeployDBConfiguration.java:493)
at com.ibm.tivoli.madt.configui.config.ConfigureSQLServer.performConfiguration(ConfigureSQLServer.java:75)
at com.ibm.tivoli.madt.configui.common.config.ConfigurationUtilities.runDatabaseConfiguration(ConfigurationUtilities.java:540)
at com.ibm.tivoli.madt.configui.bsi.panels.deployment.TpaeDeploymentPanel$RunOperations.run(TpaeDeploymentPanel.java:1550)
at org.eclipse.jface.operation.ModalContext$ModalContextThread.run(ModalContext.java:121)


This happens before the EAR files are built.

The way around this is to select "Use Maximo internal authentication" on the "Configure Application Security" screen of the ConfigTool". Once everything is installed, configured and running, you can then go in and enable J2EE application security for authentication.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

JD-Gui is an invaluable tool for troubleshooting Java applications

If you deal with Java applications, you should get familiar with JD-Gui if you aren't already. JD-Gui (Java Decompile - Graphical User Interface) does exactly what its name states, and it seems downright magical because it shows you source code from compiled Java applications, which can give you amazingly useful insight into how an application is working. Here's a screenshot of it in action, where I'm using it to look at a JAR file that's included with the IBM Control Desk ConfigTool:


All of that information came from just dropping the JAR file onto JD-Gui.

The problem I'm encountering is a SQL error complaining about a syntax error near the keyworkd "null". By looking at the trace file produced and the source code, I've been able to reproduce the exact error message, and I'm 100% confident I know exactly in the code where the error is generated. So instead of just randomly trying different possible solutions, I can focus on the very small number of areas that could be causing this particular problem.

I've been using this tool for years, so I'm not sure what took me so long to write about it.

Monday, June 11, 2018

I definitely recommend installing Linux on Windows

If you've got Windows 10, hopefully you've been able to install a recent update that allows you to enable the Windows System for Linux feature and install a supported Linux distribution from the Microsoft Store. I finally bit the bullet and installed Ubuntu today, and it makes the life of a system administrator MUCH easier. I already had Cygwin installed, but this is just a slightly smoother integration, with many of the tools you need already installed (or available with the normal 'apt' or 'apt-get').

The Ubuntu distribution available in the MS Store even comes with vi with color highlighting for known file types (like html or js), and it's got telnet, ssh, sftp, etc. to make your life easy.

It's been available for a while, and I was hesitant to install it, but now I'm very happy I did.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Amazon Chime is a cheaper and more powerful alternative to WebEx

If you haven't looked at Amazon's different AWS offerings in a while, you definitely should take a look sometime. For example, I stumbled across their Chime web conference service:

https://aws.amazon.com/chime/

and I can report that it's just as reliable and easy as WebEx, but with more capabilities and at a fraction of the cost. Specifically, it's only a maximum of $15 per month per host, with 100 attendees allowed, plus you get a dial-in number (an 800 number is available, but there are additional per-minute charges associated with it).

We had an older WebEx account that was $50 per host per month, so I was very happy to run across this service and to get a minimum of a 70% savings. I say minimum of 70% savings because some of our host accounts were used only at most 2 days per month, which, with Chime, will now only cost a maximum of $6 per month.

High Availability for DB2 on AWS

If you're running an IBM product that requires a DB2 backend, you should really consider running DB2 on AWS. Here's a great article that provides you with the CloudFormation template to set it all up for you very quickly:

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/database/creating-highly-available-ibm-db2-databases-in-aws/

If you're concerned about running your infrastructure in the cloud, please contact us so we can give you the information you need about the tight security and incredible flexibility that AWS provides.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Netcool and other IBM ITSM products upgrades due to Java6 EOS

Problem

IBM has announced End of Support dates for quite a few products in 2018.  In many cases, this stems from the impending end of support for Java 1.6.  You can search for IBM products and the EOS date here: https://www-01.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycle/

Solution

Gulfsoft Consulting can help you move to a supported release in a short time period, or we can get you upgraded to a product with more features (like moving to NOI from Omnibus). We have helped hundreds of clients over the years upgrade and migrate in situations exactly like this.  The typical time needed is a few weeks, not months.  For more information contact:

frank.tate@gulfsoft.com 304 376 6183
mark.hudson@gulfsoft.com 816 517 7179

Details

Some of the products whose support ends in 2018 are:

Product Version EOS Date
IBM Tivoli Monitoring  6.2.2 4/30/2018
IBM Control Desk  7.5.x 9/30/2018
Tivoli Workload Scheduler  8.6.x 4/30/2018
Netcool Operations Insight 1.2, 1.3.x 12/31/2018
Network Mgmt 9.2.x 12/31/2018
OMNIbus 7.4.x 12/31/2018
Impact 6.1.x 12/31/2018
IBM Tivoli Network Manager 3.9.x, 4.1.x 12/31/2018
Netcool Performance Manager 1.3.x 12/31/2018
Netcool Performance Flow Analyzer 4.1.x 12/31/2018
Network Configuration Manager 6.3.x, 6.4.0, 6.4.1  12/31/2018

IBM recommends upgrading to later versions of the products as soon as possible in order to maintain full support. After April 2018, support for Java™ 6 will be limited to usage and known problems with possible updates for critical security fixes through the end of 2018. After April 2018, WebSphere Application Server (WAS) 7 support will be limited to non-Java defects. Support for other components will continue as usual.

More information about Gulfsoft can be found here: https://www.gulfsoft.com/about

Friday, February 23, 2018

We've got a few open time slots for one-on-one meetings at #Think2018

The #Pink18 ITSM conference was a great success for us, and we're now looking forward to #Think2018. It's going to be a jam packed week, but we've still got a few time slots open to schedule sit down discussions with existing and potential clients and partners. Contact Frank (frank.tate@gulfsoft.com) or Mark (mark.hudson@gulfsoft.com) today to set up a 30-60 minute meeting!