Friday, March 14, 2008

Tivoli Provisioning Manager - Fix Pack 2

I am currently going through the Fix Pack 2 install for TPM (should be the same for TPM for Software) and thought I would make some notes.

The fix became available on June 3rd, but I was too fast on the draw and found out that the files were not uploaded totally. Oops. Then on the 5th, I saw that the files were now quite a bit bigger. Each of the files for the various OSs are about 1.8GB, OUCH!

For the patch information, go to〈=all

The install was quite easy and I did not see any errors. One thing to note, make sure you are logged on as the tioadmin account. This is a lesson I learned when installing FP01. I know the docs say this, but I thought that as Administrator (yes only Windows so far) I should be able to do it. Boy was I wrong. At some point the install of TPM changes the security to various files that does not even allow Administrator access.

So what is new?

Endpoint Tasks
This seemed to be something missing from GA and FP01 that was available in TCM. This allows for the creation of a Task much like we saw in TCM. In fact I think that it is much easier. The basic steps are:
1. Create a script and put it in the LocalFileRepository (and a sub-directory if you want)
2. In the TPM web interface, go to Task Management and there is a new section called Endpoint Tasks.
3. Select Edit -> Create Endpoint Task
4. Enter the task name and description
5. Select the files to send from the repository. You can define different files for different operating systems in the same task.
6. Define and parameters for the task
7. View the summary and then press Finish and the task is ready to go!

One thing to note, this only works if SOA is enabled. In my quick search of the docs, I did not see this as a requirement, but the message I saw when I tried to send without SOA enabled sort of pointed to the problem. The message was "COPDEX123E The workflow threw a NotSupportedInDE exception. The message is This workflow is a template workflow for TMF and TCA EndPointTask only."

"Automatic" agent upgrade
In previous versions, upgrading the TCA was a bit of a pain. Usually it was better just to remove the existing agent and reinstall with the new version. This would obviously be a nightmare in any real environment. So now there is a vorkflow called "TCA_Agent_Upgradeable.wkf" that can be wrapped as a Favorite Task that allows for the upgrading of agents. For the couple workstations I tried this on, the upgrade worked. For more information on the process check out Upgrading the common agent" on Info Center

Patching for HP-UX and AIX
I have not been able to try either of these, but I thought I would list them anyway. I know that AIX patching was there before, but according to people I talked to at the TTUG, it did not work. I was told that FP02 is where you have to be to make this work. HP-UX patching is new though and I am sure that people are looking for this.

Java Web Start for the Software Package Editor (SPE)
This is a nice improvement. Now you do not need to have Eclipse installed on your computer to use the SPE.

You do require Java to be install with the minimum level of 1.4.2. Once Java is installed, open your web browser and go to "https://:9045/SPEWebStart/spe.jnlp". This will start the Java Web Start, download the required files and then start the SPE. Once the SPE is started, you will have to go to the Settings -> Preferences to configure the Web Server Name, port and path. You will also have to configure if you are using SSL and default paths to use. Check out Launching and configuring the Software Package Editor on Info Center for more information.

New SOAP commands for Packaging
Some new SOAP commands were created to allow for the creation, distribution, install and uninstall of a software package. There does not seem to be much information in the docs about this yet. The only one I have found is around creating the SPB. I will keep looking and post more later.

Unified Patch Management
You can now manage patches in TCM from TPM and be rid of that "Automation Server" that TCM used. This is a possible scenario that I can see using TPM as a first entry point. I personally think that the patch management facility works fairly well in TPM. The one that came with TCM was a real pain to install and use. So by implementing TPM and importing your TCM environment into TPM you can manage all the patches from TPM and still do all the other stuff from TCM.

Note: This is only for Windows right now.

Defects Fixed
There are around 720 defects that have been fixed! For a complete listing, go to

Extra Notes
Now that I have FP02 installed, it is time to start working through some of the features in more detail. Hopefully this blog has given you a little help in seeing what is new.

I see that IBM is putting a lot of work in this product and I think they are making progress in many areas.

The one area that still needs work is the installer. Unfortunately, this cannot be addressed in a fix pack. I have heard rumors that there will be a new installer in the next version (5.2??), but these are only rumors.

Some things that I see help improve the success of an install are pre-installing the DB2 and WebSphere products. These seem to be the two trouble areas, especially if you are using machines that are not up to the minimum requirements (like a test lab).

I also think that a fully manual process should be available to install TPM. I have done this and pretty much got everything to work, but it was a fight as I was working in areas that are not even close to documented. All I can say is thank you VMWare for snapshots :)

So now you are wondering if TPM is ready for your environment. Well here is the straight answer, yes and well no.

If you are new to the Tivoli environment and you want TPM or TCM, go to TPM now. There is no point in using TCM. There are some issues with TPM, but learning TCM now and then learning TPM later is going to really hurt. Learn TPM now, get the users on it and don't look back.

If you are a current TCM user, then I would definitely have TPM in the test lab right now at least. The biggest problem for current TCM users that I have seen is that there has been so many processes built around TCM (web pages, reports, data sharing/use) that it is going to take a long time to move everything over. Also the whole push vs pull thing is a big difference to TCM people. We have spent years managing the client expectations that when we submit something, it will start almost right away. Now with TPM, this is no longer true. There is some configurations that can be done to decrease the waiting (polling) but this can severely impact the performance of the product. So there is going to be quite a bit of work to change these expectations, unless something is done to allow for a "push now" option.

Ok this is enough for now, my fingers are bleeding from all the typing. I will keep you posted on anything I find new and interesting. If you have any questions, feel free to comment or send me an email (martin dot carnegie at gulfsoft dot com)

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