Monday, July 15, 2019

JavaScript regular expression trick

Working on a Netcool Impact implementation recently I ran across a feature of JavaScript regular expressions that really impressed me. I'll compare it to a somewhat similar feature/syntax in Perl.

If you need to test a string for a regular expression in Perl, you can do the following:

if ($mystring =~ /my_regular_expression/) ...

That will return true if $string contains the specified regular expression.

In JavaScript, you can invoke the test() method directly on the regular expression (including the leading and trailing "/") with one parameter, which is the string to test. Here's what the equivalent of the above looks like in JavaScript:

if (/my_regular_expression/.test(mystring)) ...

And to test if it doesn't match, the syntax is:

if (!/my_regular_expression/.test(mystring)) ...

That's it. I just thought it was pretty neat.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

APM historical data without a TEMS

IBM APM only directly supports the storage of up to 32 days of data. You've always had the option to store older data in the ITM 6 data warehouse, but setting up an entire ITM 6 infrastructure has always seemed like a whole lot of work. As it turns out, you don't have to set up the entire infrastructure! You oonly have to set up a warehouse proxy agent, summarization and pruning agent and the warehouse database. No TEMS or TEPS, as the WPA and SPA can work in autonomous mode.

Madhavan Vyk recently posted a great article on DeveloperWorks detailing exactly how to configure this:

Monday, May 6, 2019

IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager 1.1 is available with new observers

I've been busy, so I only just now saw that ASM 1.1 was released in April with a bunch of new observers. Observers are used to "observe" individual applications to provide additional data to the topology view(s) in ASM. Here's the download document:

Below is the list of observers from that link. Some that I believe are new are ITNM, BigFix, ServiceNow, New Relic and DynaTrace.

IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v1.1 Docker Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v1.1 Event Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v1.1 ITNM Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v1.1 OpenStack Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v1.1 File Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v1.1 ALM Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 REST Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 TADDM Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 VMWare NSX Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 VMWare vCenter Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 DNS Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 Cisco ACI Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 Kubernetes Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
IBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 IBM Cloud Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
CC16KENIBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 Juniper Contrail Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
CC16LENIBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 ServiceNow Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
CC16MENIBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v.1.1 New Relic Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English 
CC16NENIBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v1.1  BigFix  Inventory Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English
CC16PENIBM Netcool Agile Service Manager v1.1 Dynatrace Observer (asm - Linux 64bit English

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Great Application Dependency Discovery and Mapping Tool

I recently ran across and am blown away by the price and capabilities of their offerings. One of the most difficult challenges in IT is to get application dependency maps in your infrastructure. The biggest hurdle is access to the different systems. Device42 helps ease this problem by providing standalone discovery executables that can be given to system administrators to run themselves. This means that credentials don't NEED to be stored centrally (this is the root of the access problem). Each administrator can simply upload the results of the discovery process.

The tool also lets you drag-and-drop servers into rack configurations, so you can get a real-world visualization of your datacenter.

All of the above is standard in the software from the leaders in this space (BMC ADDM, ServiceNow Discovery, IBM TADDM), but Device42's price just blows the others away. Their pricing page is here: . If you've done any research in the space, you know that the pricing gives you a terrific amount of value.

* Gulfsoft has no relationship with Device42. This opinion is being provided simply because we're so amazed by this application.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

How does an SQL injection attack occur and how can developers guard against it?

I ran across this great YouTube video that shows exactly how to perform an SQL injection attack:

I like the way the author steps through all of the gory details of the attack, including his assumptions, thought processes, etc. It's simply a great tutorial on how a hacker would go about formulating this type of attack. What it doesn't explicitly cover is the list of specific mitigation techniques that can be employed to stop this kind of attack, but you can find that information easily with Google:

There you'll find tons of language-specific solutions to the problem.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Full service cloud providers deliver better, faster, cheaper services (and more of them) than your IT department

Isn't The Cloud just "running my stuff on someone else's hardware"?

In a word, NO! If you're in IT at any level, from individual contributor all the way up to CIO, you need to take the time to really look in-depth at the cloud offerings available today. If you aren't blown away by what's available, then you need to spend more time looking at the capabilities on offer. That's not meant as an insult - it's my honest opinion as a deeply technical consultant who has been in IT for  a very long time. Personally, I would recommend that you look at AWS because they're the leader and have been since Cloud became a thing. They simply have more resources available (documents, videos, tutorials, use cases, case studies, third party tools, etc.) to really show you what they offer, and it's absolutely incredible.

OK, I'm impressed, but my IT department can provide everything we need

You may be getting everything you currently think you need, but I promise you there are more capabilities out there that you just haven't thought of yet because of limitations that exist in your current environment. For example, what reply would you get from this request:

I would like to see a topology graph of all of the server, network, database and security resources associated with Application X.

I've worked with thousands of companies of all sizes, and I've only seen this question answered a couple of times, and only for very well-known, small applications. The tools to answer it are out there, and many companies own several of them, but there are technical and political obstacles that prohibit this information from being displayed on a single pane of glass. However, with AWS, there are several third party vendors that offer products that can provide this information within minutes. Specifically, all of the components are registered centrally within AWS, so their metadata can be retrieved with the AWS API. These third party tools pull the data and display it on a graph to make it easier to consume (with filtering so you can include/exclude the appropriate components based on name or tag). 

This central repository of configuration information is, basically, a built-in CMDB. There are companies that have been working for years and years to eventually have a partial CMDB, and the big cloud providers offer it from day one. And in AWS, this central repository is audited BY DEFAULT. That means you can see exactly who changed exactly what and when. That's incredible.

I still don't see what's so great about The Cloud

That means you still haven't spent enough time trying to understand what's available. What I would recommend is that you go through one of the AWS workshops available on Github. Specifically, go through the Website workshop available here:

It will step you through the creation of a serverless web application, including a user self-registration component. This is something that's normally a HUGE obstacle in enterprise application creation, and AWS offers it directly via their IAM service. And, as I mentioned, everything is defined centrally, so you can see what your applications look like.

Now I'm impressed, but it looks pretty difficult to set up

It is definitely complicated, but it can be done. You do need to define policies around things like naming, tags and usage, and you need to restrict who can perform which actions, and there are a multitude of other policies that must be defined for your specific enterprise. The good news is that there are several education and certification tracks available to get people certified as AWS architects. Additionally, there are lots of AWS architects available for hire. It's like any new initiative - it just needs to be approached incrementally.

How to get started with serverless apps on AWS

Amazon has workshops on Github!

This is really neat stuff. Amazon has a collection of several serverless workshops available on Github here:

These workshops take you step by step through the entire process of creating several different types of serverless applications. Hopefully this will help demystify serverless for you.