The 6.3 release of IBM Systems Director became available last December. While there probably aren't many i shops out there using Systems Director yet, the 6.3 release provides several enhancements that make the product much more interesting for i environments.
The blog “Manage i with IBM Systems Director” reviewed what you could do to manage IBM i with IBM Systems Director 6.1. Review that blog for the main support since much of that information is still applicable if you want to get started with Systems Director. (But please, only consider using IBM Systems Director 6.3).
Of course there are software updates that you need to install on i to enable the latest features. It does require some PTFs to the base operating system, as well as fixes for the 5770-UME product. The software technical document “CIM and SLP-related PTFs” summarizes the PTFs that are needed. In addition, to get the complete functionality, you will need the 6.3 CAS agent for i, which is available on the IBM Systems Director download site. At some point in the not-too-distant future, I'll write another blog describing in more detail the underlying support, aka “agents,” that is required on IBM i to enable IBM Systems Director management. For now, refer to the information in the IBM Systems Director 6.3 Information Center on IBM i resources.
Once you have the requisite fixes and underlying agents started, you can begin to take full advantage of the IBM Systems Director 6.3 features to manage i.
Below are some of the major enhancements with IBM Systems Director 6.3 for i:
- With the IBM i 6.3 CAS agent installed, you can collect additional inventory information for i partitions. The additional inventory includes additional networking information and information on the cache battery status for your IOAs. Yes, another way to Display the Status of Your IOA Cache Batteries!
- The Update Manager has been enhanced to support additional PTF groups. In addition, you can now use Systems Director to install single PTFs, although it cannot be done through the graphical user interface; you need to use the Systems Director command line interface to acquire the specific update. (This support for single PTFs was actually added to IBM Systems Director 6.2.1).
- The 5770-UME enhancements enable improved monitoring of i through Systems Director. Systems Director 6.3 now has “IBM i Monitors” on the main monitors view, and you can easily drill down to see all the monitors available with the UME enablement. The following two screen captures show examples of these monitoring enhancements.
- Finally, the VMControl 2.4 plug-in now supports provisioning IBM i partitions. Steve Will blogged about this topic last October when he wrote about Image Management for IBM i. With VMControl, you can capture your base IBM i image and then use that base image to deploy new IBM i partitions.
For anyone that has used IBM Systems Director 6.2 with IBM i, it is definitely worth taking a look at what Systems Director 6.3 provides. And if you have not yet investigated Systems Director, 6.3 may provide you with enough features to look more closely at what Systems Director can do.