In PART I of this blog series, I talked about the IBM License Metric Tool (ILMT) as a series of servers. In PART II of this blog series, I talked about the skills I felt are very important to “have what it takes” to deploy and maintain ILMT.  In this blog, I ask “what did you get yourself into?”

So what did *I* get myself into?

A terrific learning opportunity.

If you look at everything at once, sure, it can be overwhelming.  But if you look at the individual pieces, it becomes much more manageable.

Let’s face it – you probably already have some of the skills I listed last time.  You’re probably familiar with TCP/IP, even a little.  (You use the Internet, right?) As an IT Specialist, you have relational database experience, even if it’s not DB2.  And if even you don’t have experience working with Linux, you probably have some experience working with the Windows command line.  It’s just a matter of learning some commands and a bit about how the Linux file system works.  I was in a similar situation when I first started with ILMT; I knew DB2 and TCP/IP, I knew a little bit of Linux but hadn’t used it in quite some time, and I never worked with BigFix.  Of course, I had a learning curve to overcome and a short runway in which to overcome it.

In this day and age of virtual machines, it’s relatively easy to set up a development environment where you can install, configure, test and uninstall ILMT.  At a very high level, this was my recipe for success:

  • I set up a Red Hat Linux virtual machine.
  • I purchased “CompTIA Linux+ Study Guide” by Christine Bresnahan and Richard Blum - not to prepare for a certification exam, but to run through the chapters on command line tools, managing software, managing files, administering the system, basic networking, scripts and securing the system.  I used my Linux VM to make all my mistakes and learn from them.
  • I read the BigFix installation guide, watched some of the introductory videos on BigFix concepts and watched other videos that showed me the BigFix install process.  I could see what to expect before I tried it myself.
  • I created a new Linux VM onto which I installed DB2 and BigFix.  I created two additional Windows VMs to act as BigFix clients.  I installed the BigFix clients and watched the interaction with the BigFix console.
  • I read the ILMT installation guide and watched a series of videos on how to install ILMT.
  • I created another Linux VM for ILMT and then used BigFix to install ILMT on that server.
  • I checked the ILMT and BigFix forums daily for gotchas, tricks and hints.  The value of these forums cannot be estimated – they are terrific resources.  At first I posted with my questions, but eventually I started posting to those forums to help others.

That’s my WAR story (another armed forces term!) … but to me, my glass is half full because of all the new things I’ve learned.  Was it easy to get there? No, it wasn’t … but if it was easy, then everyone would do it.  And now I hope you’ll answer a resounding “yes, SIR!” to the question “do you have what it takes?”  

 

I’d like to hear from you about how you approached (or are approaching) your first ILMT deployment.  What did you fear most? What did you do to overcome your fear? Looking back, what would you tell your “what did I get myself into?” self to do differently to make the deployment easier?