Installing Tivoli Endpoint Manager (BigFix) v8.2.1093

imageInstalling this newest version of TEM is relative straight forward and easy to do.  Drawing from my previous articles, a SQL server Installation (and SP1), and the Installing of Pre-requisites, I give you the full installation of v8.2.1093.  I also have downloaded the latest v8.2.1093 version from the TEM website.

I have already attached my new virtual server to my internal Windows Domain so authentication is easily accomplished within my existing network.

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I’m going to remove WebReports from this particular installation, favoring to install it onto a different server for simplicity.

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I will be using a remote database to a different installed instance of SQL server as noted at the top of this article.

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I plan on integrating this newest version of TEM with my Domain.  Thus a generic admin account is exactly what I need here.

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Everything looking good according to the TEM Server Diagnostics tool.  The only error it showed was the resolution of the DNS name used for my new infrastructure.  Now I’ll add a quick little entry in my DNS server for this domain name.

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There we go… that’s better…

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If you have any questions, please them below…

Free Onscreen Ruler

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On occasion I’ve needed the ability to keep track of my location on the screen.  Since I have multiple screens, that typically involved me putting my finger on one screen while clicking or typing on another screen. 

Along time ago I had a small utility which puts a ruler on the screen which I could move around with my mouse.  This was a fantastic utility and very useful.  Today I went looking and found someone wrote a different program which does what I wanted even better.  A Ruler for Windows was written by Rob Latour and available at http://www.arulerforwindows.com/

Here’s my step-by-step installation guide for this utility:

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The installation was so fast, I wasn’t able to get a progress screen… LOL

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Once finished, I’ve launched the application and see this. Now I can have my bank website up on one screen and my Quicken money software up on the other screen… and quickly/easily reconcile my accounts.  Thanks Rob!

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If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!

Migrating Access Data to SQL 2008r2

I recently spent some time building an Access database file full of 2010 US Census data… As an Access database, it’s not very useful since I want to use the data within as a feed for my Windows 8 Metro application.  I’ll need to move this data into my SQL 2008r2 server to make it available to my application.

To do this I’ll be using the Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) toolkit I recently installed.

 

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Upon first use, I’ll need to acquire a license for the tool as instructed by the included Readme file.

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After filling out the form, they provide me a file which I will through onto a network file share and give to the tool…

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ok, in the above pic, I didn’t need to specify the filename… just the directory it sat in… then the license imported correctly.

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After specifying the database, I had to give it a minute or so to completely read in and load my database file… the 2010 Census file is right at 100mbs.

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Then specify my SQL server, destination Database name, and my authentication method… I’m in a domain so I’ll simply use Windows Authentication since my Domain account has the appropriate level of access to the SQL Server.

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Yes Please…

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I do not have any pre-existing applications which connected to this Access file… thus no need to link anything.

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Let the Migration begin!

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At this point I could see the connection and the data migration was occurring…

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back on the server, my tables are now created…

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On the Migration Wizard, the data is slowly being copied over…

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This is where my SQL server is running a tad slow… a lot of data being input into the database…

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Wizard complete, and I can see the newly arrived data on the server.

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According to the Migration report… there were Warnings… but no Errors.  The Warnings mostly related to database quality… IE:  some tables did not have primary keys, others had their primary key nullable value configured.

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Those tables with nullable primary keys were corrected to not allow null values.

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Those without primary keys were ignored since SQL server doesn’t consider that a serious problem…

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That and I’m not worried about those two tables considering they were used during the “Import” process from the Census .dp files and won’t be used again.

It’s time to integrate the new found data into my Windows 8 application!

If you have any questions or comments on this, please leave them below!

Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access

Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) is a toolkit for quickly and easily converting Access Databases to full fledged SQL Server Databases.  Exactly what I was looking for to move my newly created 2010 Census Access Database to someplace more usable for my purposes.

Download the toolkit at:  http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=959

And thanks goes out to the Access Team over at the Access Blog for pointing me to the right place thanks to a wonderful Bing search.

Here’s the installation of that tool…

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I have plenty of space and do not like to go back and reinstall things I need… so I’ll do a complete installation.

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That’s it… checkout my next article where I describe using it to actually migrate Access data to my SQL 2008r2 server.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

Creating a 2010 Census Database

So you’re interested in the 2010 Census results.  Well they’re publicly available at http://www2.census.gov/census_2010/03-Demographic_Profile/ and with a little bit of work, you can have yourself a fully stocked Access Database with complete 2010 Census data.

Here’s a simple step-by-step using Microsoft Office – Access 2010 to create a database and import the data for the state( s ) you want to collect.  Later I’ll show you how to turn the resulting Access 2010 file into a SQL Database for SQL 2008r2.

Download the “DPSF2010_Access.accdb” file from the url above.  Also download the various .zip files under the states your interested in.  Then open up the Access file and perform the following steps as described in their documentation…

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We’ll first import the demographics data… so select the non-“geo” file.

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Select the “Data Part…” specification since this relates to the Demographics file.  When you repeat this wizard for the Population (geo) file, you’ll need to choose the other “GeoHeader…” option on this screen.

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The specs will automatically change to the correct format.

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This step is important… so specify the correct primary key.

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Name your table… I’m importing everything, so I’ll name it the state and attach Demo onto the end and Pop on the end of the geo file.  This will give me tons of data in two different tables for each state.

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Have fun with data… if you have any questions or comments, please add it below!

Activating a BigFix Task

The Tivoli Endpoint Manager is a fantastic way of controlling your infrastructure from one central location.  One of the most basic skills is activating a task and direct it to do something on an endpoint.  Here is a step-by-step for activating a task to perform an action on an endpoint.

First find the task you wish to activate, in my example I will be installing a service onto one of my root servers.  Select the task to be activated and click the Take Action button…

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Here is our targeting screen… Since I’ll only be installing this service onto one endpoint, I’ll simply select it out of the right side computer list.  I could just as easily choose the second radio button called “All computers with the property…” which allows me to target based on endpoint properties, or even “The computers specified in the list…” which allows me to type endpoint hostnames in one line per endpoint.  Note that the third option should be limited to <100 endpoints.  If you need to target more than that you should utilize the computer groups feature.

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I’m very happy with the defaults on this particular task, however the Execution tab will allow me to start a task at a particular time, have it run between certain hours and even control the failure/retry activities of this task.  Try not to restrict these options to much… for example, you wouldn’t want to limit the run between to 10min since the larger your infrastructure the more difficult or impossible that will be to happen.

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In some cases your action will interact with end users and you may need to prevent the action from running if no user is logged in.  The following Users tab allows you to constrain the task to only run with certain users…

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Other cases you’ll want to present messaging to the end user or even allow the user to control the processing of this particular action.  Maybe you’ll allow the user to determine when the most convenient time for them to have a particular action occur.  This screen is used for that purpose…

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Here we have the screen to Offer the user this optional action…

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What if your action requires a restart, and you want to allow the end user delay the restart till it’s convenient for them.

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Rarely will you need to change the Applicability tab.   Occasionally I find it necessary to alter the default behavior of an action on a one time basis.  This tab allows me to force the installation of something ignoring the default applicability relevance of the original task.

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If I’ve modified the applicability relevance, I’ll need to modify the success relevance as well…

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Lastly we have the ability to modify the default Action Script of this task.
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Once you’re all done modifying the action… click the OK button at the bottom and you’ll be asked for your credentials.  (FYI:  This is no longer the case in v8.2 unless you upgraded from a previous version or you enabled this validation step)

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Our task is now activated and the action status window appears.  Here we can monitor the progression of our action to each of the endpoints… on the Computers tab we can see status details on individual computers.

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If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

Tivoli Endpoint Manager (BigFix) Creating Custom Sites

Custom sites are an extremely nice way to collect related content together into one easily manageable group.  I am an avid believer in Agile software development and believe that BigFix is perfectly setup to support this methodology.

The use of custom sites is great way to organize content (IE: Tasks, Fixlets and Analyses) together and also allow for sub-categorizing using Domains… don’t forget to learn how to fill in the extra properties related to custom content.  They also allow for multiple non-master operators to work with content generated by other users including editing and stopping actions.

Creating a custom site is easy… here’s a simple step-by-step to do so:

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You’ll need to enter a short-name for your project.  In many cases I’ll just name it the vendor of the software… for example, I have published multiple free software under the name Moran IT, therefore it’s logical that my custom site be called “Moran IT”.  This could also be the name of your project… in one project I developed content related to the management of BigFix.  I called my project and my custom site “Core Infrastructure” since it directly relates.

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I now have my custom site.. but I’ll need to add further detail like the description and put it into the correct Domain.  (FYI: For simplification, try not to put anything into the “All Content” domain.  You will benefit long-term if you avoid this domain.)

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You’ll need to specify which endpoints are part of this project.  In some cases this might be all Windows computers, in others it might be all Windows computers with a certain software already installed.  You have very granular control over which endpoints are subscribed.  You can even use a complex relevance statement to subscribe only the computers related to the project.  I would encourage you to get very specific here since it will make it easier to not affect systems not part of your project.

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The next most important part is specifying the operators that are allowed to view and manipulate your content as well as actions.  If you have a 5-person team of developers, with only one on-call at any one time… you’ll want to give all 5 appropriate permissions to this custom site.  If you get that 2am page, they can stop actions or activate troubleshooting tasks without engaging team mates in the middle of the night.

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I hope you’ve come to realize the true value of sites in the organization of projects and developers… if you have any questions or comments please leave them below!