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one of the vital insidious barriers to continual birth (and to continuous circulation in software birth frequently) is the works-on-my-computer phenomenon. any person who has worked on a software development crew or an infrastructure support crew has experienced it. any individual who works with such teams has heard the phrase spoken throughout (attempted) demos. The problem is so normal there’s even a badge for it:
possibly you've got earned this badge yourself. I have a couple of. you'll want to see my trophy room.
There’s a longstanding lifestyle on Agile teams that may additionally have originated at ThoughtWorks around the turn of the century. It goes like this: When someone violates the historical engineering principle, “Don’t do the rest stupid on goal,” they should pay a penalty. The penalty might be to drop a dollar into the group snack jar, or some thing an awful lot worse (for an introverted technical category), like standing in entrance of the crew and singing a tune. To clarify a failed demo with a glib “<shrug>Works on my desktop!</shrug>” qualifies.
it may possibly not be feasible to keep away from the difficulty in all situations. As Forrest Gump observed…smartly, you understand what he noted. but we can reduce the issue by using paying attention to a number of evident issues. (yes, I understand “glaring” is a be aware for use advisedly.)Pitfall #1: Leftover Configuration
difficulty: Leftover configuration from previous work enables the code to work on the construction ambiance (and perhaps the look at various ambiance, too) while it fails on other environments.Pitfall #2: development/look at various Configuration Differs From production
The options to this pitfall are so corresponding to those for Pitfall #1 that I’m going to group both.
answer (tl;dr): Don’t reuse environments.
ordinary condition: Many developers installation an environment they like on their laptop/desktop or on the group’s shared development environment. The environment grows from challenge to challenge as greater libraries are introduced and greater configuration options are set. now and again, the configurations conflict with one one other, and groups/people regularly make guide configuration adjustments reckoning on which assignment is energetic in the meanwhile.
It doesn’t take lengthy for the building configuration to turn into very diverse from the configuration of the target creation ambiance. Libraries which are existing on the construction equipment can also not exist on the production system. You may run your native checks assuming you’ve configured issues the same as production simplest to find later that you’ve been using a unique version of a key library than the one in creation.
refined and unpredictable ameliorations in behavior turn up throughout construction, examine, and construction environments. The circumstance creates challenges now not handiest all through construction however additionally during creation aid work when we’re making an attempt to breed suggested behavior.
answer (long): Create an remoted, committed building atmosphere for every project.
There’s multiple functional strategy. which you can likely consider of a number of. listed below are a couple of possibilities:
All those options gained’t be feasible for each imaginable platform or stack. select and choose, and roll your own as appropriate. In generic, all these items are fairly effortless to do in case you’re engaged on Linux. All of them can also be completed for other *nix techniques with some effort. Most of them are reasonably convenient to do with windows; the best subject there's licensing, and in case your business has an commercial enterprise license, you’re all set. For different systems, similar to IBM zOS or HP NonStop, expect to do some hand-rolling of tools.
anything else that’s feasible to your situation and that helps you isolate your development and check environments might be beneficial. in case you can’t do all these items for your condition, don’t be troubled about it. simply do what that you can do.Provision a new VM in the community
if you’re working on a computer, desktop, or shared development server running Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, home windows, or OSX, then you definitely’re in first rate form. you can use virtualization utility akin to VirtualBox or VMware to get up and tear down native VMs at will. For the much less-mainstream platforms, you can also ought to build the virtualization device from supply.
One issue I usually advocate is that developers cultivate an perspective of laziness in themselves. neatly, the correct sort of laziness, it is. You shouldn’t feel completely chuffed provisioning a server manually greater than as soon as. make the effort all over that first provisioning pastime to script the stuff you discover along the manner. then you definitely won’t need to remember them and repeat the identical mis-steps once again. (smartly, unless you savour that type of thing, of direction.)
as an instance, here are a couple of provisioning scripts that I’ve get a hold of after I vital to install building environments. These are all in keeping with Ubuntu Linux and written in Bash. I don’t understand if they’ll aid you, however they work on my laptop.
in case your company is operating RedHat Linux in construction, you’ll probably want to modify these scripts to run on CentOS or Fedora, so that your development environments may be moderately close to the target environments. No massive deal.
in case you want to be even lazier, which you could use a device like Vagrant to simplify the configuration definitions to your VMs.
yet another factor: something scripts you write and whatever definition info you write for provisioning tools, preserve them below edition handle along with every assignment. make certain whatever is in version handle for a given assignment is everything fundamental to work on that project…code, tests, documentation, scripts…everything. here's somewhat important, I feel.Do Your construction in a Container
a technique of isolating your development environment is to run it in a container. many of the tools you’ll examine for those who seek counsel about containers are in reality orchestration equipment intended to help us manipulate distinct containers, customarily in a construction atmosphere. For native construction purposes, you truly don’t need that a lot performance. There are a couple of functional containers for this purpose:
These are Linux-based. no matter if it’s purposeful so you might containerize your construction environment is dependent upon what applied sciences you need. To containerize a building ambiance for another OS, equivalent to home windows, may additionally no longer be worth the effort over simply working a full-blown VM. For other platforms, it’s likely inconceivable to containerize a construction environment.improve in the Cloud
here's a relatively new alternative, and it’s feasible for a limited set of applied sciences. The skills over constructing a local construction atmosphere is for you to arise a fresh environment for every task, guaranteeing you received’t have any add-ons or configuration settings left over from old work. listed here are a few alternate options:
predict to look these environments enhance, and predict to look extra gamers in this market. investigate which applied sciences and languages are supported so see no matter if one of these might be a fit on your wants. as a result of the rapid tempo of alternate, there’s no sense in checklist what’s obtainable as of the date of this text.Generate look at various Environments on the Fly as a part of Your CI build
after you have a script that spins up a VM or configures a container, it’s easy so as to add it to your CI build. The abilities is that your exams will run on a pristine environment, without a probability of false positives due to leftover configurations from previous versions of the utility or from other purposes that had up to now shared the same static verify environment, or as a result of examine information modified in a outdated examine run.
Many people have scripts that they’ve hacked as much as simplify their lives, however they may also now not be proper for unattended execution. Your scripts (or the tools you use to interpret declarative configuration standards) need to be capable of run with out issuing any prompts (equivalent to prompting for an administrator password). They also should be idempotent (it truly is, it gained’t do any damage to run them assorted times, within the case of restarts). Any runtime values that must be supplied to the script must be attainable via the script because it runs, and not require any manual “tweaking” just before each and every run.
The theory of “producing an atmosphere” might also sound infeasible for some stacks. Take the suggestion greatly. For a Linux atmosphere, it’s relatively general to create a VM every time you want one. For other environments, you may now not be capable of do just that, however there may well be some steps which you could take according to the common suggestion of growing an environment on the fly.
as an example, a group working on a CICS application on an IBM mainframe can outline and start a CICS ambiance any time through running it as a standard job. in the early Nineteen Eighties, we used to do that routinely. because the Eighties dragged on (and persevered through the Nineties and 2000s, in some corporations), the realm of corporate IT grew to be more and more bureaucratized except this potential became taken out of developers’ arms.
strangely, as of 2017 very few development groups have the alternative to run their own CICS environments for experimentation, construction, and preliminary checking out. I say “strangely” as a result of so many different features of our working lives have more suitable dramatically, while that factor seems to have moved in retrograde. We don’t have such issues working on the front conclusion of our functions, but once we circulation to the returned conclusion we fall through a form of time warp.
From a purely technical factor of view, there’s nothing to cease a construction group from doing this. It qualifies as “producing an atmosphere,” for my part. which you can’t run a CICS equipment “within the cloud” or “on a VM” (as a minimum, not as of 2017), however that you may apply “cloud pondering” to the problem of managing your components.
in a similar fashion, that you can practice “cloud pondering” to other supplies to your atmosphere, as neatly. Use your imagination and creativity. Isn’t that why you chose this field of work, in spite of everything?Generate construction Environments on the Fly as part of Your CD Pipeline
This suggestion is fairly an awful lot the identical as the old one, apart from that it happens later within the CI/CD pipeline. once you have some form of automatic deployment in region, that you may lengthen that system to encompass instantly spinning up VMs or instantly reloading and provisioning hardware servers as part of the deployment procedure. At that point, “deployment” in reality capacity developing and provisioning the target ambiance, as hostile to moving code into an latest environment.
This strategy solves a couple of issues beyond standard configuration modifications. for example, if a hacker has brought anything else to the creation environment, rebuilding that ambiance out-of-source that you just manage eliminates that malware. americans are discovering there’s cost in rebuilding construction machines and VMs often notwithstanding there are not any changes to “installation,” for that rationale in addition to to prevent “configuration glide” that occurs once we observe adjustments over time to a long-working instance.
Many companies run home windows servers in creation, primarily to guide third-birthday party packages that require that OS. a controversy with deploying to an latest home windows server is that many functions require an installer to be latest on the goal example. frequently, tips protection individuals frown on having installers obtainable on any creation instance. (FWIW, I consider them.)
in case you create a home windows VM or provision a windows server on the fly from controlled sources, then you definately don’t want the installer as soon as the provisioning is comprehensive. You won’t re-install an utility; if a metamorphosis is essential, you’ll rebuild the complete example. that you can put together the ambiance before it’s attainable in production, after which delete any installers that had been used to provision it. So, this approach addresses more than just the works-on-my-computer issue.
When it involves lower back-conclusion programs like zOS, you gained’t be spinning up your personal CICS regions and LPARs for production deployment. The “cloud considering” in that case is to have two identical creation environments. Deployment then becomes a rely of switching site visitors between both environments, instead of migrating code. This makes it less difficult to enforce construction releases devoid of impacting customers. It also helps alleviate the works-on-my-computing device issue, as trying out late in the start cycle happens on a true construction environment (despite the fact that customers aren’t pointed to it yet).
The commonplace objection to here's the charge (it is, costs paid to IBM) to guide twin environments. This objection is always raised by means of people who have not completely analyzed the prices of all the prolong and transform inherent in doing things the “historical approach.”Pitfall #three: unpleasant Surprises When Code Is Merged
issue: distinctive teams and people deal with code verify-out and verify-in in various ways. Some checkout code as soon as and modify it during the path of a venture, maybe over a period of weeks or months. Others commit small alterations generally, updating their native copy and committing adjustments time and again per day. Most teams fall somewhere between those extremes.
often, the longer you maintain code checked out and the more adjustments you are making to it, the better the chances of a collision in the event you merge. It’s also doubtless that you will have forgotten precisely why you made each little change, and so will the other americans who've modified the identical chunks of code. Merges may also be a hassle.
during these merge routine, all other cost-add work stops. everyone is making an attempt to work out a way to merge the alterations. Tempers flare. every person can declare, precisely, that the system works on their computer.
answer: a simple solution to keep away from this type of thing is to commit small alterations frequently, run the look at various suite with all and sundry’s adjustments in region, and take care of minor collisions rapidly earlier than memory fades. It’s noticeably much less traumatic.
The better part is you don’t want any special tooling to do this. It’s simply a query of self-discipline. on the other hand, it most effective takes one particular person who maintains code checked out for a very long time to mess each person else up. Be aware about that, and kindly aid your colleagues establish first rate habits.Pitfall #4: Integration mistakes discovered Late
issue: This difficulty is akin to Pitfall #3, however one stage of abstraction higher. besides the fact that a crew commits small alterations commonly and runs a comprehensive suite of computerized checks with each commit, they may also event big considerations integrating their code with other add-ons of the answer, or interacting with different purposes in context.
The code may also work on my computing device, as well as on my team’s integration examine atmosphere, however as soon as we take the subsequent step forward, all hell breaks unfastened.
solution: There are a few options to this issue. the first is static code analysis. It’s becoming the norm for a continual integration pipeline to include static code analysis as part of every build. This occurs earlier than the code is compiled. Static code analysis equipment investigate the supply code as text, looking for patterns which are ordinary to effect in integration error (among different issues).
Static code evaluation can notice structural complications within the code equivalent to cyclic dependencies and excessive cyclomatic complexity, in addition to other basic issues like dead code and violations of coding requirements that are likely to raise cruft in a codebase. It’s just the sort of cruft that causes merge hassles, too.
A linked advice is to take any warning degree blunders from static code evaluation equipment and from compilers as real mistakes. collecting warning stage errors is a good strategy to emerge as with mysterious, unexpected behaviors at runtime.
The 2d solution is to integrate add-ons and run automatic integration verify suites frequently. set up the CI pipeline in order that when all unit-level checks move, then integration-stage tests are executed immediately. Let screw ups at that level smash the construct, simply as you do with the unit-level checks.
With these two strategies, that you can detect integration error as early as possible within the birth pipeline. The prior you discover an issue, the less difficult it's to fix.Pitfall #5: Deployments Are Nightmarish All-night Marathons
issue: Circa 2017, it’s nevertheless standard to discover agencies the place people have “unencumber parties” whenever they install code to creation. unlock parties are only like every-evening frat parties, best devoid of the enjoyable.
The issue is that the primary time applications are accomplished in a construction-like atmosphere is when they're done in the actual creation environment. Many issues most effective come into sight when the team tries to set up to creation.
Of direction, there’s no time or finances allotted for that. people working in a rush may additionally get the equipment up-and-working somehow, but often on the charge of regressions that pop up later in the form of construction support considerations.
And it’s all as a result of, at every stage of the beginning pipeline, the system “worked on my laptop,” whether a developer’s desktop, a shared test ambiance configured differently from creation, or some other unreliable atmosphere.
answer: The answer is to configure each atmosphere throughout the start pipeline as close to construction as viable. right here are familiar instructions that you just may wish to modify depending on native cases.
when you've got a staging atmosphere, instead of twin construction environments, it is going to be configured with all internal interfaces are living and external interfaces stubbed, mocked, or virtualized. although this is so far as you take the thought, it will doubtless get rid of the want for unencumber events. but if that you could, it’s respectable to proceed upstream within the pipeline, to in the reduction of sudden delays in promoting code alongside.
check environments between construction and staging should still be running the equal edition of the OS and libraries as construction. They may still be remoted on the applicable boundary in keeping with the scope of trying out to be carried out.
initially of the pipeline, if it’s viable, strengthen on the same OS and equal normal configuration as creation. It’s probably you would not have as an awful lot memory or as many processors as in the production atmosphere. The construction ambiance also do not need any are living interfaces; all dependencies exterior to the utility should be faked.
At a minimal, in shape the OS and unlock level to production as closely as that you would be able to. as an example, in case you’ll be deploying to home windows Server 2016, then use a windows Server 2016 VM to run your brief CI build and unit look at various suite. home windows Server 2016 is according to NT 10, so do your development work on home windows 10 because it’s additionally in accordance with NT 10. similarly, if the creation ambiance is home windows Server 2008 R2 (in line with NT 6.1) then develop on home windows 7 (also in response to NT 6.1). You received’t be in a position to get rid of each configuration change, but you will be in a position to avoid the majority of incompatibilities.
comply with the equal rule of thumb for Linux targets and building techniques. as an instance, if you will installation to RHEL 7.3 (kernel edition three.10.x), then run unit checks on the identical OS if viable. in any other case, search for (or construct) a edition of CentOS in accordance with the same kernel edition as your construction RHEL (don’t assume). At a minimum, run unit checks on a Linux distro based on the same kernel edition because the target construction instance. Do your development on CentOS or a Fedora-primarily based distro to lower inconsistencies with RHEL.
if you’re using a dynamic infrastructure administration approach that comprises building OS circumstances from supply, then this problem turns into plenty less complicated to handle. that you would be able to construct your building, examine, and construction environments from the equal sources, assuring version consistency throughout the delivery pipeline. however the fact is that very few groups are managing infrastructure in this approach as of 2017. It’s greater doubtless that you just’ll configure and provision OS instances based on a broadcast ISO, after which deploy programs from a personal or public repo. You’ll should pay close consideration to versions.
if you’re doing construction work on your personal computing device or desktop, and also you’re the use of a cross-platform language (Ruby, Python, Java, etc.), you could believe it doesn’t depend which OS you use. You might have a pleasant building stack on home windows or OSX (or anything) that you’re comfortable with. however, it’s a good idea to spin up a local VM operating an OS that’s nearer to the construction ambiance, simply to steer clear of sudden surprises.
For embedded building where the development processor is distinctive from the goal processor, include a assemble step for your low-stage TDD cycle with the compiler alternate options set for the target platform. this can expose error that don’t ensue for those who compile for the construction platform. every so often the same edition of the identical library will exhibit different behaviors when carried out on distinct processors.
a different advice for embedded construction is to constrain your building atmosphere to have the equal reminiscence limits and different aid constraints because the target platform. that you would be able to capture definite kinds of mistakes early by doing this.
For one of the crucial older returned end structures, it’s feasible to do building and unit testing off-platform for convenience. pretty early in the delivery pipeline, you’ll are looking to add your supply to an ambiance on the target platform and construct and examine there.
for instance, for a C++ application on, say, HP NonStop, it’s convenient to do TDD on whatever native ambiance you love (assuming that’s possible for the classification of utility), using any compiler and a unit testing framework like CppUnit.
in a similar fashion, it’s convenient to do COBOL construction and unit testing on a Linux illustration the use of GnuCOBOL; a lot quicker and more convenient than using OEDIT on-platform for excellent-grained TDD.
however, in these circumstances, the goal execution ambiance is very distinctive from the building atmosphere. You’ll need to pastime the code on-platform early within the birth pipeline to get rid of works-on-my-computer surprises.abstract
The works-on-my-desktop problem is likely one of the leading factors of developer stress and lost time. The leading reason behind the works-on-my-laptop issue is differences in configuration throughout construction, test, and construction environments.
The primary suggestions is to evade configuration variations to the extent possible. Take pains to make sure all environments are as comparable to production as is practical. Pay attention to OS kernel types, library models, API versions, compiler types, and the types of any home-grown utilities and libraries. When variations can’t be averted, then make be aware of them and deal with them as hazards. Wrap them in check instances to deliver early warning of any issues.
The 2nd suggestion is to automate as tons checking out as possible at diverse stages of abstraction, merge code commonly, build the utility frequently, run the computerized examine suites generally, install often, and (where feasible) construct the execution atmosphere generally. this may aid you realize complications early, while the most fresh changes are nevertheless sparkling for your mind, and while the concerns are nevertheless minor.
Let’s fix the world in order that the next technology of software developers doesn’t understand the phrase, “Works on my computer.”
Now that we now have spent a while on account that a normal UNIX kernel, the equipment of the change, and a few of the challenges confronted through the kernel designers, let's flip our attention to the specifics of the HP-UX kernel.
The present liberate of the Hewlett-Packard HP-UX operating gadget is HP-UX eleven.i (the actual revision number is eleven.11). We be aware of the present release, however as many production methods are nonetheless operating HP-UX 10.20 and HP-UX 11.0, where appropriate we are attempting to cover material relevant to those releases as well.
The HP-UX kernel is a set of subsystems, drivers, kernel information constructions, and capabilities that has been developed and modified for the past two decades. This legacy has yielded the kernel we current in this e-book. over the years, nearly no a part of the kernel has long gone undisturbed: the engineers and programmers at HP have proven an unwavering commitment to the continuous process-improvement cycle that defines the HP-UX kernel. The authors of this publication tip our collective hat to their continuing efforts and vision.
In its latest incarnation HP-UX runs basically on systems constructed on the Hewlett-Packard Precision architecture processor family. This turned into now not always the case. Early versions ran on workstations designed on the Motorola 68xxx household of processors. As in the past when HP-UX turned into ported to the HP-PA RISC chip set, today we are on the brink of an additional port of this working system to an rising new platform: the Intel IA-64 processor household. during this e-book, we be aware of the HP PA-RISC implementation.
HP received Voltage safety in April 2015, rebranding the platform as "HP safety Voltage." The product is a knowledge encryption and key generation answer that contains tokenization for shielding sensitive enterprise information. The HP safety Voltage platform comprises a lot of products, akin to HP SecureData enterprise, HP SecureData Hadoop, HP SecureData funds and so on. this article focuses on HP SecureData enterprise, which contains HP layout-maintaining Encryption (FPE), HP comfy Stateless Tokenization (SST) know-how, HP Stateless Key management, and information covering.Product features
HP SecureData commercial enterprise is a scalable product that encrypts each structured and unstructured data, tokenizes statistics to keep away from viewing by using unauthorized users, meets PCI DSS compliance requirements, and provides analytics.
The center of HP SecureData commercial enterprise is the Voltage SecureData management Console, which provides centralized policy management and reporting for all Voltage SecureData systems. a different element, the Voltage Key management Server, manages the encryption keys. coverage-managed utility programming interfaces permit native encryption and tokenization on numerous platforms, from safety counsel and adventure managers to Hadoop to cloud environments.
The platform employs a unique procedure referred to as HP Stateless Key management, which ability keys are generated on demand, in response to coverage stipulations, after clients are authenticated and licensed. Keys can be regenerated as necessary. using stateless key management reduces administrative overhead and charges by using casting off the key store -- there isn't any need to store, keep track of and back up each key it really is been issued. Plus, an administrator can link HP Stateless Key administration to a company's identity administration gadget to implement function-based mostly access to data on the box stage.
FPE is in line with superior Encryption commonplace. FPE encrypts statistics devoid of altering the database schema, however does make minimal alterations to purposes that deserve to view cleartext records. (in lots of instances, most effective a single line of code is modified.)
HP SecureData enterprise's key management, reporting and logging techniques support valued clientele meet compliance with PCI DSS, medical insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, in addition to state, national and European records privacy laws.
HP SecureData commercial enterprise is suitable with essentially any type of database, including Oracle, DB2, MySQL, Sybase, Microsoft SQL and Microsoft Azure SQL, among others. It helps a wide selection of working techniques and structures, including windows, Linux, AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, HP NonStop, Stratus VOS, IBM z/OS, Amazon net features, Microsoft Azure, Teradata, Hadoop and many cloud environments.
groups that implement HP SecureData business can are expecting to have full conclusion-to-conclusion records protection in 60 days or less.Pricing and licensing
prospective shoppers ought to contact an HP earnings representative for pricing and licensing counsel.assist
HP presents general and top class help for all HP protection Voltage items. average aid contains access to the solutions portal and online help requests, the online capabilities base, e-mail aid, enterprise hours cellphone aid, 4-hour response time and a aid desk kit.
premium aid comprises the same features as ordinary assist, however with 24x7 cellphone aid and a two-hour response time.
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NEW ORLEANS, June 3, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. and DGM & S Telecom, a leading international supplier of telecommunications software used in network applications and systems for the evolving distributed intelligent network, have teamed up to bring to market signaling system 7 (SS7) products for the Microsoft® Windows NT® Server network operating system. DGM & S Telecom is porting its OMNI Soft Platform™to Windows NT Server, allowing Windows NT Server to deliver services requiring SS7 communications. Microsoft is providing technical support for DGM & S to develop the OMNI Soft Platform and Windows NT Server-based product for the public network.
The SS7 network is one of the most critical components of today’s telecommunications infrastructure. In addition to providing for basic call control, SS7 has allowed carriers to provide a large and growing number of new services. Microsoft and DGM & S are working on signaling network elements based on Windows NT Server for hosting telephony services within the public network. The result of this collaborative effort will be increased service revenues and lowered costs for service providers, and greater flexibility and control for enterprises over their network service and management platforms via the easy-to-use yet powerful Windows NT Server environment.
“Microsoft is excited about the opportunities that Windows NT Server and the OMNI Soft Platform will offer for telecom equipment suppliers and adjunct processor manufacturers, and for service providers to develop new SS7-based network services,”said Bill Anderson, director of telecom industry marketing at Microsoft.“Windows NT Server will thereby drive faster development, further innovation in service functionality and lower costs in the public network.”
Microsoft’s collaboration with DGM & S Telecom is a key component of its strategy to bring to market platforms and products based on Microsoft Windows NT Server and independent software vendor applications for delivering and managing telecommunications services.
Major hardware vendors, including Data General Corp. and Tandem Computers Inc., endorsed the OMNI Soft Platform and Windows NT Server solution.
“With its high degree of availability and reliability, Data General’s AViiON server family is well-suited for the OMNI Soft Platform,”said David Ellenberger, vice president, corporate marketing for Data General.“As part of the strategic relationship we have established with DGM & S, we will support the OMNI Soft Platform on our Windows NT-compatible line of AViiON servers as an ideal solution for telecommunications companies and other large enterprises.”
“Tandem remains the benchmark for performance and reliability in computing solutions for the communications marketplace,”said Eric L. Doggett, senior vice president, general manager, communications products group, Tandem Computers.“With Microsoft, Tandem continues to extend these fundamentals from our NonStop Kernel and UNIX system product families to our ServerNet technology-enabled Windows NT Servers. We are pleased that our key middleware partners such as DGM & S are embracing this strategy, laying the foundation for application developers to leverage the price/performance and reliability that Tandem and Microsoft bring to communications and the Windows NT operating system.”
The OMNI Soft Platform from DGM & S Telecom is a family of software products that provide the SS7 components needed to build robust, high-performance network services and applications for use in wireline and wireless telecom signaling networks. OMNI Soft Platform offers a multiprotocol environment enabling true international operations with the coexistence of global SS7 variants. OMNI Soft Platform accelerates deployment of telecommunications applications so that service providers can respond to the ever-accelerating demands of the deregulated telecommunications industry.
DGM & S Telecom foresees expanding market opportunity with the emergence of the“programmable network,”the convergence of network-based telephony and enterprise computing on the Internet.
In the programmable network, gateways (offering signaling, provisioning and billing) will allow customers to interact more closely with, and benefit more from, the power of global signaling networks. These gateways will provide the channel to services deployed in customer premises equipment, including enterprise servers, PBXs, workstations, PCs, PDAs and smart phones.
“The programmable network will be the end of one-size-fits-all service and will spawn a new industry dedicated to bringing the power of the general commercial computing industry to integrated telephony services,”said Seamus Gilchrist, DGM & S director of strategic initiatives.“Microsoft Windows NT Server is the key to future mass customization of network services via the DGM & S Telecom OMNI Soft Platform.”
Wide Range of Service on OMNI
A wide ranges of services can be provided on the OMNI Soft Platform, including wireless services, 800-number service, long-distance caller ID, credit card and transactional services, local number portability, computer telephony and mediated access. OMNI Soft Platform application programming interfaces (APIs) are found on the higher layers of the SS7 protocol stack. They include ISDN User Part (ISUP), Global System for Mobile Communications Mobile Application Part (GSM MAP), EIA/TIA Interim Standard 41 (IS-41 MAP), Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) and Intelligent Network Application Part (INAP).
The OMNI product family is
Global. OMNI provides standards-conformant SS7 protocol stacks. OMNI complies with ANSI, ITU-T, Japanese and Chinese standards in addition to the many other national variants needed to enter the global market.
Portable. Service applications are portable across the platforms supported by OMNI. A wide range of computing platforms running the Windows NT and UNIX operating systems is supported.
Robust. OMNI SignalWare APIs support the development of wireless, wireline, intelligent network, call processing and transaction-oriented network applications.
Flexible. OMNI supports the rapid creation of distributed services that operate on simplex or duplex hardware. It supports a loosely coupled, multiple computer environment. OMNI-Remote allows front-end systems that lack signaling capability to deploy services using the client/server model.
DGM & S Telecom is the leading international supplier of SignalWare™, the telecommunications software used in network applications and systems for the evolving intelligent and programmable network. DGM & S Telecom is recognized for its technical innovations in high-performance, fault-resilient SS7 protocol platforms that enable high-availability, open applications and services for single- and multivendor environments. Founded in 1974, DGM & S Telecom offers leading-edge products and solutions that are deployed
throughout North America, Europe and the Far East. DGM & S is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comverse-Technology Inc. (NASDAQ“CMVT”).
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ“MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
OMNI Soft Platform and SignalWare are trademarks of DGM & S Telecom.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. To view additional information on DGM & S, please visit the DGM & S Web page at (http://dgms.com/)
One of the most insidious obstacles to Continuous Delivery (and to continuous flow in software delivery generally) is the works-on-my-machine phenomenon. Anyone who has worked on a software development team or an infrastructure support team has experienced it. Anyone who works with such teams has heard the phrase spoken during (attempted) demos. The issue is so common there’s even a badge for it:
Perhaps you have earned this badge yourself. I have several. You should see my trophy room.
There’s a longstanding tradition on Agile teams that may have originated at ThoughtWorks around the turn of the century. It goes like this: When someone violates the ancient engineering principle, “Don’t do anything stupid on purpose,” they have to pay a penalty. The penalty might be to drop a dollar into the team snack jar, or something much worse (for an introverted technical type), like standing in front of the team and singing a song. To explain a failed demo with a glib “<shrug>Works on my machine!</shrug>” qualifies.
It may not be possible to avoid the problem in all situations. As Forrest Gump said…well, you know what he said. But we can minimize the problem by paying attention to a few obvious things. (Yes, I understand “obvious” is a word to be used advisedly.)Pitfall #1: Leftover Configuration
Problem: Leftover configuration from previous work enables the code to work on the development environment (and maybe the test environment, too) while it fails on other environments.Pitfall #2: Development/Test Configuration Differs From Production
The solutions to this pitfall are so similar to those for Pitfall #1 that I’m going to group the two.
Solution (tl;dr): Don’t reuse environments.
Common situation: Many developers set up an environment they like on their laptop/desktop or on the team’s shared development environment. The environment grows from project to project as more libraries are added and more configuration options are set. Sometimes, the configurations conflict with one another, and teams/individuals often make manual configuration adjustments depending on which project is active at the moment.
It doesn’t take long for the development configuration to become very different from the configuration of the target production environment. Libraries that are present on the development system may not exist on the production system. You may run your local tests assuming you’ve configured things the same as production only to discover later that you’ve been using a different version of a key library than the one in production.
Subtle and unpredictable differences in behavior occur across development, test, and production environments. The situation creates challenges not only during development but also during production support work when we’re trying to reproduce reported behavior.
Solution (long): Create an isolated, dedicated development environment for each project.
There’s more than one practical approach. You can probably think of several. Here are a few possibilities:
All those options won’t be feasible for every conceivable platform or stack. Pick and choose, and roll your own as appropriate. In general, all these things are pretty easy to do if you’re working on Linux. All of them can be done for other *nix systems with some effort. Most of them are reasonably easy to do with Windows; the only issue there is licensing, and if your company has an enterprise license, you’re all set. For other platforms, such as IBM zOS or HP NonStop, expect to do some hand-rolling of tools.
Anything that’s feasible in your situation and that helps you isolate your development and test environments will be helpful. If you can’t do all these things in your situation, don’t worry about it. Just do what you can do.Provision a New VM Locally
If you’re working on a desktop, laptop, or shared development server running Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Windows, or OSX, then you’re in good shape. You can use virtualization software such as VirtualBox or VMware to stand up and tear down local VMs at will. For the less-mainstream platforms, you may have to build the virtualization tool from source.
One thing I usually recommend is that developers cultivate an attitude of laziness in themselves. Well, the right kind of laziness, that is. You shouldn’t feel perfectly happy provisioning a server manually more than once. Take the time during that first provisioning exercise to script the things you discover along the way. Then you won’t have to remember them and repeat the same mis-steps again. (Well, unless you enjoy that sort of thing, of course.)
For example, here are a few provisioning scripts that I’ve come up with when I needed to set up development environments. These are all based on Ubuntu Linux and written in Bash. I don’t know if they’ll help you, but they work on my machine.
If your company is running RedHat Linux in production, you’ll probably want to adjust these scripts to run on CentOS or Fedora, so that your development environments will be reasonably close to the target environments. No big deal.
If you want to be even lazier, you can use a tool like Vagrant to simplify the configuration definitions for your VMs.
One more thing: Whatever scripts you write and whatever definition files you write for provisioning tools, keep them under version control along with each project. Make sure whatever is in version control for a given project is everything necessary to work on that project…code, tests, documentation, scripts…everything. This is rather important, I think.Do Your Development in a Container
One way of isolating your development environment is to run it in a container. Most of the tools you’ll read about when you search for information about containers are really orchestration tools intended to help us manage multiple containers, typically in a production environment. For local development purposes, you really don’t need that much functionality. There are a couple of practical containers for this purpose:
These are Linux-based. Whether it’s practical for you to containerize your development environment depends on what technologies you need. To containerize a development environment for another OS, such as Windows, may not be worth the effort over just running a full-blown VM. For other platforms, it’s probably impossible to containerize a development environment.Develop in the Cloud
This is a relatively new option, and it’s feasible for a limited set of technologies. The advantage over building a local development environment is that you can stand up a fresh environment for each project, guaranteeing you won’t have any components or configuration settings left over from previous work. Here are a couple of options:
Expect to see these environments improve, and expect to see more players in this market. Check which technologies and languages are supported so see whether one of these will be a fit for your needs. Because of the rapid pace of change, there’s no sense in listing what’s available as of the date of this article.Generate Test Environments on the Fly as Part of Your CI Build
Once you have a script that spins up a VM or configures a container, it’s easy to add it to your CI build. The advantage is that your tests will run on a pristine environment, with no chance of false positives due to leftover configurations from previous versions of the application or from other applications that had previously shared the same static test environment, or because of test data modified in a previous test run.
Many people have scripts that they’ve hacked up to simplify their lives, but they may not be suitable for unattended execution. Your scripts (or the tools you use to interpret declarative configuration specifications) have to be able to run without issuing any prompts (such as prompting for an administrator password). They also need to be idempotent (that is, it won’t do any harm to run them multiple times, in the case of restarts). Any runtime values that must be provided to the script have to be obtainable by the script as it runs, and not require any manual “tweaking” prior to each run.
The idea of “generating an environment” may sound infeasible for some stacks. Take the suggestion broadly. For a Linux environment, it’s pretty common to create a VM whenever you need one. For other environments, you may not be able to do exactly that, but there may be some steps you can take based on the general notion of creating an environment on the fly.
For example, a team working on a CICS application on an IBM mainframe can define and start a CICS environment any time by running it as a standard job. In the early 1980s, we used to do that routinely. As the 1980s dragged on (and continued through the 1990s and 2000s, in some organizations), the world of corporate IT became increasingly bureaucratized until this capability was taken out of developers’ hands.
Strangely, as of 2017 very few development teams have the option to run their own CICS environments for experimentation, development, and initial testing. I say “strangely” because so many other aspects of our working lives have improved dramatically, while that aspect seems to have moved in retrograde. We don’t have such problems working on the front end of our applications, but when we move to the back end we fall through a sort of time warp.
From a purely technical point of view, there’s nothing to stop a development team from doing this. It qualifies as “generating an environment,” in my view. You can’t run a CICS system “in the cloud” or “on a VM” (at least, not as of 2017), but you can apply “cloud thinking” to the challenge of managing your resources.
Similarly, you can apply “cloud thinking” to other resources in your environment, as well. Use your imagination and creativity. Isn’t that why you chose this field of work, after all?Generate Production Environments on the Fly as Part of Your CD Pipeline
This suggestion is pretty much the same as the previous one, except that it occurs later in the CI/CD pipeline. Once you have some form of automated deployment in place, you can extend that process to include automatically spinning up VMs or automatically reloading and provisioning hardware servers as part of the deployment process. At that point, “deployment” really means creating and provisioning the target environment, as opposed to moving code into an existing environment.
This approach solves a number of problems beyond simple configuration differences. For instance, if a hacker has introduced anything to the production environment, rebuilding that environment out-of-source that you control eliminates that malware. People are discovering there’s value in rebuilding production machines and VMs frequently even if there are no changes to “deploy,” for that reason as well as to avoid “configuration drift” that occurs when we apply changes over time to a long-running instance.
Many organizations run Windows servers in production, mainly to support third-party packages that require that OS. An issue with deploying to an existing Windows server is that many applications require an installer to be present on the target instance. Generally, information security people frown on having installers available on any production instance. (FWIW, I agree with them.)
If you create a Windows VM or provision a Windows server on the fly from controlled sources, then you don’t need the installer once the provisioning is complete. You won’t re-install an application; if a change is necessary, you’ll rebuild the entire instance. You can prepare the environment before it’s accessible in production, and then delete any installers that were used to provision it. So, this approach addresses more than just the works-on-my-machine problem.
When it comes to back-end systems like zOS, you won’t be spinning up your own CICS regions and LPARs for production deployment. The “cloud thinking” in that case is to have two identical production environments. Deployment then becomes a matter of switching traffic between the two environments, rather than migrating code. This makes it easier to implement production releases without impacting customers. It also helps alleviate the works-on-my-machine problem, as testing late in the delivery cycle occurs on a real production environment (even if customers aren’t pointed to it yet).
The usual objection to this is the cost (that is, fees paid to IBM) to support twin environments. This objection is usually raised by people who have not fully analyzed the costs of all the delay and rework inherent in doing things the “old way.”Pitfall #3: Unpleasant Surprises When Code Is Merged
Problem: Different teams and individuals handle code check-out and check-in in various ways. Some checkout code once and modify it throughout the course of a project, possibly over a period of weeks or months. Others commit small changes frequently, updating their local copy and committing changes many times per day. Most teams fall somewhere between those extremes.
Generally, the longer you keep code checked out and the more changes you make to it, the greater the chances of a collision when you merge. It’s also likely that you will have forgotten exactly why you made every little change, and so will the other people who have modified the same chunks of code. Merges can be a hassle.
During these merge events, all other value-add work stops. Everyone is trying to figure out how to merge the changes. Tempers flare. Everyone can claim, accurately, that the system works on their machine.
Solution: A simple way to avoid this sort of thing is to commit small changes frequently, run the test suite with everyone’s changes in place, and deal with minor collisions quickly before memory fades. It’s substantially less stressful.
The best part is you don’t need any special tooling to do this. It’s just a question of self-discipline. On the other hand, it only takes one individual who keeps code checked out for a long time to mess everyone else up. Be aware of that, and kindly help your colleagues establish good habits.Pitfall #4: Integration Errors Discovered Late
Problem: This problem is similar to Pitfall #3, but one level of abstraction higher. Even if a team commits small changes frequently and runs a comprehensive suite of automated tests with every commit, they may experience significant issues integrating their code with other components of the solution, or interacting with other applications in context.
The code may work on my machine, as well as on my team’s integration test environment, but as soon as we take the next step forward, all hell breaks loose.
Solution: There are a couple of solutions to this problem. The first is static code analysis. It’s becoming the norm for a continuous integration pipeline to include static code analysis as part of every build. This occurs before the code is compiled. Static code analysis tools examine the source code as text, looking for patterns that are known to result in integration errors (among other things).
Static code analysis can detect structural problems in the code such as cyclic dependencies and high cyclomatic complexity, as well as other basic problems like dead code and violations of coding standards that tend to increase cruft in a codebase. It’s just the sort of cruft that causes merge hassles, too.
A related suggestion is to take any warning level errors from static code analysis tools and from compilers as real errors. Accumulating warning level errors is a great way to end up with mysterious, unexpected behaviors at runtime.
The second solution is to integrate components and run automated integration test suites frequently. Set up the CI pipeline so that when all unit-level checks pass, then integration-level checks are executed automatically. Let failures at that level break the build, just as you do with the unit-level checks.
With these two methods, you can detect integration errors as early as possible in the delivery pipeline. The earlier you detect a problem, the easier it is to fix.Pitfall #5: Deployments Are Nightmarish All-Night Marathons
Problem: Circa 2017, it’s still common to find organizations where people have “release parties” whenever they deploy code to production. Release parties are just like all-night frat parties, only without the fun.
The problem is that the first time applications are executed in a production-like environment is when they are executed in the real production environment. Many issues only become visible when the team tries to deploy to production.
Of course, there’s no time or budget allocated for that. People working in a rush may get the system up-and-running somehow, but often at the cost of regressions that pop up later in the form of production support issues.
And it’s all because, at each stage of the delivery pipeline, the system “worked on my machine,” whether a developer’s laptop, a shared test environment configured differently from production, or some other unreliable environment.
Solution: The solution is to configure every environment throughout the delivery pipeline as close to production as possible. The following are general guidelines that you may need to modify depending on local circumstances.
If you have a staging environment, rather than twin production environments, it should be configured with all internal interfaces live and external interfaces stubbed, mocked, or virtualized. Even if this is as far as you take the idea, it will probably eliminate the need for release parties. But if you can, it’s good to continue upstream in the pipeline, to reduce unexpected delays in promoting code along.
Test environments between development and staging should be running the same version of the OS and libraries as production. They should be isolated at the appropriate boundary based on the scope of testing to be performed.
At the beginning of the pipeline, if it’s possible, develop on the same OS and same general configuration as production. It’s likely you will not have as much memory or as many processors as in the production environment. The development environment also will not have any live interfaces; all dependencies external to the application will be faked.
At a minimum, match the OS and release level to production as closely as you can. For instance, if you’ll be deploying to Windows Server 2016, then use a Windows Server 2016 VM to run your quick CI build and unit test suite. Windows Server 2016 is based on NT 10, so do your development work on Windows 10 because it’s also based on NT 10. Similarly, if the production environment is Windows Server 2008 R2 (based on NT 6.1) then develop on Windows 7 (also based on NT 6.1). You won’t be able to eliminate every single configuration difference, but you will be able to avoid the majority of incompatibilities.
Follow the same rule of thumb for Linux targets and development systems. For instance, if you will deploy to RHEL 7.3 (kernel version 3.10.x), then run unit tests on the same OS if possible. Otherwise, look for (or build) a version of CentOS based on the same kernel version as your production RHEL (don’t assume). At a minimum, run unit tests on a Linux distro based on the same kernel version as the target production instance. Do your development on CentOS or a Fedora-based distro to minimize inconsistencies with RHEL.
If you’re using a dynamic infrastructure management approach that includes building OS instances from source, then this problem becomes much easier to control. You can build your development, test, and production environments from the same sources, assuring version consistency throughout the delivery pipeline. But the reality is that very few organizations are managing infrastructure in this way as of 2017. It’s more likely that you’ll configure and provision OS instances based on a published ISO, and then install packages from a private or public repo. You’ll have to pay close attention to versions.
If you’re doing development work on your own laptop or desktop, and you’re using a cross-platform language (Ruby, Python, Java, etc.), you might think it doesn’t matter which OS you use. You might have a nice development stack on Windows or OSX (or whatever) that you’re comfortable with. Even so, it’s a good idea to spin up a local VM running an OS that’s closer to the production environment, just to avoid unexpected surprises.
For embedded development where the development processor is different from the target processor, include a compile step in your low-level TDD cycle with the compiler options set for the target platform. This can expose errors that don’t occur when you compile for the development platform. Sometimes the same version of the same library will exhibit different behaviors when executed on different processors.
Another suggestion for embedded development is to constrain your development environment to have the same memory limits and other resource constraints as the target platform. You can catch certain types of errors early by doing this.
For some of the older back end platforms, it’s possible to do development and unit testing off-platform for convenience. Fairly early in the delivery pipeline, you’ll want to upload your source to an environment on the target platform and build and test there.
For instance, for a C++ application on, say, HP NonStop, it’s convenient to do TDD on whatever local environment you like (assuming that’s feasible for the type of application), using any compiler and a unit testing framework like CppUnit.
Similarly, it’s convenient to do COBOL development and unit testing on a Linux instance using GnuCOBOL; much faster and easier than using OEDIT on-platform for fine-grained TDD.
However, in these cases, the target execution environment is very different from the development environment. You’ll want to exercise the code on-platform early in the delivery pipeline to eliminate works-on-my-machine surprises.Summary
The works-on-my-machine problem is one of the leading causes of developer stress and lost time. The main cause of the works-on-my-machine problem is differences in configuration across development, test, and production environments.
The basic advice is to avoid configuration differences to the extent possible. Take pains to ensure all environments are as similar to production as is practical. Pay attention to OS kernel versions, library versions, API versions, compiler versions, and the versions of any home-grown utilities and libraries. When differences can’t be avoided, then make note of them and treat them as risks. Wrap them in test cases to provide early warning of any issues.
The second suggestion is to automate as much testing as possible at different levels of abstraction, merge code frequently, build the application frequently, run the automated test suites frequently, deploy frequently, and (where feasible) build the execution environment frequently. This will help you detect problems early, while the most recent changes are still fresh in your mind, and while the issues are still minor.
Let’s fix the world so that the next generation of software developers doesn’t understand the phrase, “Works on my machine.”
January 24, 2000Web posted at: 12:11 p.m. EST (1711 GMT)
by John Bass and James Robinson, Network World Test Alliance
(IDG) -- It all boils down to what you're looking for in a network operating system (NOS).
Do you want it lean and flexible so you can install it any way you please? Perhaps administration bells and management whistles are what you need so you can deploy several hundred servers. Or maybe you want an operating system that's robust enough so that you sleep like a baby at night?
The good news is that there is a NOS waiting just for you. After the rash of recent software revisions, we took an in-depth look at four of the major NOSes on the market: Microsoft's Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Novell's NetWare 5.1, Red Hat Software's Linux 6.1 and The Santa Cruz Operation's (SCO) UnixWare 7.1.1. Sun declined our invitation to submit Solaris because the company says it's working on a new version.
Microsoft's Windows 2000 edges out NetWare for the Network World Blue Ribbon Award. Windows 2000 tops the field with its management interface, server monitoring tools, storage management facilities and security measures.
However, if it's performance you're after, no product came close to Novell's NetWare 5.1's numbers in our exhaustive file service and network benchmarks. With its lightning-fast engine and Novell's directory-based administration, NetWare offers a great base for an enterprise network.
We found the latest release of Red Hat's commercial Linux bundle led the list for flexibility because its modular design lets you pare down the operating system to suit the task at hand. Additionally, you can create scripts out of multiple Linux commands to automate tasks across a distributed environment.
While SCO's UnixWare seemed to lag behind the pack in terms of file service performance and NOS-based administration features, its scalability features make it a strong candidate for running enterprise applications.The numbers are in
Regardless of the job you saddle your server with, it has to perform well at reading and writing files and sending them across the network. We designed two benchmark suites to measure each NOS in these two categories. To reflect the real world, our benchmark tests consider a wide range of server conditions.
NetWare was the hands-down leader in our performance benchmarking, taking first place in two-thirds of the file tests and earning top billing in the network tests.
Red Hat Linux followed NetWare in file performance overall and even outpaced the leader in file tests where the read/write loads were small. However, Linux did not perform well handling large loads - those tests in which there were more than 100 users. Under heavier user loads, Linux had a tendency to stop servicing file requests for a short period and then start up again.
Windows 2000 demonstrated poor write performance across all our file tests. In fact, we found that its write performance was about 10% of its read performance. After consulting with both Microsoft and Client/Server Solutions, the author of the Benchmark Factory testing tool we used, we determined that the poor write performance could be due to two factors. One, which we were unable to verify, might be a possible performance problem with the SCSI driver for the hardware we used.
More significant, though, was an issue with our test software. Benchmark Factory sends a write-through flag in each of its write requests that is supposed to cause the server to update cache, if appropriate, and then force a write to disk. When the write to disk occurs, the write call is released and the next request can be sent.
At first glance, it appeared as if Windows 2000 was the only operating system to honor this write-through flag because its write performance was so poor. Therefore, we ran a second round of write tests with the flag turned off.
With the flag turned off, NetWare's write performance increased by 30%. This test proved that Novell does indeed honor the write-through flag and will write to disk for each write request when that flag is set. But when the write-through flag is disabled, NetWare writes to disk in a more efficient manner by batching together contiguous blocks of data on the cache and writing all those blocks to disk at once.
Likewise, Red Hat Linux's performance increased by 10% to 15% when the write-through flag was turned off. When we examined the Samba file system code, we found that it too honors the write-through flag. The Samba code then finds an optimum time during the read/write sequence to write to disk.
This second round of file testing proves that Windows 2000 is dependent on its file system cache to optimize write performance. The results of the testing with the write-through flag off were much higher - as much as 20 times faster. However, Windows 2000 still fell behind both NetWare and RedHat Linux in the file write tests when the write-through flag was off.
SCO honors the write-through flag by default, since its journaling file system is constructed to maximize data integrity by writing to disk for all write requests. The results in the write tests with the write-through flag on were very similar to the test results with the write-through flag turned off.
For the network benchmark, we developed two tests. Our long TCP transaction test measured the bandwidth each server can sustain, while our short TCP transaction test measured each server's ability to handle large numbers of network sessions with small file transactions.
Despite a poor showing in the file benchmark, Windows 2000 came out on top in the long TCP transaction test. Windows 2000 is the only NOS with a multithreaded IP stack, which allows it to handle network requests with multiple processors. Novell and Red Hat say they are working on integrating this capability into their products.
NetWare and Linux also registered strong long TCP test results, coming in second and third, respectively.
In the short TCP transaction test, NetWare came out the clear winner. Linux earned second place in spite of its lack of support for abortive TCP closes, a method by which an operating system can quickly tear down TCP connections. Our testing software, Ganymede Software's Chariot, uses abortive closes in its TCP tests.Moving into management
As enterprise networks grow to require more servers and support more end users, NOS management tools become crucial elements in keeping networks under control. We looked at the management interfaces of each product and drilled down into how each handled server monitoring, client administration, file and print management, and storage management.
We found Windows 2000 and NetWare provide equally useful management interfaces.
Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is the glue that holds most of the Windows 2000 management functionality together. This configurable graphical user interface (GUI) lets you snap in Microsoft and third-party applets that customize its functionality. It's a two-paned interface, much like Windows Explorer, with a nested list on the left and selection details on the right. The console is easy to use and lets you configure many local server elements, including users, disks, and system settings such as time and date.
MMC also lets you implement management policies for groups of users and computers using Active Directory, Microsoft's new directory service. From the Active Directory management tool inside MMC, you can configure users and change policies.
The network configuration tools are found in a separate application that opens when you click on the Network Places icon on the desktop. Each network interface is listed inside this window. You can add and change protocols and configure, enable and disable interfaces from here without rebooting.
NetWare offers several interfaces for server configuration and management. These tools offer duplicate functionality, but each is useful depending from where you are trying to manage the system. The System Console offers a number of tools for server configuration. One of the most useful is NWConfig, which lets you change start-up files, install system modules and configure the storage subsystem. NWConfig is simple, intuitive and predictable.
ConsoleOne is a Java-based interface with a few graphical tools for managing and configuring NetWare. Third-party administration tools can plug into ConsoleOne and let you manage multiple services. We think ConsoleOne's interface is a bit unsophisticated, but it works well enough for those who must have a Windows- based manager.
Novell also offers a Web-accessible management application called NetWare Management Portal, which lets you manage NetWare servers remotely from a browser, and NWAdmin32, a relatively simple client-side tool for administering Novell Directory Services (NDS) from a Windows 95, 98 or NT client.
Red Hat's overall systems management interface is called LinuxConf and can run as a graphical or text-based application. The graphical interface, which resembles that of MMC, works well but has some layout issues that make it difficult to use at times. For example, when you run a setup application that takes up a lot of the screen, the system resizes the application larger than the desktop size.
Still, you can manage pretty much anything on the server from LinuxConf, and you can use it locally or remotely over the Web or via telnet. You can configure system parameters such as network addresses; file system settings and user accounts; and set up add-on services such as Samba - which is a service that lets Windows clients get to files residing on a Linux server - and FTP and Web servers. You can apply changes without rebooting the system.
Overall, Red Hat's interface is useful and the underlying tools are powerful and flexible, but LinuxConf lacks the polish of the other vendors' tools.
SCO Admin is a GUI-based front end for about 50 SCO UnixWare configuration and management tools in one window. When you click on a tool, it brings up the application to manage that item in a separate window.
Some of SCO's tools are GUI-based while others are text-based. The server required a reboot to apply many of the changes. On the plus side, you can manage multiple UnixWare servers from SCOAdmin.
SCO also offers a useful Java-based remote administration tool called WebTop that works from your browser.An eye on the servers and clients
One important administration task is monitoring the server itself. Microsoft leads the pack in how well you can keep an eye on your server's internals.
The Windows 2000 System Monitor lets you view a real-time, running graph of system operations, such as CPU and network utilization, and memory and disk usage. We used these tools extensively to determine the effect of our benchmark tests on the operating system. Another tool called Network Monitor has a basic network packet analyzer that lets you see the types of packets coming into the server. Together, these Microsoft utilities can be used to compare performance and capacity across multiple Windows 2000 servers.
NetWare's Monitor utility displays processor utilization, memory usage and buffer utilization on a local server. If you know what to look for, it can be a powerful tool for diagnosing bottlenecks in the system. Learning the meaning of each of the monitored parameters is a bit of a challenge, though.
If you want to look at performance statistics across multiple servers, you can tap into Novell's Web Management Portal.
Red Hat offers the standard Linux command-line tools for monitoring the server, such as iostat and vmstat. It has no graphical monitoring tools.
As with any Unix operating system, you can write scripts to automate these tools across Linux servers. However, these tools are typically cryptic and require a high level of proficiency to use effectively. A suite of graphical monitoring tools would be a great addition to Red Hat's Linux distribution.
UnixWare also offers a number of monitoring tools. System Monitor is UnixWare's simple but limited GUI for monitoring processor and memory utilization. The sar and rtpm command-line tools together list real-time system utilization of buffer, CPUs and disks. Together, these tools give you a good overall idea of the load on the server.Client administration
Along with managing the server, you must manage its users. It's no surprise that the two NOSes that ship with an integrated directory service topped the field in client administration tools.
We were able to configure user permissions via Microsoft's Active Directory and the directory administration tool in MMC. You can group users and computers into organizational units and apply policies to them.
You can manage Novell's NDS and NetWare clients with ConsoleOne, NWAdmin or NetWare Management Portal. Each can create users, manage file space, and set permissions and rights. Additionally, NetWare ships with a five-user version of Novell's ZENworks tool, which offers desktop administration services such as hardware and software inventory, software distribution and remote control services.
Red Hat Linux doesn't offer much in the way of client administration features. You must control local users through Unix permission configuration mechanisms.
UnixWare is similar to Red Hat Linux in terms of client administration, but SCO provides some Windows binaries on the server to remotely set file and directory permissions from a Windows client, as well as create and change users and their settings. SCO and Red Hat offer support for the Unix-based Network Information Service (NIS). NIS is a store for network information like logon names, passwords and home directories. This integration helps with client administration.Handling the staples: File and print
A NOS is nothing without the ability to share file storage and printers. Novell and Microsoft collected top honors in these areas.
You can easily add and maintain printers in Windows 2000 using the print administration wizard, and you can add file shares using Active Directory management tools. Windows 2000 also offers Distributed File Services, which let you combine files on more than one server into a single share.
Novell Distributed Print Services (NDPS) let you quickly incorporate printers into the network. When NDPS senses a new printer on the network, it defines a Printer Agent that runs on the printer and communicates with NDS. You then use NDS to define the policies for the new printer.
You define NetWare file services by creating and then mounting a disk volume, which also manages volume policies.
Red Hat includes Linux's printtool utility for setting up server-connected and networks printers. You can also use this GUI to create printcap entries to define printer access.
Linux has a set of command-line file system configuration tools for mounting and unmounting partitions. Samba ships with the product and provides some integration for Windows clients. You can configure Samba only through a cryptic configuration ASCII file - a serious drawback.
UnixWare provides a flexible GUI-based printer setup tool called Printer SetUp Manager. For file and volume management, SCO offers a tool called VisionFS for interoperability with Windows clients. We used VisionFS to allow our NT clients to access the UnixWare server. This service was easy to configure and use.Storage management
Windows 2000 provides the best tools for storage management. Its graphical Manage Disks tool for local disk configuration includes software RAID management; you can dynamically add disks to a volume set without having to reboot the system. Additionally, a signature is written to each of the disks in an array so that they can be moved to another 2000 server without having to configure the volume on the new server. The new server recognizes the drives as members of a RAID set and adds the volume to the file system dynamically.
NetWare's volume management tool, NWConfig, is easy to use, but it can be a little confusing to set up a RAID volume. Once we knew what we were doing, we had no problems formatting drives and creating a RAID volume. The tool looks a little primitive, but we give it high marks for functionality and ease of use.
Red Hat Linux offers no graphical RAID configuration tools, but its command line tools made RAID configuration easy.
To configure disks on the UnixWare server, we used the Veritas Volume Manager graphical disk and volume administration tool that ships with UnixWare. We had some problems initially getting the tool to recognize the drives so they could be formatted. We managed to work around the disk configuration problem using an assortment of command line tools, after which Volume Manager worked well.Security
While we did not probe these NOSes extensively to expose any security weaknesses, we did look at what they offered in security features.
Microsoft has made significant strides with Windows 2000 security. Windows 2000 supports Kerberos public key certificates as its primary authentication mechanism within a domain, and allows additional authentication with smart cards. Microsoft provides a Security Configuration Tool that integrates with MMC for easy management of security objects in the Active Directory Services system, and a new Encrypting File System that lets you designate volumes on which files are automatically stored using encryption.
Novell added support for a public-key infrastructure into NetWare 5 using a public certificate schema developed by RSA Security that lets you tap into NDS to generate certificates.
Red Hat offers a basic Kerberos authentication mechanism. With Red Hat Linux, as with most Unix operating systems, the network services can be individually controlled to increase security. Red Hat offers Pluggable Authentication Modules as a way of allowing you to set authentication policies across programs running on the server. Passwords are protected with a shadow file. Red Hat also bundles firewall and VPN services.
UnixWare has a set of security tools called Security Manager that lets you set up varying degrees of intrusion protection across your network services, from no restriction to turning all network services off. It's a good management time saver, though you could manually modify the services to achieve the same result.Stability and fault tolerance
The most feature-rich NOS is of little value if it can't keep a server up and running. Windows 2000 offers software RAID 0, 1 and 5 configurations to provide fault tolerance for onboard disk drives, and has a built-in network load-balancing feature that allows a group of servers to look like one server and share the same network name and IP address. The group decides which server will service each request. This not only distributes the network load across several servers, it also provides fault tolerance in case a server goes down. On a lesser scale, you can use Microsoft's Failover Clustering to provide basic failover services between two servers.
As with NT 4.0, Windows 2000 provides memory protection, which means that each process runs in its own segment.
There are also backup and restore capabilities bundled with Windows 2000.
Novell has an add-on product for NetWare called Novell Cluster Services that allows you to cluster as many as eight servers, all managed from one location using ConsoleOne, NetWare Management Portal or NWAdmin32. But Novell presently offers no clustering products to provide load balancing for applications or file services. NetWare has an elaborate memory protection scheme to segregate the memory used for the kernel and applications, and a Storage Management Services module to provide a highly flexible backup and restore facility. Backups can be all-inclusive, cover parts of a volume or store a differential snapshot.
Red Hat provides a load-balancing product called piranha with its Linux. This package provides TCP load balancing between servers in a cluster. There is no hard limit to the number of servers you can configure in a cluster. Red Hat Linux also provides software RAID support through command line tools, has memory protection capabilities and provides a rudimentary backup facility.
SCO provides an optional feature to cluster several servers in a load-balancing environment with Non-Stop Clustering for a high level of fault-tolerance. Currently, Non-Stop Clustering supports six servers in a cluster. UnixWare provides software RAID support that is managed using SCO's On-Line Data Manager feature. All the standard RAID levels are supported. Computer Associates' bundled ArcServeIT 6.6 provides backup and restore capabilities. UnixWare has memory protection capabilities.Documentation
Because our testing was conducted before Windows 2000's general availability ship date, we were not able to evaluate its hard-copy documentation. The online documentation provided on a CD is extensive, useful and well-organized, although a Web interface would be much easier to use if it gave more than a couple of sentences at a time for a particular help topic.
NetWare 5 comes with two manuals: a detailed manual for installing and configuring the NOS with good explanations of concepts and features along with an overview of how to configure them, and a small spiral-bound booklet of quick start cards. Novell's online documentation is very helpful.
Red Hat Linux comes with three manuals - an installation guide, a getting started guide and a reference manual - all of which are easy to follow.
Despite being the most difficult product to install, UnixWare offers the best documentation. It comes with two manuals: a system handbook and a getting started guide. The system handbook is a reference for conducting the installation of the operating system. It does a good job of reflecting this painful experience. The getting started guide is well-written and well-organized. It covers many of the tools needed to configure and maintain the operating system. SCO's online documentation looks nice and is easy to follow.Wrapping up
The bottom line is that these NOSes offer a wide range of characteristics and provide enterprise customers with a great deal of choice regarding how each can be used in any given corporate network.
If you want a good, general purpose NOS that can deliver enterprise-class services with all the bells and whistles imaginable, then Windows 2000 is the strongest contender. However, for high performance, enterprise file and print services, our tests show that Novell leads the pack. If you're willing to pay a higher price for scalability and reliability, SCO UnixWare would be a safe bet. But if you need an inexpensive alternative that will give you bare-bones network services with decent performance, Red Hat Linux can certainly fit the bill.
The choice is yours.
Bass is the technical director and Robinson is a senior technical staff member at Centennial Networking Labs (CNL) at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. CNL focuses on performance, capacity and features of networking and server technologies and equipment.RELATED STORIES:
Debate will focus on Linux vs. LinuxJanuary 20, 2000Some Windows 2000 PCs will jump the gunJanuary 19, 2000IBM throws Linux lovefestJanuary 19, 2000Corel Linux will run Windows appsJanuary 10, 2000Novell's eDirectory spans platformsNovember 16, 1999New NetWare embraces Web appsNovember 2, 1999Microsoft sets a date for Windows 2000October 28, 1999RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
Fusion's Forum: Square off with the vendors over who has the best NOS(Network World Fusion)How we did it: Details of the testing(Network World Fusion)Find out the tuning parameters(Network World Fusion)Download the Config files(Network World Fusion)The Shootout results(Network World Fusion)Fusion's NOS resources(Network World Fusion)With Windows 2000, NT grows up(Network World Fusion)Fireworks expected at NOS showdown(Network World Fusion)
Note: Pages will open in a new browser windowExternal sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive. RELATED SITES:
Novell, Inc.Microsoft Corp.The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc. (SCO)Red Hat, Inc.
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