Browse Prior Art Database

A Method to Allow Administrators to Determine the Results of Policy Settings Before Implementing those Policies

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000031323D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Sep-21
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Sep-21
Document File: 4 page(s) / 34K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Storage and Systems Administrators are often faced with the challenge of introducing complex automation into their environments. Although automation is desireable because it can reduce the workloads on human administrators, this is only true if the automation does what is expected. Having a system in place that automatically does inappropriate things can be devastating. To help administrators verify the usefulness of these automated functions without having to endanger their production environments, this article describes a method that allows adminstrators to test out the policies that drive the automation in a "dry-run" so that they can see what the results of those policies would have been without actually having to carry them out.

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A Method to Allow Administrators to Determine the Results of Policy Settings Before Implementing those Policies

Main Idea

IBM Tivoli Storage Resource Manager allows the storage administrator to set management policies for user-defined groups of storage resources. These policies can be fairly complex and may encompass a variety of storage resources from disparate third-party vendors. The effects of (actions resulting from) the implementation of those policies in a production environment can be somewhat difficult to predict and may have unforeseen consequences, such as the too-rapid acquisition of storage by a single application. It is therefore desirable to provide a feature allowing the storage administrator to test "what-if" scenarios by defining proposed management policies and actions for automated filesystem extension and provisioning, then applying the proposed policies and viewing the predicted results-- without actually performing the actions normally associated with those policies.

This leads to the creation of a "what-if" or "rehearsal" feature which executes the business logic associated with the policy and saves the results for review, but which does not carry out the actions normally triggered by that policy. This is important because system administrators in general are leery of new automation within their environments. They tend to want to run several tests and evaluate those results over an extended period before allowing a new piece of software or a new process to be turned loose in their environment. By allowing the system administrator to perform "what-if" scenarios to preview via a log the predicted results of creating and activating SAN storage management policies for automated file system extension and provisioning, this invention goes a long way towards helping system admins embrace this new technology. It makes it possible for them to "test drive" the function without really having to live with the results.

To the authors' knowledge, there are no other solutions of this kind for this problem.

Log-only mode allows the system administrator to perform "what-if" scenarios to preview via a log the predicted results of creating and activating va...