Wild-eyed thinking aloud: Python System Management Infrastructure

Robert Kern kern at myrddin.caltech.edu
Sat Aug 4 03:32:59 CEST 2001

In article <jt1ymtngpk.fsf at wazor.biostat.wisc.edu>,
	William Annis <annis at biostat.wisc.edu> writes:
>         I've been a Unix system adminstrator for about 7 years now,
> longer if you count my student admin jobs.  With a few, brief
> exceptions, I have always worked places with small computing budgets.
> We can't afford sexy system management packages which can sometimes
> cost in the US$100,000s.  I mean things like Tivoli, CA Unicenter,
> Bull's OpenMaster, etc.

For a summer I worked for a contractor doing a pilot Tivoli rollout. Reading the
docs and personally being subjected to the horror of setting up Tivoli (they're
still on the pilot a year later and still going through several expensive Tivoli
consultants), I came to the conclusion that there was almost nothing in Tivoli
that could not be done better with free (libre or gratis) software and Python as
the glue.

Tivoli is really just a bunch of management programs that Tivoli, Inc. (and
later IBM) put together under the "Tivoli Management Framework" (and the seams
show rather prominently, IMO). At the core is an object database written in
Java (I kept thinking to myself, "ZODB, ZODB, ZODB!"). Almost all of the site configuration files ("policies" in Tivoli-speak) were actually perl and korn 
shell scripts <shudder>.

The ZODB might not be optimal in write-often situations, but a lot of the
framework's functionality only needs write-rarely/read-often performance. For
write-often applications (say, realtime network event monitoring, like what the
Tivoli Enterprise Console (TEC) does), you can outsource to a dedicated
database, which is precisely what the TEC does.

I really do think that a Python Management Framework has a damn good chance of
becoming a lot better (and a helluva lot cheaper, price and maintenance-wise!)
than Tivoli.

Of course, I don't have any experience with the other products you mentioned,
and I'm rather bitter about Tivoli...

does-it-show?-ly y'rs

Robert Kern
kern at caltech.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
 Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
  -- Richard Harter

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