New Web Console Debuts with i5/OS V6R1
February 5, 2008 Alex Woodie
Move over, System i Navigator. IBM has a new graphical console for configuring, planning, and managing the System i operating environment with the release of i5/OS V6R1. The new Web console, called IBM Systems Director Navigator for i5/OS, is based on IBM’s System Director family of products, and carries the promise of allowing administrators to manage System i servers using the same tool they use to manage Windows, Linux, and Unix servers.
OK, let’s get one thing straight: Systems Director Navigator for i5/OS isn’t replacing System i Navigator. At least not yet, anyway. Administrators, operators, and capacity planners working with i5/OS V6R1 can still use the Windows-based System i Navigator and Management Central (available with System i Access for Windows) with i5/OS V6R1. The older console–which debuted as Client Access Express Operations Navigator with V5R1 in 2001, changed to iSeries Navigator with V5R2 in 2002, and gained its current name and Web browser functionality with the System i and i5/OS V5R4 launch in 2006 (although sometimes it’s referred to as i5/OS Navigator, or even Navigator for i5/OS)–is still a viable option for essential System i server management. For now, anyway.
While there are some restrictions to using System i Navigator’s Web-based management capabilities with i5/OS V6R1 (more on that later), the new Systems Director Navigator for i5/OS is being officially positioned by IBM as an alternative to System i Navigator. In other words, it’s up to you whether you use the new stuff or the old stuff with V6. Both will work and allow you to get the job done.
The big question is: Why would you want to use the new System Director Navigator for i5/OS, when you can still use the old stuff?
Here’s the short answer: Because IBM eventually will phase out System i Navigator (OpsNav) for the multi-platform Systems Director Navigator product, so you might as well start getting used to it. There is also some stuff in the new console that isn’t available in the old console.
The good news is you shouldn’t lose any System i Navigator capabilities when moving to the new System Director Navigator for i5/OS. With this release, IBM has extended the various functions that were accessible through System i Navigator “Tasks on the Web” (which debuted with V5R4) through the new System Director Navigator for i5/OS product. URL addressable tasks within System i Navigator can be accessed and viewed as portlets from within the console work space of the new Systems Director offering.
Overall, IBM says you can accomplish more than 300 management tasks through the new Systems Director Navigator for i5/OS product. IBM designed the groupings and functions in Systems Director Navigator for i5/OS to be similar to System i Navigator, to ensure that you have a smooth transition to the new product.
With this release, you’ll find that IBM has grouped similar functions. Here are the following groups:
Beyond being simply backwards compatible with System i Navigator, System Director Navigator for i5/OS institutes an entirely new domain for completing various tasks on your System i server. There are also a couple of new functional areas with Systems Director Navigator for i5/OS that aren’t available in System i Navigator.
These include an interface for working with the new high availability management feature in i5/OS V6R1, High Availability Solutions Manger (HASM). (For more on HASM, see “IBM Takes System i Disk Clustering Up a Notch with HASM”). There is also an interface for Performance Data Investigator, a new way of analyzing application performance information that also debuts with V6R1.
And you can bet that IBM will continue to build more functionality into Systems Director Navigator for i5/OS with future releases, particularly as it relates to managing heterogeneous environments. After all, that was the main reason for standardizing i5/OS management tools on Systems Director foundation.
For those of you choosing to stick with System i Navigator and Management Central, you should be aware of some restrictions and changes with V6R1. For starters, due to API changes, you won’t be able to use the V5R4 System i Navigator Remote Access Services GUI to access a server running an i5/OS V6R1 system. You might also notice there are no longer “New” and “Open” buttons with the Remote Access Services GUI with V6R1, because IBM has removed the “New” button (that button’s functionality is now accomplished with the “Open” button). New restrictions on copying files through System i Navigator have also been put in place, and IBM has also changed the location of System i Navigator plug-ins.
For more information on general changes in i5/OS V6R1, see the “i5/OS Memo to Users” document (in PDF format) at publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/systems/scope/i5os/topic/rzaq9/rzaq9.pdf
For more information about System Director Navigator for i5/OS, visit publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/systems/scope/i5os/index.jsp?topic=/rzatg/rzatgdirectoroverview.htm.