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Persistence and Networking Pays Off For Control-M Newbie.

In March 2012 I was brought in as an intern at my company to shadow the ways of IT and also be a part time Control-m scheduler. As soon I started in the IT arena I knew that I was going go be constantly drinking knowledge from a fire hose. To help me handle this I began by something I do well which is networking! The first thing I did was created this blog and started posting things that I came across. I guess you could call this blog a journal of my Control-m progress. This led to a good amount of hits and also some comments from other Control-m experts. Another thing I did was I began building all kinds of jobs in our Control-m development environment. This served as good practice and helped me really dive in and learn certain functions of Control-m. I also did a lot of googlling related to anything on Control-m I could find. I did find things but a lot of the stuff I found didn’t apply to my environment or were subjects well beyond my skillset. It was very frustrating because Control-m is such a small specialty it’s hard to find a lot of good information online. Eventually I stumbled upon a site that was run by Control-m subject matter expert that dedicated to his time with Control-m. I actually reached out to the Control-m expert by emailing the contact information on his site, just to start up some Control-m conversation. Well it turned out he loves helping folks in the Control-m community. This led to a lot of resourceful emails and phone calls. Eventually I was able to get this guy on to do some Control-m training and other types of work for my IT shop. From our constant Control-m dealings I now consider this guy and friend and Control-m colleague. I also developed a relationship with one of BMC’s control-m experts and salesmen. He was always good to check on me and answer all my questions. And he even advised my manager at the time to upgrade our Control-m environment from version 7 to version 8. His recommendation was approved and then next thing you know, I was tasked to do the migration. Around this time I also began to work with BMC Support with a lot of issues I ran across. This was also a good resource for me in certain situations. Another thing that came along in Feb. 2013 BMC Software invited me to one of their annual Control-m Briefing conferences in Houston. Going into this I thought this would be just a boring quick turn around trip. I was wrong about that. It turned out to be a good time and led me to more Control-m knowledge and even more subject matter experts that I was able to network with. In fact one of the contacts I met I still reach out today for any Control-m questions and sometimes shoot him a text to see how he is doing. He happens to be a really talented Control-m Administrator and scheduler. In fact he was pretty much born to be a Control-m expert because his mother is a career Control-m scheduler as well. I just think that is really neat side note. Another thing that I did to increase my networking opportunities was created a Linkedin account. This has served as a very useful tool and has put me in contact with a lot of good IT connections and other folks in business as well.

 

By building up a strong network of Control-m colleagues and constantly building things in developmentI catapulted me from being an intern in March 2012 to owning Control-m at my shop by December of 2012. It doesn’t hurt to network and be persistent no matter what you’re trying to accomplish. 

 

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Control-M Project Status: Re-Engineering Jobs, Runbooks, Presentations, Missing Job Owners……

It’s been a slow process getting jobs into production the last two months. Even though this is fact I still think I have had a lot of good wins.

I am improving with making batch files but finding job owners and identifying the purpose of jobs has been very challenging. I am starting to pile up newly tested scripts that are in need of a nice owner and and a detailed run book. It’s so funny to me that looking back I was struggling with simple tasks. Now those tasks are a walk in the park but now I am held up by searching for job owners and then waiting for run book information to be sent to me via email. In fact when I get impatient I have interviewed a few job owners over the phone to make sure I get the information I need. Well more like a run book interview. I am persistently hunting these folks down and doing my due diligence. It will pay off but I am learning to be patient during this process.

Also during this process or migration whatever this is, I have became acquainted with scripting up batch files. I have re engineered older long winded scripts and simplified them using batch.(embedded scripts) Some of these I have done on my own and others I have had the help my friend and heck of a Workload Automation expert Robert Stinnett. http://www.robertstinnett.com/control-m-resources/ I am slowly building a foundation in basic scripting and can now read advanced scripts very well. This is going to come in handy as I move forward.

One thing I am still trying to perfect is setting variables in my scripts using the Control-M parameter option. Some of the basic functions such as setting date stamps in formats such as ddmmyyyym yymmdd, yyyy, mmddyyy and other formats are very easy for me now. I still seem to have to go back and check my work and test when I substring variables within the parameter setup in Control-M. I usually get it but always have to check it a few extra times. It’s fun to play with but I would like to be confident the first time I sub string something out.

I have also made major use of the documentation link that is reachable by clicking on a job in the Control-M environment. You can access your documentation via Web link or to a file path. It worked better for me to use a web link and set it up that way. I also took the time to set up a standardized template then saved as a PDF document that way my run books are standard and very easy to read. I have received a few kudos for this setup. Run books are very tedious and annoying to setup but very necessary. Also the cool thing is when a particular job has issues the folks monitoring the jobs can use the documentation link and it takes the user straight to the PDF for that particular job. It then loads the PDF right in front of their eyes for them to follow the instructions. This has been my most simple task this whole project but it is something a lot of pride in! People love run books but nobody wants to do them. I promise you I will be doing them for a long time!

I have done three slide deck presentations on Control-M in the last two months and I am about to do my fourth one this Friday. I am looking forward to this but very nervous about presenting at the same time. This presentation will make or brake my Control-M career at my shop. No pressure right? Oh yeah, by the way as a Workload Automation Expert at your IT shop you also have to be able to sell your product internally to other departments! If I sell this right I will be the Control-M King at my shop. No pressure right?

So things are looking good. Jobs are slowly but surely being migrated. I am starting to be able to sale the product like a Control-M salesmen minus the sharp shirt and tie. I am getting versed and comfortable in scripting. I am making sure every job has a good run book. I am implementing a good setup model for my Control-M environment. Learning new things and most importantly having fun doing all of this!

How to do a BMC Control-M Version 8 Upgrade in a Development Environment.

Have you ever wondered if you could upgrade your older Control-M environment yourself? I think that a lot of Control-M customers and users don’t realize that BMC Software gives you the tools you need to do this new popular upgrade to Version 8 yourself. As a matter of fact I have just done an upgrade on my own. Here is my approach. It’s practical, safe and most of all cost efficient for you!

First of all the Development environment is my sanctuary and my canvas to IT perfection. So here we go. First you can do one of two things. You can download the Control-M Version 8 Upgrade Guide from the BMC website or you can reach out to the BMC Support Team and ask them for the requirements needed for your Version 8 Development environment via email or phone call. (Actually only if you have an existing Customer Support Account will you have access to such material or to the Support Team. Ask your BMC Account Rep to get you started.) So after you know the requirements needed for your servers and database. Pass these requirements on to the people in your organization that can make this new Control-M Development environment come to life. Put a request in and have your Server team set up a Development environment. Then put a request to have your Database Group/Team or whatever your organization calls them and have them throw an SQL Server Agent on one of the Servers (I don’t know how Postgres Databases work if that’s what you are currently using talk to BMC Support) that you requested to have built. It really is this simple do get started. I can’t guarantee that your team members from these other groups will be able to get your environment and database created in a timely manner but I can assure you are on to a good start to your first Control-M Version 8 Upgrade. I am basically saying hurry up and wait. Ok so once their work is completed, folks you have the green light to get officially started.

Let me introduce you to a new friend mine named the Amigo Ticket System. Open a ticket and request an Amigo Ticket with BMC Support. If you aren’t sure how to open a ticket on the website just call the Support number and the Support person will create and escalate your ticket for you. And somebody will call you. The callback time depends on the severity of the case. A development would be a level 3. So I would give it two hours at the most. If longer you they are just busy helping a lot of customers. The Amigo ticket allows you to talk to BMC Support and understand and go over Upgrade Guides to familiarize yourself with the whole upgrade process. Once you have an understanding of everything contact support again in regards to your Amigo Ticket number and let them know you understand the process. If you still aren’t sure ask them again. That’s their job and they take pleasure in helping you handle any issue. That’s why they call it the Amigo Ticket. So you asked again to clarify a few things maybe even talk in circles. It’s all fine. Now you know what is involved. Now you need to plan out how you want to go about starting this process. They can help you with this but since they know this is a new Control-M Development environment there is not as much planning involved from yourself or your BMC Support representative. Largely because there is no downtime issues when doing an upgrade in Development. Which is fine your here to learn and prepare for the real challenge of learning the new version 8 Interface and preparing to upgrade your production environment.

Next steps are to go to the Downloads and Patches section under the BMC Support area. Go in and select the components that you currently have in your older Control-M version. The Configuration Manager in your older environment will tell you what modules you need to download. Also I prefer to select file type that is ISO. To me this was the best route to go. There are many file options to use. Use the one that is easiest for you and your environment. Select the FTP manager once you have selected all of the components you know you need. Then you will receive an FTP link email. Take this link and paste into each browser on each server. Then access the link and drop the ISO files that are needed on each server. Also another side note is if your environment is virtual you need to have your Server Admin mount the ISO files for you. If it is not virtual just take the ISO files and have them burned to a disc. I had mine virtually loaded in the DVD drive on each Development Server. Do not try to mount on database server. The main Workload Automation V8 install will setup the database for you. Make sure you work with your database folks to get you the proper access and rights to that database server. I launched the Control-m 8 install file and just followed the steps. (Make sure you take notes of what you name your Ctrlm server and your Emserver. And make sure you get the username and password to your database from the DBA who set everything up for you.) Take notes or screenshot all of the usernames and passwords you create during this process. There will be occasions that rise in the future when these might come in handy. These will definitely be needed to use the migration toolkit from your older version to Version 8. I prefer screenshots. So continue through the step by step process and your install is complete for the Workload Automation Install. Now just download all of the Control-m Modules that you want on each agent. You can download every module on every agent. Or you can only download certain modules for certain agents. It all depends on what your strategy for your design.

The rest of the work is defining all of your components in the Configuration Manager. This can be done by reading the Control-M Administrator Guide for Version 8 or by Webex with Control-M Support.

This whole process really is that simple. And this post is just to get you familiarized with the process. And help you ask good questions when you contact BMC Support to let them know you are ready to Upgrade to Control-M Version 8. Make sure you just read the material given to you during the Amigo Ticket Process and ask every question you can while you have BMC Support on the phone. It’s really not that hard.

Helpful Tips:
1. Make sure each server for the new environment has the proper requirements that BMC designates.
2. Be the Administrator of each Server.
3. Turn off UAC.
4. Do not delete your old environment until you have completed a toolkit migration of the old date and you are 100% you are ready for Version 8 environment.
5. You should do this install in Development and enjoy the process and take lots of notes.
6. Have your team create the same number of servers involved as in your older Control-M environment.

Twenty-Five years old and a BMC control-m Padawan and a SQL Padawan.

Today is my birthday, which means I turn twenty-five. And also a lot of birthday wishes from friends and family. One of the few young people I know my age that is in the SQL Database realm wished me a happy birthday and called me a “SQL Padawan” . A Padawan is the title given to young Jedis in training to become a Jedi knight.  In Star Wars that train in Yoda’s Jedi Academy. At a certain point the top performers or most gifted Padawans are picked by a Jedi Master to instruct him or her in the ways of the force and help him or her become a Jedi knight. The goal is to pass the training your instructor gives you. Once this is completed the Padawan advances to Jedi Knight.  (http://timradney.com) I realized today that last year I was asked to learn control-m and SQL. Yes I am getting closer to being good at control-m Admin. Once I get my scheduling training I will have completed half of my training but will still be behind with SQL. I keep realizing that I am going to have to learn SQL whether I like it or not. I have the educational tools to be on a medium level with SQL. It is all up to me if I want to be good at SQL or just know enough to talk about it and do basic queries. It’s funny to me that I know more about SQL than the average IT professionals yet barely dabble in it. You would think it would motivate me to keep increasing the amount of knowledge I have about SQL. I guess this blog is a start and realization where I should be and where I will be after more effort is applied. Turning twenty-five has already opened my eyes more. It also made me realize that my mentor or Jedi Master/SQL Expert who has already completed so many things in the SQL world. He is also very respected for his knowledge and work ethic. He has picked me as his Padawan for a reason. And also I realized today the only thing keeping him from being a complete Jedi Master is he hasn’t made his first Padawan a Jedi Knight of SQL skills. I think once I get up to par, it will help my career and make me a Jedi Knight in the SQL world, but it will also make Tim Radney a complete Jedi Master in the SQL community.

Young control-m Administrator knows that the BMC Support team has his back.

It’s been a while since my last blog entry and it is way over due. After numerous issues and situations that were out of my control or above me. This control-m project is finally on course and making headway. My skill set has remarkably improved. I would call myself a subpar administrator of control-m instead of somebody thrown into the fire of workload automation. This being mainly because of my relentless pursuit of knowledge on the product and the good people down in Texas working in the BMC Support area. We get a long great because they are relentless as I am about getting work done in a timely fashion. BMC Support is very professional and will help you and your teammates with anything BMC product related you need. Another thing that makes them standout to me is sometimes when things are downloading they make awesome conversation. You can tell these folks enjoy what they are doing and really want to make sure your BMC product is back up to par. I am such a rookie to workload automation it can be overwhelming at times, especially being a young control-m Administrator with a mile long to do list. It makes me feel more confident knowing BMC Support has my back!

Control-m With Big Al overcomes rookie mistake and explains how to make changes to jobs already uploaded into the Enterprise-Mananger.

I decided to blog about this because I made a simple mistake recently when trying to make a easy change to a job already loaded and scheduled in the Enterprise-Manager. I thought it would be nice to write about the proper procedure. This is another example of meticulous procedure of control-m. Now that I know the right way to do this it’s not so bad. Let me explain to you how to correct a job that’s already loaded and scheduled in the EM so you will know how to do this simple task in the future.

You need to login into your control-m desktop account. Click file, select load jobs from control-m/EM. Select the table that has the job(s) that needs the correction. Click Load, shortly afterwards a Load Table Results Window will appear. It will say Table name and jobs successfully loaded/unsucessfully loaded. This time lets say they are successfully loaded. Now the job will appear on the local workspace. (Make sure to use local workspace)  Double Click on the job step you need to make the correction(s) to. A window will appear with ten tabs to make changes to the job by. In this case I am wanting to change a email address for a job owner. This is done in the STEPS Tab. After the change is made click Save/Close. Now you will be back on your local workspace. Click write jobs to control-m/EM. Here it will sit for others to see and add other changes or sit for review by your superior. If it is fully correct go ahead and upload the job. Select Tools, then click Table Manager. Highlight the table this particular job is under and click Upload @ the top of the menu screen. Since I made changes using this procedure they will be added for the next day at time cutoff that the control-m servers are set by. There is a way to make changes immediately without waiting on the cutoff time and also a way to make temporary changes in the Enterprise-Manager that are in effect until the cutoff time. I am not going to explain those tonight maybe some other blog post. FYI If you don’t know your control-m server cutoff times, ask because they are not all set to midnight.

When I tried to go about this I just loaded jobs from the EM into the Desktop made the changes and Saved and Closed. If you do this your corrections will never be added to your job(s). Make sure you remember to make changes ,then Write the job then Upload the job from the Table Manager back into the Enterprise/Manager.

Hope this helps other control-m users out there that stumble across my blog.

Control-m Newbie “Networking, blogging and asking questions has led me to setup Filewatcher jobs”

Recently I edited my blog titled “Being control-m newbie is tough”. Mainly due to the fact my frustrations with the learning curve sounded as if I disliked the product. Personally I am NOT A Hater of BMC or control-m! I think BMC is a top notch company and their product control-m rocks!! I really do see the benefits and the capabilities of control-m. It’s awesome. I get so excited when I learn something new. I am hungry for knowledge and to be able to implement new things I come across, just excites me! In the future I might come across frustrated on my blogs, this is just a normal part of learning new software on the fly! The good thing is I am learning.

The learning curve is tough for control-m because it has so many particular steps for setting up new jobs. The cool thing is though once you learn these steps it becomes second nature. It will take time but eventually a newbie like myself will get there. Tonight I learned alot from nice control-m expert from the BMC community. I actually found the user in the BMC forums and contacted the user. Very helpful and loves control-m and loves helping young newbies like myself. WIN WIN for me!! (Make sure to get involved in the BMC forums in the control-m group on their website) We talked about setting up file watcher jobs and then how to kick off a SSIS package once the file is located. The user went through a step by step process  in the set up menu. Very blessed to have such a nice person take the time to help me! I also realized the two jobs that I have been struggling with do not need powershell scripts to kick off the next step in the job. These next steps can be set up inside of the control-m desktop application. It was worth networking in the control-m community there are lots of knowledgeable folks out there. Don’t be afraid to reach out that’s what they are there for.