SD-UX And Software Management

Easing The Push/Pull Tension of Distribution

Software distribution has long been an arduous task for HP-UX administrators. They'velong had the problem of installing software from local media to a local host or from acentral location to many locations. Maybe SD-UX and its cousin SD-OV should be standardutensils in their system tool kits.

Within the HP 9000 system is a tool every HP administrator should have in their bag oftricks. Software Dis-tributor (SD-UX) is a collection of programs used in HP-UX 10.x toperform all software management tasks. It's a standardized tool-kit that conforms to thePortable Operating System Interface (POSIX) standard for packaging software and utilitiesrelated to software management.

SD-UX comes bundled with HP-UX. It allows you to not only install software from localmedia to a local host, but to distribute software from a central location to multipleclient-server locations on your network. SD-UX has a cousin, SD-OV (OpenView SoftwareDistributor, an add-on program available for purchase) which allows you to not only pullsoftware from a server to a client, but to push software from the server to multipleclients/servers.

Depot Delivery

SD-UX uses the term "depot" to define a collection of programs or packages. Adepot can be on a tape, CD-ROM, or local or network disk. All 10.x HP-UX software (i.e.,Mirror/UX, GlancePlus, NNM and others) is extracted with SD-UX and contained withindepots. Patches can also be delivered from a depot.

SD-UX performs software installation through the following four operational phases:

Selection -- Select the source andsoftware you wish to load during this phase. The source can be local or network mediaavailable from any host that has depots.

Analysis -- All kinds of checks areperformed, including free disk space, dependencies, compatibility and mounted volumes.Among the useful outputs of this phase is a calculation of the amount of space thesoftware you're loading will consume on each logical volume.

Load -- After you're satisfied with theanalysis, proceed with loading the software.

Configuration -- It's possible that thesoftware you're loading requires kernel rebuilding and a system reboot. Startup andshutdown scripts might also need to be modified.

All SD-UX commands can be invoked from the command line. In addition, swinstall, swcopyand swremove commands offer an interactive graphical user interface (GUI) with windows andpull-down menus, or a text-based terminal user interface (TUI) where screen navigation isdone with the keyboard.

Central Depots

Using SD-UX to manage and install software to local systems (one at a time) isintuitive, but very time consuming. One way to save time is to create and register depotson a central server. These depots contain software filesets such as new software, patchesand custom software. This allows you to pull your software down to clients from yourcentral server. Swcopy is the utility that creates and registers depots.

Below is an example of how to create a depot from a CD-ROM to the local system -- thedepot can then be made available to all systems on the network. This example onlyscratches the surface of functionality you have with SD-UX.

The first step when loading software from CD-ROM is to insert the media and mount theCD-ROM.

mount /dev/dsk/c0t2d0 /cdrom

where c0t2d0 is the SCSI address of the CD drive and /cdrom is the mount point.

swcopy

brings up either a GUI or a TUI depending on your terminal type.

With the SD-UX Copy window opened, go to the Actions menu and select Add Targets (thetarget is the host and directory location for the depot). This brings up a window to enterthe host's name. After adding the host name, click on the button to bring up anotherwindow.

Here you need to enter an empty directory name's entire path (the directory does nothave to exist) which becomes your depot. Select OK, close the window and click on the OKbutton in the Add Targets window.

Next, select the Actions menu again, this time clicking on Show Software Selection.Enter the mount point of the CD-ROM (in this example /cdrom) in the area for Source DepotPath and select OK.

This brings up all the bundled filesets on the CD-ROM. A bundle might compriseproducts, subproducts and filesets. Select Open Item from the Actions menu if you want todrop down one level to see the subproducts or filesets.

After you have marked specified items for copy, select Run This Job from the Actionsmenu. This starts the analysis stage, after which you can check the Logfile or Disk Spaceto get more information about the copy and your disk requirements.

From Host to Client

With this new depot created, you can pull software from that host to a client byediting two files on the client and one on the host. The first on the client is /etc/host.Make sure that the host name and IP address are in this file. The second is/var/adm/sw/defaults.hosts, which probably has not yet been created. If not, create itwith the following lines:

swinstall.hosts=hostname
swinstall.hosts_with_depots=hostname

where hostname is the name of the host containing the software depots.

Finally, enter the client's name and IP address in /etc/hosts file of the host machine.

The Software Pusher

Although this procedure decreases the time it takes to install software on clients, itstill requires the system administrator to physically work at each client. As mentionedearlier, HP offers a product SD-OV, which allows you to push software from a host toclients over a network without ever leaving the host machine. SD-OV also allows you toautomatically schedule off-hour distribution to minimize network impact.

SD-UX provides a coherent framework for effectively managing software at the enterpriselevel. To find out how to implement them in your environment, refer to HP's LaserROM andmanpages or consult with a knowledgeable systems integrator.

--Hal Marsh and Greg Fountaine are systems engineers for Strategic Technologies(Cary, N.C.).