Monday, 31 March 2014

Book Review - To Come - Testing Cloud Services: How to Test SaaS, PaaS & IaaS

As part of an irregular series of book reviews, working in association with the British Computer Society (BCS), I've just received this: -

Testing Cloud Services: How to Test SaaS, PaaS & IaaS by Kees Blokland, Jeroen Mengerink and Martin Pol

This is what Amazon say: -

Everybody is confronted with cloud computing. Whether you are a user, designer, programmer, project manager, or tester, sooner or later the cloud affects your work. If you are involved in selecting or implementing services from the cloud, or in keeping them up and running, this book will prove to be an invaluable resource. 

Testing Cloud Services covers an extensive list of risks that arise when implementing cloud computing, including some traditional risks and some completely new ones, and provides strategies for avoiding these risks and solving problems. Every risk is connected to existing, updated, and new test measures. It is necessary to start testing during the selection of cloud services, and continue end-to-end testing even after going live, as continuity risks arise all the time. 

With this book in hand, you will save a lot of time and discover an effective approach to testing that can be applied in practice immediately!

I'll let you know what I think in a week or two.

Codename: BlueMix - Development in the cloud .... Want to know more ?

Calling all Born on the Cloud, Entrepreneur and Mobile Developers: Come learn about IBM's new cloud development platform, Codename: BlueMix. Here you will have the opportunity to deploy your application and have it running in a matter of hours! 

As part of this workshop you will be able to:
- Learn the fundamentals of building and deploying your application in the Cloud (BlueMix DevOps Services)
- Work with BlueMix experts on how to use the product and migrate your application
- Help shape BlueMix with your input and feedback

BlueMix is an open-standards, cloud-based platform for building, managing and running apps of all types (web, mobile, big data, new smart devices). Capabilities include Java, mobile backend development, application monitoring, as well as capabilities from ecosystem partners and open source — all through an as-a-service model in the cloud.

For me, the closest event is at IBM Hursley Park: -

29 April 2014


IBM Hursley Park
SO21 2JN

Perhaps I'll see you there ?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Packt Publishing - Celebrating 2000 Titles

From our friends at Packt Publishing: -

We at Packt Publishing are launching an exciting campaign to coincide with the release of our 2000th title. During this offer Packt is giving its reader a chance to dive into their comprehensive catalog and Buy One, Get One Free across their entire range of eBooks.

The campaign begins on 18th-Mar-2014 and will continue up until 26th-Mar-2014. Following are the benefits readers can avail during this campaign.
•     Unlimited purchases during the offer period
•     Offer is automatically applied at checkout

Want to know more ?

Then visit Packt here: -

British Computer Society - Southampton - With Added Raspberry Pi !!!

Raspberry Pi: Workshop, presented by Joe Dunn,jointly with the IET, at Southampton Solent University
Details to be confirmed
Due to a high level of interest, prior registration for this free workshop is mandatory,
This event is free to attend for all IET, non-IET, BCS and non-BCS members.
Learn to programme the GPIO pins on your Raspberry Pi to control external systems!
A hands-on interactive workshop on how to use the GPIO pins on board the Raspberry Pi to control external systems.
Bring your own Pi, power lead, laptop and network lead. SD cards will be provided. If you don't have a Pi, please pair up with someone who does.
Once I have a registration URL, I'll post it here :-)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

IBM Sametime Unified Telephony and USB Headsets - SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW

So I've been a big fan of IBM's Voice-over-IP ( VoIP ) solution, Sametime Unified Telephony, especially given that I have little/no mobile coverage where I live. One of the (few) downsides of living in the UK countryside is the lack of decent communications infrastructure, either broadband (ADSL) or mobile (GSM/3G).

Normally, I use a cheap ( ~£25 ) USB-connected headset - HP Premium Digital Headset - purchased from my local supermarket, of all places :-)

However, given that I've been using a Plantronics Voyager USB headset with my iPhone and iPad, I wanted to see whether I could also use it with Sametime on the Mac.

So I hooked the headset up via Bluetooth, and made a call via SUT.

Now this is the weird bit - the call went through but the voice of the person to whom I was calling ( actually it was the AT&T teleconference service ) was running at about 25% of normal speed :-(

It was like the person to whom I was speaking ( actually a recorded announcer ) was speaking through treacle :-)

I tried a different headset - from a company called 7dayshop, bought from Amazon for about £15 !! - and got precisely the same symptom.

Thankfully, having posted the issue on an internal discussion forum, via IBM Connections, one of my correspondents suggested that the problem MIGHT be the Mac's Bluetooth stack.

He further suggested that I use the little Bluetooth adapter that comes with the Plantronics headset, the BT300, instead of the built-in OS X Bluetooth stack.

This I did, and ( going against my own make-a-change, test-a-change methodology ), also installed the Plantronics Spokes Software v2.1 for IBM Sametime as well: -

Quelle surprise, my colleague was absolutely right - the audio quality via SUT over Bluetooth via the BT300 is nice-as-pie, and the Spokes software gives me some nice additional features, which is a nice double bonus.

Bottom line, if you want to use VOIP via Bluetooth, definitely look at a dedicated Bluetooth adapter ….

Further exploration in the wonderful world of Network Attached Storage

Following on from an earlier post: -

I've been using my Synology DS414 as a backup for my Mac, using Time Machine, for the past few months.

Before you ask, it's one of a number of backups, including two external USB drives, one using Time Machine, one using SuperDuper as well as my company's Tivoli Storage Manager cloud-based service.

So, this evening, I thought it'd be neat to backup my backup drive to the Synology.

To be more precise, one of my many external USB drives, a Lenovo 500 GB encrypted drive, contains all of the IBM software that I typically install, including WebSphere Application Server, IBM Business Process Manager, IBM Operational Decision Manager etc. plus productivity tools such as IBM Notes etc.

Therefore, it seems quite logical to have a backup of that stuff, in case something nasty happens to the little chap :-(

So, knowing that the Synology has USB ports ( including a USB3 port ), I plugged the drive in, entered the passcode, and c'est voila, up came the drive.

Now the USB drive itself is formatted with the Apple Mac OS X HFS+ format, which the DS414 recognised out of the box.

This is what I'm currently running: -

As you can see, there is an update pending, which I'll apply later, once the copy has completed :-)

I'm doing the copy via the command-line - is there any other way ?

For the record, this is what the underlying DS414 OS shows me: -

DiskStation> dmesg

[ 1439.024126] usb 1-1: new high-speed USB device number 2 using ehci_marvell
[ 1439.210699] scsi6 : usb-storage 1-1:1.0
[ 1440.214948] scsi 6:0:0:0: Direct-Access     ThinkPad Secure 500GB 3.0         0119 PQ: 0 ANSI: 6
[ 1440.227667] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdq] 976773168 512-byte logical blocks: (500 GB/465 GiB)
[ 1440.237658] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdq] Write Protect is off
[ 1440.242474] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdq] Mode Sense: 2b 00 10 08
[ 1440.246599] sd 6:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
[ 1440.247748] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdq] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, supports DPO and FUA
[ 1442.149619]  sdq: sdq1 sdq2
[ 1442.158283] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdq] Attached SCSI disk

DiskStation> fdisk -l

fdisk: device has more than 2^32 sectors, can't use all of them

Disk /dev/sda: 2199.0 GB, 2199023255040 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 267349 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks  Id System
/dev/sda1               1      267350  2147483647+ ee EFI GPT
fdisk: device has more than 2^32 sectors, can't use all of them

Disk /dev/sdb: 2199.0 GB, 2199023255040 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 267349 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks  Id System
/dev/sdb1               1      267350  2147483647+ ee EFI GPT

Disk /dev/sdq: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks  Id System
/dev/sdq1               1       60802   488386583+ ee EFI GPT

DiskStation> mount

/dev/root on / type ext4 (rw,relatime,user_xattr,nosynoacl,barrier=1,journal_checksum,data=ordered)
none on /dev/pts type devpts (gid=4,mode=620)
/sys on /sys type sysfs (0)
/tmp on /tmp type tmpfs (0)
/proc/bus/usb on /proc/bus/usb type usbfs (0)
/dev/vg1000/lv on /volume1 type ext4 (usrjquota=aquota.user,,jqfmt=vfsv0,synoacl)
/dev/sdq1 on /volumeUSB1/usbshare1-1 type vfat (utf8,umask=000,shortname=mixed,uid=1024,gid=100)
/dev/sdq2 on /volumeUSB1/usbshare1-2 type hfsplus (ro,force,uid=1024,gid=100,umask=000)

and you can see the hfsplus partition, from which I'm copying the software: -

DiskStation> cd volume1/Software/
DiskStation> cp -Rf /volumeUSB1/usbshare1-2/Software/* .

I'm going to leave the copy running, whilst I have a nice glass of something ….

Leveraging the IBM BPM Coach Framework in Your Organization

The IBM Coach Framework is a key element of the IBM Business Process Management product suite. With the Coach Framework, process authors can create and maintain custom web-based user interfaces that are embedded within their business process solutions. This ability to create and maintain custom user interfaces is a key factor in the successful deployment of business process solutions. Coaches have proven to be an extremely powerful element of IBM BPM solutions, and with the release of IBM BPM version 8.0 they were rejuvenated to incorporate the recent advances in browser-based user interfaces.

This IBM Redbooks publication focuses on the capabilities Coach Framework delivers with IBM BPM version 8.5, but much of what is shared in these pages continues to be of value as IBM evolves Coaches in the future. This book has been produced to help others fully benefit from the power of the Coach Framework.

WebSphere MQ authentication and install errors using LDAP on Linux 64-bit.

Thanks to Twitter for sharing this: -

WebSphere MQ authentication and install errors using LDAP on Linux 64-bit #WMQ
19/03/2014 19:00

You are experiencing WebSphere MQ (WMQ) authentication and install errors when using LDAP on Linux 64-bit. You are getting FDCs with Probeid XY051170 during installation when the mqm user or group is in the LDAP directory and when attempting to run MQ applications with a LDAP userid.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Education: Join webcast on Dynacache Trace Analysis - Servlet and JSP caching


On 02 April 2014 at 11:00 AM EDT, a WebSphere Support Technical Exchange presentation on Dynacache Trace Analysis - Servlet and JSP caching will be delivered by Varun Tallapragada, a subject matter expert. An open question and answer session will follow the presentation.


This presentation helps customers understand detailed trace points for Dynamic Caching and its replication.

Level of Difficulty: Advanced

Varun Tallapragada, WebSphere Application Server L2 Support, WASWEB
Varun has been in WebSphere Application Server support since 2006. He is responsible for solving customer problems related to Websphere Application Server, with specialization in various components including Dynamic caching, Session management, Webcontainer, JSP, JSF, ClassLoader, SIP and Security.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Securing IBM Business Process Manager

Thanks to Twitter for reminding me of this: -

IBM #BPM Good Practices Blog: How do you secure your IBM BPM environment? #bpmgp
12/03/2014 13:00

Good practice: Secure your IBM BPM environment

It is important to secure your IBM® Business Process Manager environment.

If you are on IBM BPM V8.0 or earlier, consult the IBM Redbooks® publication IBM Business Process Manager Security: Concepts and Guidance, which provides information about security that concerns an organization's business process management (BPM) program, common security holes that often occur in this field, and techniques for rectifying these holes. This book documents preferred practices and common security hardening exercises that will help you achieve a secured IBM BPM installation.

If you are on IBM BPM V8.5 or later, consult the Securing IBM Business Process Manager and applications.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

CWSIS1535E The messaging engine's unique id (ME_UUID) does not match that found in the data store

This is something that I have seen with IBM Business Process Manager and IBM Business Monitor implementations: -


When trying to start a WebSphere Application Server Messaging Engine, it fails to start and in the SystemOut.log you see this error: CWSIS1535E: The messaging engine's unique id does not
match that found in the data store.


The symptoms of this problem are that the WebSphere Application Server Messaging Engine will not start and the following messages appear in SystemOut.log:

CWSIS1538I: The messaging engine, ME_UUID=ME2_UUID, INC_UUID=INC1, is attempting to obtain an exclusive lock on the data store.
CWSIS1545I: A single previous owner was found in the messaging engine's data store, ME_UUID=ME1_UUID, INC_UUID=INC1
CWSIS1535E: The messaging engine's unique id does not match that found in the data store.  ME_UUID=ME2_UUID,ME_UUID(DB)=ME1_UUID


This problem occurs when the messaging engine detects it does not have exclusive ownership of the data store because the identifiers in the SIBOWNER table do not match those of the messaging engine. Messaging engine ME2 is trying to take exclusive locks on tables that are owned by ME1. This will never succeed.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Interesting feature importing Microsoft Visio diagrams into Microsoft PowerPoint

We hit an interesting glitch today, importing a series of architectural designs into MS PowerPoint, from MS Visio.

We exported the Visio diagrams, one at a time, in Enhanced MetaFile (EMF) format, and then imported them into PowerPoint.

Sadly, we noticed that certain boxes, drawn with dotted lines ( used to represent optional components in the diagrams ), acquired solid lines ( used to represent in-scope and "mandatory" components ).

The same also happened using Windows MetaFile (WMF) format.

This rather reduced the effectiveness of the diagrams, which was a bit of a pain.

Thankfully, my colleague jumped onto Google ( oh, the irony, given that we had an issue with three Microsoft products - Visio and PowerPoint, running on Windows ), and found this MS article: -

In Microsoft Office Visio 2003, when your drawing contains objects that use a dashed or a dotted line pattern, and you copy and paste the objects to a Microsoft Office document or to a document in another program that supports linked and embedded objects, you may find that some of the embedded Visio objects appear with a solid line pattern. Objects that use a line pattern with thick, short lines retain their formatting, whereas objects that use a line pattern with thinner, longer lines do not retain their formatting. The line pattern of these embedded objects are converted to solid lines.

You may also experience these symptoms when you export your drawings to Windows Metafile (.wmf) format.

There is a workaround: -

To work around this problem, increase the thickness of the line pattern of the embedded Visio object after you copy and paste the Visio drawing to the other program. To do so, follow these steps:
• Open the document that contains the embedded Visio drawing.
• Double-click the embedded Visio drawing in the document.
• Right-click the Visio object whose line pattern you want to modify, point to Format, and then click Line.
• In the Weight box, click the line thickness setting that you want, and then click OK.
• Click an empty area of the document outside the embedded Visio drawing.
• Save the document.

but this would have left us with TWO copies of each drawing, leading to a potential drift.

Therefore, we chose the solution …. to "hack" the Windows Registry :-)

To resolve this problem, create the
registry entry in the following registry key and set the
registry entry to the value that you want:
• Visio 2007
• Visio 2003

Once we did this, and re-imported the EMF drawings, all was well.

I did find it (briefly) ironic that I had to update the Windows Registry to let Visio and PowerPoint play nicely together, and could've ranted about Windows. But, do you know what ? I suspect I've had to do similar weird things to make stuff work on my Mac. Given that modern software typically leverages the graphics capabilities of the underlying OS, this is the way of the world :-)

PS I think we were using Office 2003

IBM Business Process Manager 7.5.1 Fixpack 2 ( ) released

Missed this announcement on Friday 7 March: -

Something for which one of my clients has been waiting …..

Saturday, 8 March 2014

An introduction to the application lifecycle on Codename: BlueMix

Another nice little nugget from IBM developerWorks: -

Codename: BlueMix

Jay Allen starts by going to the jStart page on GitHub and cloning the Node MySQL Upload application to his local notebook machine.

He then displays two of the files in the application. He shows you the key code sections of the application itself. Next, he shows you the key information in the .yml file, which defines the preferred way to deploy the application to BlueMix.

After Jay shows you the code, he demonstrates how to target the environment from the command line and how to push the application to BlueMix based on the information in the .yml file.

Jay then shows how the application appears in the BlueMix palette of applications and launches the application. He briefly uploads a file by using the application.

Jay demonstrates how to review the runtime parameters and change them from the BlueMix dashboard. Finally, he shows how easy it is to delete an application when you are done with it.

Create a mobile BPM application by integrating IBM Worklight and IBM Business Process Manager

A nice combination of roles here, with a spot of Mobile and a dollop of IBM BPM: -

This article describes how to integrate IBM® Worklight® and IBM Business Process Manager V8.0.1 Standard (IBM BPM) by leveraging the IBM BPM REST APIs. By combining the powerful development environment of IBM Worklight with the simplicity of the IBM BPM REST APIs, BPM developers can quickly deliver mobile applications to their BPM users.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

It's all about the answers

Thanks to @BruceElgort  for pointing out that IBM has released it's internal Answers service to IBM developerWorks: -


So I'm getting slowly more cloudy, looking at IBM PureApplication System, IBM UrbanCode Deploy ( for DevOps ) and now IBM's recent acquisition, SoftLayer.

During a recent event, one of the speakers showed a few of these YouTube videos, showing what happens within a SoftLayer data centre.

It's really rather interesting.

PS In my view, these are safe for work (SFW)

PPS Despite being a forty something Brit, I had heard of Cribs ( or was it Cripps ?? )

Monday, 3 March 2014

Miracles in the Java land – up to 4 times less memory, up to 6 times faster startup time – IBM multi-tenant Java 8 beta

This popped up in my Twitter feed earlier: -

IBM Java 8 open beta has been available since September 2013 and this is not a new news, but milti-tenant capability becomes much more important in light of the Cloud announcement made by IBM this week. Imagine how cool it will be to use multi-tenant JVM to run your Java or Java EE applications not only on the cloud, but on premise?

Let me explain what multi-tenant JVM really is. In a traditional model every time you type "java xyz" you start new operating system process and run single application per OS process with entire JVM dedicated to serving your app. If you have very large application (say  WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment) with many different different WAR and EAR files deployed into that server having one JVM per "application" is not a bad idea. In this case WAS ND provides "operating environment" for multiple applications that you deployed into it and it makes a good use of the JVM and OS resources and under high load with proper tuning and proper applications can consume up to 100% of CPU and memory available to the OS. This is how JVMs from OpenJDK, Sun JDK and IBM JDK used to work in the past (and still do).

WebSphere Application Server - Tracing the Service Integration Bus

The WebSphere Service Integration Bus may need to be traced in order to observe the code in action and provide evidence for problem diagnosis. In most cases you should gather trace only when it is requested by IBM support personnel. This document describes how to enable, disable and collect traces in WebSphere Application Server.

IBM PureApplication System backup and restore

This from IBM developerWorks via Twitter: -

IBM® PureApplication® System is a cloud computing system-in-a-box with integrated hardware and software for deploying and executing workloads in a cloud. As with other systems, administrators should maintain a current set of backups of the system and its workloads. While the system backup feature in PureApplication System captures the system's configuration, other backup techniques are needed if you need to recreate or restore cloud, workload, or data components at a more granular level. This series of articles look at different aspects of backup and restore on PureApplication System, and Part 1 begins with an overview of the recovery scenarios for which you should be prepared.

Part 2 in this series of articles that look at different aspects of backup and restore on IBM PureApplication System provides details for workload administrators on how to back up the workload catalog (patterns, and so on) and the data in applications running in the cloud.

WebSphere Application Server 8.5.5 Overview

I saw this on YouTube earlier: -

A nice little ( ~3 minute ) video that summarises what's new in WAS 8.5.5.

Then add in this from the announcement letter: -

WebSphere® Application Server V8.5.5 extends the capabilities provided in version 8.5, including significant enhancements to the Liberty profile, a highly composable, fast to start, and ultra lightweight profile of the application server that is optimized for developer productivity and web application deployment.

Enhancements to the Liberty profile are as follows:

• Certification to the Java™ EE 6 Web Profile, providing the assurance that applications leverage standards-compliant programming models
• Additional programming models such as web services that enable the expansion of Liberty profile applications beyond web applications
• New messaging capabilities, including support for Java Message Service (JMS) and message-driven beans, and a new single server message provider
• Ability to add Liberty features through a new system programming interface, enabling the customization of Liberty profile capabilities to meet your business needs through insertion of custom Liberty features
• Liberty support for the NoSQL database MongoDB, a scalable, well- performing, and easy-to-use document-style NoSQL database
• Enhancement to security support, such as federated repositories, custom user registry, trust association interceptor, password hashing, and encryption of passwords in server configurations, which improves security for Liberty application deployments
• High Performance Extensible Logging (HPEL) for Liberty servers, which enables better administration and serviceability
• New Liberty administration features
• Clustering of server instances
• Distributed caching with WebSphere eXtreme Scale
• Ability to install the entitled WebSphere Application Server edition on developer machines for development and unit testing purposes
• Support for WebSphere Web Cache (DynaCache)
• WebSphere Application Server V8.5.5 tooling bundles updated with Rational® Application Developer (RAD) V9 and the WebSphere Application Server Developer Tools (WDT) V8.5.5

WebSphere Application Server V8.5.5 also introduces a new Liberty profile-only solution. The WebSphere Application Server Liberty Core edition is built to leverage the lightweight and dynamic aspects of the Liberty profile. Scoped to the capabilities of Web Profile applications, the new edition is ideal for lightweight production servers.

IBM® WebSphere Application Server is the leading open standards-based application foundation, offering accelerated delivery of innovative applications and unmatched operational efficiency, reliability, administration, security, and control.

IBM Pure - What It Is

Shamelessly harvested from this most excellent IBM webpage: -

IBM PureFlex System

PureFlex System is an infrastructure system that provides an integrated computing environment -- combining servers, storage, networking, virtualization, and management into a single offering.

PureFlex System supports the following pattern types:

• Virtual appliances
• Workload optimized systems

IBM PureApplication System

PureApplication System is a platform system specifically designed and tuned for running applications. The system supports the use of patterns for easy deployment into its cloud environment.

PureApplication System supports the following pattern types:

• Virtual applications
• Virtual systems
• Virtual images

IBM PureData System

PureData System is a platform that is designed and optimized for your data services.

The PureData System comes in the following models which are pre-configured and optimized for specific data workloads:

• PureData System for Analytics
• PureData System for Operational Analytics
• PureData System for Transactions