Probably you, like most of us here at DBI, since you saw the impressive (if slightly scary) presentations on DI-Production at last year’s annual Diver Conference, have been tiptoeing to the edge of the diving board, not quite ready to take the plunge. You are nothing like a lemming when it comes to software upheavals – you don’t want to drown.
There’s a popular misconception about lemmings, that they mindlessly throw themselves over cliffs to their deaths – but in fact this is not so – “Lemmings can swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat” according to Wikipedia.
Well over the last few weeks, like these inquisitive lemmings we’ve all been throwing ourselves headfirst into our new Diver habitat, behind the lead of John Spillane, DBI’s Technical Director and Paul Duggan one of DBI’s senior developers. They’ve hit the surface of the water swimming and started making splashes that are having very noticeable effects for our customers and ourselves! In their vortex we are all beginning to experience what a game-changing addition DI-Production is for the Diver Solution BI Platform.
Multi-Threading & Visibility
John has been using DI-Production to solve a few timing issues with some of our larger international retail clients who have very large transactional data volumes which are being processed across multi-site and multi-departmental Diver Solution BI platforms.
In case you’re not up to speed with what DI-Production actually does, put simply it is a GUI interface that allows the developer to plan the Control sequence of jobs and commands for a full set of BI Production tasks. Common practice was to combine Scheduler and Integrator scripts, setting out a list of commands in a linear script, visible only through a text file.
Now you can clearly visualise what tasks are run and whether they fail or succeed. You can also run many tasks simultaneously and add a WAIT node if they must all finish before the next task. With LOOP and FORK nodes there are now much better design options for streamlining many of the jobs in parallel and adding CONDITIONAL commands.
Speed and Performance
After getting in deep with one or two sites, John reports: “DI’s new production module finally makes multi-threading a reality and provides one place to conveniently view the status of all jobs.
Regardless of the size of your data, implementing Production has advantages. It alerts you to problems, self-documents processes and provides a means for end users to get even more from Diveport.
However the DBI team are finding the biggest benefits in performance as multi-processor servers can now be fully utilised resulting in jobs running in 40% or less of their original time.”
Here is one Control script that John converted to a DI-Production script. There are quite a large number of jobs as you would expect for a large multi-site company, but note the easy to follow flow of tasks from left to right and the colour coding for success of each node.
Management Packs through Interface with Diveport
Paul Duggan has also been experimenting with the new DI-Production Interface with Diveport. There is a really useful “PRINTDP” process in Production that allows you to print whole pages from Diveport in pdf format and email automatically to a named email address.
And with a little extra tweaking using a merge PDF tool he’s found, you can feed these pdfs from multiple pages and create one single pdf file for emailing as a management pack. This has become a clear favourite with some of Paul’s clients and will be rolled out to more very soon.
Users Can Now Kick-off Tasks
Oh, and you know those unscheduled tasks that have to be run fairly frequently at irregular intervals, at users’ request? Well now they can do it themselves quite simply, through a great new option in Diveport.
You can set up a background or image portlet as a button on a Diveport page, add the name of the production script as a click action and hey presto! Users can click on it whenever they need to run the task. Simple!
DI-Production for SAAS set-up
YY Tsang one of Diver BI group’s most innovative members has also been using DI-Production to automate manual tasks for setting up multiple new environments for his GAP360 SaaS Sales Analysis package. He has managed to shave 85% off the time it took to create an environment for each new client by automating copy and paste routines, and “Find in Files” and “Global Replace” commands to change integrator script parameters, file parameters and pathnames in markers and diveplans. The Production script also sets up new aliases and groups in DI-Config!
Take the plunge and come up smiling
A final word from John:
“It’s easy to implement following a ½ day training session and is must for all developers”. We strongly advise you to get in touch with us before you begin to install DI-Production as there are a few tips we have learnt that are important for a smooth installation.