Embarcadero Change Manager
Creating a “Standard”
Some lines above I mentioned that you can define a “Standard” server configuration. Now it is time to come back to this topic and explain this in more details. A Standard in Change Manager terms is a configuration that you define as you own “optimum” configuration. This standard can act then as reusable benchmark server against which other servers and their configuration will then be measured. A “Standard” makes it very easy to check if any newly-added servers comply with this standard, and to check whether a server still complies with the standards after some time has gone by, and changes to the server might have been made by the IT infrastructure department.
From Change Manager’s GUI you have access to the Standards pane that lists all currently defined “Standards” and from which you can create new Standards.
From the context menu of the Standards pane choose New -> Configuration Standard to create a new Standard.
The steps to create a new Standard are fairly easy and straightforward. By now you are familiar with the GUI and know that you can either drag and drop a datasource to the Standard Sources pane or, alternatively, add a datasource by clicking on the appropriate links.
Thereafter you can specify for each single configuration setting the comparison operator and the standard type: whether it is a fixed value (“Static”) or linked to a database that is considered to be a standard “Linked”, nothing that if desired, different parameters within a single standard can be linked to different sources. Once this is done, your “Standard” is ready to be used in comparisons.
The Change Manager GUI offers you a shortcut to use a Standard in configuration comparison job. From the context menu of the Standards grid, just right-click on a particular treeview entry and select “Compare”.
This opens a new comparison job tab with the chosen Standard preselected as source. From there you then only need to add the comparison target (or targets) and run the comparison.
Working with Archives
A little bit earlier on I mentioned that you can not only use live data sources for configuration comparisons. Now it is time to come back to this and introduce you to another great feature of Change Manager: its ability to store and (re)use historical data in configuration comparisons.
At any time you are able to take a snapshot of the then-current configuration of any given data source that you have defined. In order to create such a snapshot just select Archive -> Configuration from the context menu of the particular server.
Change Manager opens an Archive tab for the chosen data source. In my case, this is a first time comparison, so no previous information about this server’s configuration exists, and thus, no information about historical records is displayed on screen.
After the configuration snapshot has successfully been taken, Change Manager automatically generates the historical tracking records, which you can find on the “Compliance” tab of the Workbench.
General options of Change Manager
Change Manager comes with a myriad of settings and options that allow you to tweak and tune almost every aspect of the tool and customize it to exactly suit your needs. Since I just have described the ability to measure the compliance of a server against a defined Standard, let me use this as showcase for how you can customize Change Manager.
Using the Preferences dialog you are able to define specific threshold when a server is “in compliance”. Ideally this should be the case when there is a 100% match between both configurations, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be 100%. You can change this default value to any arbitrarily chosen value you wish to use for “in compliance”. Likewise you are also able to define when a warning should be issued, or when a server’s configuration fails the compliance test.
While CM/Schema itself provides mechanisms to generated HTML reports and include them into mails, for example, all Change Manager components mechanisms to store a report output into.csv format. That way you can use the output from Change Manager with many other third-party applications and format it with your favourite tool, such as Microsoft Excel.
In the screenshot above I have chosen to output a configuration comparison to a command line batch file E:MyDemo.bat with the option to save Change Manager’s output in .csv format to a file.
After executing a .bat file you will notice that a file named “ConfigArchive20v5.csv” has been generated in E:. Note that you are able to customize the naming convention of the generated file. For demonstration purposes I just accepted the default settings here.
This file can now be opened with Microsoft Excel.
The above screenshot shows the output .csv file opened with Excel. Now you can use all built-in formatting and calculating functions in Excel to produce your final report. I like the option to produce output that is readable for Excel, because Excel makes it so incredibly easy to produce good-looking charts based on calculations in just a matter of seconds.