Hello Automaters!

This article is to inform you that there is a new Service Release for RES ONE Automation, and give you a bit of an overview as to what you can expect to find in it!

Welcome to RES ONE Automation Service Release 3

The first thing to note is that this is not really a Service Release at all – look at it as more of a Feature Release. We brought you RES ONE Automation SR2 only last month which contained no new features – it was released to fix a handful of customer issues and to fix a few things that cropped up via calls and tickets in to our support team. RES ONE Automation SR3 contains a roll-up of these fixes, together with some great new functionality that we were so excited to share with you, we couldn’t wait until the next Major Release!

 1. Integration with third party solutions

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One of the key differentiators of RES ONE Automation versus other automation tools in the market is the number of third-party products that we integrate with. The approach we take with our offering is to give customers the ability to really leverage the investments they have already made in other products, and getting the most out of them through integration.

A commitment we made to you was that these third-party connectors would always be free of charge – that’s something our founder and CTO Bob Janssen is really passionate about!

In previous releases, these Connectors were an integral part of RES ONE Automation, and each time we did a new release, we would include some more new features that allowed you to work with other vendor’s tools. We have been working hard in the background to split these out – and there are a number of great reasons for doing this:

  • The RES integration team works fast – they want to release new third-party Connectors continuously, and don’t want to wait for a new version of RES ONE Automation in order to be able to get their latest and greatest out in to the field.
  • As a customer, you may not need all of the Connectors that we build. For example, we have done our best to cover the MDM space – and to this end have built Connectors for Citrix XenMobile, IBM Fiberlink, MobileIron and VMware AirWatch. Realistically, it is most likely that a customer would only use one of these in their organisation.
  • If one of the third-party vendors we support releases a new version of their product, we want to be able to react to this as quickly as possible – separating the specific Integrations gives us much greater agility.

2. Help Me

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Another major piece of work we have done here is to split out the Help section for each individual third-party Connector.

Usually with help, you hit F1 on the section that you want assistance with, we open the help file, and take you to the relevant section. That’s all well and good when you have everything in a single help file. That file gets installed with the Console, so we always know where to find it, and it is indexed so that we can always take you to the right place!

Well, with decoupling these Connectors from the rest of RES ONE Automation, we wanted to install the Help for each individual add-on as part of that pack. That’s great – it means we can be agile, and easily update things if they change, as I mentioned above.

On the downside, now we have lots of separate help files, and they are no longer installed with the Console. To give you the best possible experience, our R&D mega-geniuses came up with the idea of creating a new type of Resource in the RES ONE Automation datastore specifically for help files.

If you are looking for help for a specific third-party Connector, you still press F1 in the way you know and love. In the background, we download the Resource from the datastore, cache it locally on the machine you have the Console open on, then launch the Help File. This all happens in a split second, and gives you guys a totally consistent and seamless experience. Of course, you have all come to expect that from us over the years! ;-)

I’d like to call out Emy van Boxtel and Karen van der Merwe who have both worked above and beyond on this to bring you the best possible experience!

So, in the Console of RES ONE Automation SR3, you will see some new features that help us with third-party Connectors!

All of the third-party Connectors that can be downloaded in a subsection of our Website. These are arranged in Packs by Vendor or by Technology type. Now you can install Mobile Device Management pack, and remove the Connectors that you will not be using.

In the Setup section of the Console, you will see a new item Add-ons

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When you click on Add-ons you are taken in to a new section that shows you which third-party Connectors you have installed.

There is a column that tells you what pack the individual Add-on was installed with.

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Plus you can scroll across as see whether or not that individual Add-on has been used in any of your RES ONE Automation Modules.

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You can right click an Add-on, and on the context menu you can select a new option called Add-on Usage
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This will pop up a window that shows you the name of the Module that contains your Add-on, as well as the Folder where that Module resides. This is useful data to know and will help you make the decision about whether or not it is a good idea to delete.

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If you decide that you want to go ahead and Delete the Add-on, you can do so either by selecting Delete on the context menu, or by clicking the little X on the toolbar.

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When you hit Delete, you are prompted so confirm that’s what you really want to do.

Note for keyboard users that No is selected by Default!

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If you choose yes, the Add-on together with any associated Help File is deleted from the RES ONE Automation datastore.

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It is worth noting that any of your Tasks, Projects or Run Books that contain the third-party Connector that you have just deleted can still be scheduled or run immediately.

However, you will no longer be able to create a new job that uses the Add-on (you cannot select something that doesn’t exist anymore) plus you are unable to edit an existing job.

Since the dawn of time, we have had a role in RES ONE Automation that is assigned to one of our Dispatchers – the technical name for that role was Garbage Collector. Basically, it would take care of a small number of background maintenance tasks, to ensure that the RES ONE Automation datastore was always in tip top condition.

Several customers have asked us if it is possible to be able to assign this role to a specific Dispatcher in the future, rather than let us pick one.

A great use case for this would be if there is a Dispatcher in your datacenter serviced by a big fat pipe of network connectivity, sat in the rack right next door to the database cluster that is home to your RES ONE Automation datastore versus a Dispatcher that is on the end of a 128K ISDN line servicing four Agents that are only used from time to time.

In times gone by, we may select the Dispatcher on the end of the ISDN line to be the one that takes care of the database maintenance tasks, because it is underutilised, and spends most of its life idle.

However, actually in many scenarios, it would make a lot of sense to be able to assign the maintenance role to the Dispatcher that is sat nearest to the datastore instead.

Well, now you can!
Oh, and “garbage collector” didn’t sound particularly pleasant, so we called this role “Housekeeping”. We have added in new column called Roles in the Dispatcher overview where you can see at a glance the status of each Dispatcher in your environment.

3.  Housekeeping

Since the dawn of time, we have had a role in RES ONE Automation that is assigned to one of our Dispatchers – the technical name for that role was Garbage Collector. Basically, it would take care of a small number of background maintenance tasks, to ensure that the RES ONE Automation datastore was always in tip top condition.

Several customers have asked us if it is possible to be able to assign this role to a specific Dispatcher in the future, rather than let us pick one.

A great use case for this would be if there is a Dispatcher in your datacenter serviced by a big fat pipe of network connectivity, sat in the rack right next door to the database cluster that is home to your RES ONE Automation datastore versus a Dispatcher that is on the end of a 128K ISDN line servicing four Agents that are only used from time to time.

In times gone by, we may select the Dispatcher on the end of the ISDN line to be the one that takes care of the database maintenance tasks, because it is underutilised, and spends most of its life idle.

However, actually in many scenarios, it would make a lot of sense to be able to assign the maintenance role to the Dispatcher that is sat nearest to the datastore instead.

Well, now you can!
Oh, and “garbage collector” didn’t sound particularly pleasant, so we called this role “Housekeeping”. We have added in new column called Roles in the Dispatcher overview where you can see at a glance the status of each Dispatcher in your environment.

Each Dispatcher could have one of four different states:

table

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The configuration of the Dispatcher can be made in the Dispatcher Properties.

By default, the value is disabled – that means that you don’t want that particular Dispatcher to perform Housekeeping duties.

If ALL Dispatchers are set to Disabled, we will select the Dispatcher that we feel is most suited to take care of housekeeping duties based on its utilisation and idle time.

If you set a Dispatcher to Enabled, you are offering up that particular Dispatcher to take care of Housekeeping duties.

If only one Dispatcher is set to Enabled, then that Dispatcher will ALWAYS be the Housekeeper.

If, for whatever reason the only Dispatcher seet to Enabled is offline, then we will fall back to automatically selecting a Dispatcher to perform Housekeeping.

If several Dispatchers are set to Enabled, then we will select the most suitable one to perform the Housekeeping duties (based on their availability and idle time)

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4.  A quick glimpse in to the future

Here at RES we have been working on a new project – RES ONE License Server.This product will leverage cloud technologies (namely Microsoft Azure and Salesforce.com) to allow our customers to better manage thewir licensing requirements across all products.

There will be more news to follow on this, so keep an eye on our website for further announcements. However, as a quick teaser for you, you will notice that under the Licensing section of the RES ONE Automation Console, we have added a new tab called License Server.

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For the time being, everything is disabled, but this is the first of our products to include support for the new RES ONE License Server product, which you will be hearing lots about in the future!

Since this is provision for future functionality, nothing will change in your RES ONE Automation environment if you are performing an upgrade of your existing environment!

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5.  Not just Windows

More than half the datacenters across the Globe are running Operating Systems other than Microsoft Windows. Here at RES, we have supported Unix, Linux and Apple for many years, and we are pleased to announce support for some new and updated distros.

We have supported Solaris for many years, but previously only on the SPARC platform. RES and our partners have seen the numbers using SPARC start to dwindle, in favor of Intel, so it makes logical sense for us to build a distribution of Solaris that runs on Intel hardware.
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SUSE Linux is a very popular distro, and we have made RES ONE Automation Agents available for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server release 11 SP4 and 12.

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6.  Hide what you don’t need

We are often asked by our community if there is a neat way to remove Tasks and Queries from the RES ONE Automation Console that will never be used.

As I covered earlier in this article, we now have a way to permanently delete the third-party Connectors that you don’t require, but what about the Tasks and Queries that are native to RES ONE Automation?

For example, let’s take a Use Case where I don’t have any Apple Macs in my organization. Why would I want to see the Apple Mac OS Folder when I browse to my Tasks and Queries?

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Or perhaps I do have Apple Macs, but only want to expose some of the Query Tasks, because the Marketing Department refuse to have their devices managed by the IT guys (sound familiar?)

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To assist in these scenarios, we have added a new item called Task Visibility which can be found under Setup

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When you click on here, you will see in the right pane a list of all the Tasks and Queries that are currently Shown in the RES ONE Automation Console.

In the Toolbar, you then have the option to Edit this list:

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Clicking Edit will open the Edit window, where you can select, or deselect the Tasks and Queries that you want to Expose or Hide in the Console.

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Remove the Checkbox from any of the Tasks or Queries that you want to Hide in the Console.

When you click OK, and return to the Select Task or Quick Task screen you will find that the Tasks and Queries that you have unchecked have now disappeared.

If you have unchecked all of the Tasks and Queries under a particular section, then the Section Folder will also be removed too.

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Thanks!

I work with an amazing team here at RES, and I would like to personally thank R&D, Engineering, our Testers, and Support department for their continued effort and fixation on releasing the best quality software you’ll ever use!

We really hope you enjoy the functionality we have delivered in this exciting Feature Release of RES ONE Automation – please reach out to the Product Management team should you have any queries.

Let me also take this opportunity to remind you about UserVoice. UserVoice is accessible through the RES Success Center, and is our ideation platform.

Here in Product Management, we work in your ideas and feature requests wherever we can, and as a result, requests from our community account for around a third of the new functionality we build!

UserVoice is a cool way for you to enter those feature requests and great ideas, plus vote for the ideas that have been entered by others. The higher up the list an idea comes, the more likely it is that we’ll look at building it for you!

Thanks for now and remember to keep automating,

Grant