Reinventing The CLI Wheel

As part of my day to day work I spend a lot of time on the command line. In the vast majority of cases this means ssh into devices as diverse as Linux Servers, Cisco Switches, Juniper Routers and Fortinet Firewalls. While in some cases there will be a GUI available, it's a lot easier to document, script and backup what is being done on the CLI. Ssh also the advantage that it can be accessed on anything from a mobile phone to a perl expect script.

I have had the chance to play with a Dell MD3000i over the last few days, which is basically a rebadged LSI/Engenio SAS Raid Array. It's a nice bit of kit however Dell have seen fit to use the SMI interface for managing the array. The SMI interface is great idea which means that there is a nice "object-oriented, XML-based, messaging-based interface" (buzzword overload!) for doing day to day managment.

There is a CLI interface to this in the form of SMcli. In the case of Dell, this is a java app which requires sacrificing goats and/or virgins in order to get running on anything other that Windows, RHEL or SLES. So much for Java allowing platform independence!

What annoys me is that people have gone to the trouble of creating SMcli, so why not use it as a shell on an ssh server running on the array itself. This would all of sudden mean that they gain a lot more platform independence, and therefore a larger potential market. The other technologies needed in order to setup the MD3000i are iscsi and dm-rdac which are already a solved problem and relatively easy to setup.

Am I mad in thinking that it's in Dell's best interests to put as few obstacles as possible in the way of setting up their products?

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This page contains a single entry by Niall Donegan published on May 6, 2008 9:39 PM.

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