Vendor tools

A number of the vendors that make the products I use seem to have a bit of a disconnect. They look at modern corporate computing and see Windows ruling the desktop. Which it does, no question about it – and with (for the most part) good reason. So, they focus their efforts on a Windows way of managing their products.

Don’t get me wrong here, I haven’t taken leave of my senses and embraced Microsoft. I still don’t like the Windows world, and I still think Windows does plenty of things wrong. But it does enough right that it makes sense, even to me, as the corporate desktop of choice.

Unfortunately, my desktop is not where I do most of my work. It’s on the server(s), which don’t have Windows GUIs, they have the command line tools. What vendors don’t seem to understand is that anything they put in the GUI should also be available in the CLI. Allow me to provide a specific example: we use Symantec NetBackup for our backups. I’ve just been given ownership of backups for all our UNIX / Linux servers, so I want to know what’s going on with it. To that end, I’m trying to write some scripts that give me the information I want on a routine basis. Thanks to another sysadmin who’s a friend, I found the “bpdbjobs” binary – and oh what a wonderful binary it is. Unfortunately, it will either give me verbose information about database entries, or it will give me headers for the very limited information in it’s default report. It will not give me headers for the verbose report, which is the combination I need in order for it to be useful.

Symantec, please give me a verbose (hint: -all_columns) report from bpdbjobs with header information. Yes, I can back up, yes I can restore, but if I don’t know – and can’t find out using your tools – what I’m backing up successfully, your product still isn’t doing what it should be.

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