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future of n1sps

807567 Newbie
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Hello all,

I just started with N1SPS a few moths ago and am impressed by the design and flexibility of the core product.
However, I'm concerned about the quality of documentation and support. The few resources you can find here in the forum, on bigadmin etc. are mostly older than one year. This leaves me in serious doubt if this product is going to be actively supported and developed by sun in the future.

Also dissapointed that this forum does not seem to get monitored by the product team.
I'm a bit reluctant to open support calls for my beginner questions, but what other means do I have, given that 3 posts here got no usable results?

Would be interested in some feedback from other users.

Regards
Erwin
  • 1. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi Erwin,

    This is part of my bigger beef with Sun. They often have great ideas. Sometimes, these great ideas make it to the drawing board and off the production line. The initial end product is not always the greatest, but you can catch a glimpse of the original idea and say to yourself that "yeah, that's pretty damned smart!". Then, even less often, said idea/product makes it over 3-4 years, gradually refining, growing and getting better. Then someone inside Sun decides one (or more) of the following things:

    +1)+ develop a cheap knock-off clone, covering some areas, but not others
    +2)+ end-of-life the product without an explanation
    +3)+ assimilate some external company, acquire their product and try to wrangle it into the original product, breaking everything in the process
    +4)+ stop actively developing the product, and instead launch into a vapor-ware hype campaign, trying to gather momentum for the next bigger and better replacement for the product they've just stopped developing.
    +5)+ change the name of the product at least 4 times in its lifetime.
    +6)+ launch a number of completely separate set of products, all seemingly from the same product line, but completely unrelated to each other.

    +(breathing in a paper bag) grrrr...+

    As it stands now, the alleged replacement for N1SPS (which conforms to point 1 above) is called Xvm Ops Centre (version 2.0). My understanding of version 1.0 is that it was not production ready. A number of people I talked to have recommended me to stay away from that beast. Then for a long while, V2.0 was in the making - initial release date was around end of August - September 2008. It got released around end of January 2009. Yay! I'm getting it today (allegedly - again).

    We'll see how that beast is running, though, to begin with - I am not holding out of it to be any good. I got burned with Sun's promises one too many times.

    I hope this helps.

    Ino!~
  • 2. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Ino,

    I think you need to add:

    7) sack the people developing the software, after which it is impossible to get anyone lined up within Sun to help with the integration of the product.

    I have seen it happening with Sun N1AA. I am not trying to shit-talk about Sun, but like you said, a lot of it is sold on paper, but never comes to a proper beta version. I sat down with Sun N1SPS developers to get the software installed.

    With regards to xVM Ops Centre. I am currently at a customer, where they use SunMC. I was under the impression that even SunMC will be gradually replaced by xVM Ops Centre as well. But then Sun come around and say they are still heavily developing SunMC. It just confuses me and it also makes it hard to plan some more strategic projects.

    I do think N1 SPS is a very strong product, so I hope they will just do that clone-copy thing you mention in 1) and make it the base for xVM Ops Centre.

    Take care and good luck.
  • 3. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Davy_S,

    I've have not seen a deployment solution yet that is as flexible as N1SPS when it comes to modeling complex installations.
    I'm mainly talking about deploying complex J2EE clusters into server farms, where you have dependencies between components installed on different machines, different technologies such as
    Database Schemas, MQ, etc.

    N1SPS let's you model stuff like this. The price you have to pay is the steep learning curve. While marketing brags about the plug-ins for application server or database deployment,
    these are mere samples that give you a starting point, on how to develop your own solutions.

    Develop is the keyword - you need a solid understanding about object-oriented technologies to take advantage of the N1SPS framework.You need development skills to do something useful with N1SPS (XML, java, jython in addition to scripting the target environments (shell, SQL, etc)).

    The sad thing is, that given the fact you have to code your solutions, there is not overly much published material or comprehensive and commented samples that show a bit more than the obvious.

    At least I got 2 answers on this post - while stile none on my technical questions.

    regards
    Erwin
  • 4. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Erwin

    What exactly are you trying to implement with N1SPS? Can you briefly explain the environment a little more?

    -- Your application
    -- Environment
    -- Users of N1SPS

    If that's clear, you might be able to use readily available plugins on top of SPS -- or customize some of them to your needs. But, you're right -- SPS is more like a framework. If you need to build specific application deployment solutions, then, it offers a wonderful platform for you to do that.

    Say, you're the developer and the users of your N1SPS are gonna be administrators, you can author all the plans, components, create hosts types, hosts, multiple roles and groups. Later you can provide access to only ones you would like them to use. The trick is to model your solution one for developers and operators. In simple words, the operator deploys applications and the developer creates a platform for that.

    hth,
    suresh.
  • 5. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    You might also wanna look at these links, if you haven't already done that.

    http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/coll/1119.7

    You can also find relevant information on the following sites:

    http://www.sun.com/bigadmin
    http://wikis.sun.com

    :s
  • 6. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    These are exactly the docs I'm talking about.

    Not updated in about a year after the 6.0 product release.
    OK as a reference Manual, but not enough guidelines/samples.

    Stuff I would like to see (for now):

    - comprehensive reporting sample scripts that select components or hosts on different criteria and then collect information about installed components, following component dependencies / relations etc.
    - automated installation/uninstallation scripts that automatically install or uninstall components according to various criteria
    - jython sample scripts that implement proper error/exception handling

    Also desperately waiting for a bug fix release that fixes the many UI problems, Full Windows Client/NetBeans integration (including checkin/checkout) that works and supports NetBeans 6.5 (running on 6.0.2)
  • 7. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I suggest you wait for 6.0.4 then which should be out in April.

    Watch out for the space on wikis.sun.com -- that should be the one, which will end up having most of the information that
    you're looking for.

    :s
  • 8. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi,
    I am a long time user of N1SPS. We are using it primarily for server provisioning through JET and also for application component management
    and packaging and also for user control of root processes eg stop/start webserver and so on.

    I asked about this at the last SUN meeting I went to. I am planning to upgrade N1SPS 5.3 to 6.x and wanted to
    get some assistance with Sun. I asked about the EOL of N1SPS and the replacement XVM/Ops and was told that N1SPS
    was continuing.

    XVM/Ops lacks some of the tools that N1SPS provides. If you are using N1SPS for provisioning only,
    you may be best to stick with it, unless you are doing new JET server deployments.

    XVM/Ops does not seem to be targeted as a full replacement for N1SPS but as an optional
    product.

    I didn't like XVM/Ops when I saw it last year. We are getting a demo of V2 soon.
    Also, it was suggested to us as a patch management tool but it really doesn't bring any more to the table
    than we have now.

    I am sticking with N1SP myself for now as it offers the component and plan tools which we use a fair bit.

    I do not work for Sun in any way, but I like their products. Take what you can from this reply
    but I prefer N1SPS.


    rachel
  • 9. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sun has confirmed to us that N1 SPS is EOL'd. There will be no more updates, enhancements or releases.

    We were also told that all of the functionality of SPS is now in xVM.

    If it's in there, they didn't put it in the docs. All that's in the docs is JET and some ability to provision some Linux systems. JET is only a very small component of SPS.

    Has anyone been able to confirm whether or not the full N1 SPS feature set is in xVM 2.0?

    From what I can tell, xVM is basically SunMC on steroids. That's nice if you need a better SunMc. Not nice if you need N1 SPS.

    Paraphrasing Mr. T: I pity the fools who modeled their application stacks on SPS.
  • 10. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi,
    I think that there is a lot of confusion about the future direction of N1SPS. I am working as a Consultant with Sun for 8+ years, including a decent number of successfull N1SPS projects - so I know what I am talking about. I agree with most of the things that have been discussed here, and I understand most of the concerns and critics on the product and/or documentation that has been articulated. Yes you are right there are a lot of things missing in the documentation. Yes you are right saying that you have a steep learning curve when trying to use the product. And yes, some information/documentation seems to be outdated.

    But NO, the product is NOT dead, NOT EOLed or anything like this!
    And NO, the functionality of N1SPS is NOT (yet) implemented in xVM OpsCenter 2.0.

    Unfortunately I am not entitled to give you an official statement here, but I will point the product manager to this thread and ask for some clarification.

    And - do not forget: As a matter of fact, like Erwin stated, N1SPS IMHO still is the most powerful and most flexible deployment framework on the market for complex application infrastructures. You still CAN do successful deployment projects with the tool and you CAN save a lot of money with that. But you have to invest upfront in training, consulting, planning and (very advisable!) licenses and support.

    Sorry for answering so late on this thread, but the business currently is very demanding and is keeping me busy almost round the clock...


    Best Regards,

    Michael
  • 11. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    So I need to jump in here a little bit. If you look at only OS Provisioning, then xVM Ops Center can do much more than N1SPS will ever be able to do. If you look at Application Management, then N1SPS can do more, especially in regards of managing these changes and updates. xVM Ops Center can still execute scripts like execNative, but not the same flexibility today. We also have to focus on xVM Ops Center 2.0 features and not 1.x.

    Regarding EOL, it is NOT EOL. We may call it feature complete, as in, not inventing amazing cool new features that Sun believes should be there, but rather working with you customer on what needs to be added as features.

    Kind regards,
    Peter
  • 12. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Our Sun sales team and the xVM people we've talked to have told us that N1SPS has been EOL'd and they reiterated this to us just this week in a face to face meeting. I think the N1SPS product manager should be concerned about the message the sales team is bringing to customers about N1SPS.

    We also have been told by our engagement team that the N1SPS feature set has been 100% rolled in to xVM as of the 2.0 release. I believe my assessment that this is clearly not a true statement is on-track in terms of where the xVM product is at in the 2.0 release. It sounds like the N1SPS feature set won't be in xVM until a later release.

    Unfortunately, my sales team wants me to invest in a pilot to find out whether or not there's feature parity between N1SPS and xVM. It's a good thing I found the docs before dropping a bunch of time and money in a POC.

    Having your sales team tell customers that you have EOL'd N1SPS and to not invest in it, is a really good strategy to keep your customers from investing in it. Sales will not be able to get us to go back to SPS now because of the FUD created. We're not going to drop bucket loads of development and capital dollars into a framework you've already told us is dead.

    Please understand, I'm not knocking xVM; it looks like a great product. However, our critical needs revolve around modeling a very complex application stack for rapid deployment. xVM looks like a great start in that direction, but it is clearly not there now.

    Thanks again for your assistance Michael and Peter.
  • 13. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Kljhas,
    I think we have to continue on this off-line. I'll discuss with Peter how to proceed here. Please stay also tuned for an official statement from Product Management - this should come tomorrow or monday. OK? I'll send another post later.


    Best Regards,

    Michael
  • 14. Re: future of n1sps
    807567 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    xVM Ops Center is the next generation management platform intended to replace older management products. However the replacement of N1SPS by Ops Center has not been officially announced as we still have critical features that we have committed to deliver to our customers.

    N1 SPS is not EOL'd. There is still a team of developers working on the product. We are currently working on release 6.0.4 to fulfill critical feature requests from our customer base, target release time is April 2009. All of N1 SPS functionality is not in the xVM Ops Center 2.0 current release.

    xVM Ops Center is intended to replace Sun's older management products.
    Our older management portfolio consisted of many products such as N1 SM, Sun MC, N1 SPS, Sun Connection. While these products each have their strengths in feature offerings, they are individual disparate point products, each with its own GUI, its own architecture and require distinct server and agent footprint; each with its own installation setup and administration procedures, etc. Our customers have long requested for one unified management solution.

    In an effort to offer a consolidated offering, we have merged Sun N1 System Manager capabilities into Ops Center. We have also incorporated the JET provisioning module from N1 SPS into Ops Center. We have merged patching capabilities from Sun Connection into Ops Center and have also included some of the Sun MC monitoring capabilities into Ops Center.

    As we continue to consolidate our portfolio we will retire older products. When we do we will officially announce each products EOL through Sun official product bulletins.
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