Opalis & How Something Isn’t Finished Until It’s Documented

I mentioned in a blog post last night that I started out my career as a dev (eek!).  One of the things that was drilled into us in college was that something was not finished until it was documented.

I recently tried to get System Center Opalis up an running in a lab.  The newest release, 6.3, added support for Windows Server 2008 R2 so I thought I’d fire it up in a lab.  It did not go well.

It appears (assuming I understood the v6.3 documentation correctly) that you install v6.3 by installing v6.2 and hacking it with some files from the 6.3 zip file.  OK!  You then install two types of agent.  One coordinates tasks that run on various machines, and another runs the tasks on those various machines.  The management agent deployed OK.  But the other one … all I could get was a useless error telling me that it failed to install.  No codes, nothing to check, etc.  I did the usuals like very domain admin rights, and disabling firewalls but still no joy.  I checked online and there was nothing to help.  Seeing as it was just a lab that I was trying to do something quickly on, I didn’t bother hitting the TechNet forums.

And there-in lies the problem.  I know that most customers don’t search too hard for solutions.  If they try something, and it doesn’t do the basics cleanly, then it’s on to the next alternative.

To me, Opalis is an unfinished product.  And that’s a pity.  Because the idea of Opalis is pretty damned good.  But it fails at the final hurdle.  I wonder if this is why there’s lots of talk about the MS acquisition of the Novel PlateSpin resources?  Opalis is so un-MS-like as a product.  It’s like MOM 2000 … nice idea but maybe some of us will wait until the recently added Microsoft logo actually means something more than IP ownership.

By the way, here’s a step-by-step video for Opalis.

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2 thoughts on “Opalis & How Something Isn’t Finished Until It’s Documented”

  1. Amen to that. It seems like thay took a page from the DELL/ALTIRIS book here and did there own version. When oh when will it installl correctly and according to best practices … If they do follow DELL/ALTIRIS (Symantec … yellow box warning!) it could be years. MS was very understanding when I old ‘m after they first offer us Opalis right after the aquisition and I told ‘m it didn’t fit in most of my envrionments .. but Mr. WorkinghardInIT, so many of our customers are still on W2K3 32 bit and don’t have this issue :-/

  2. And it’s worth to mention: Opalis 6.3 is supported on Server 2008 R2 and with that said it’s useless because only the System Center Integration Packs work on 64-bit Windows. If you want to manipulate let’s say Active Directory with Opalis 6.3 you can start from scratch on a 32-bit Server 2003 System…

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