Monday, August 24, 2015

Keeping track of "my" DB2

Some years back when talking about DB2, there was only the "I am on the host" or "We are mostly OLTP" distinction. My standard phrase has been "I am a distributed guy". Well, today, when only talking about DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows ("DB2 LUW"), some more description is needed to clearly state what, where, and how the product is used. Here is a small overview of my world of DB2 LUW.

If you have not done so, I would recommend taking a look at the IBM Data Server Manager as fairly new tool to monitor, administrate, and tune DB2. The experience in using the web-based GUI can directly be applied to the administration interfaces of the related DB2 services in the cloud, sqldb and dashDB.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wired or weird Tweets? Doesn't matter to Bluemix, DB2, and Node-RED...

Robot with
a personality?
Someone to talk to, someone to take the meeting minutes. Well, I can offer that - at least partially. I took the Node-RED service on Bluemix for a test drive and
created a Twitter service. It automatically can respond to tweets and can also store the incoming messages in a DB2 table. In my example it is just a, more or less, silly service right now, but it could be expanded to react to and log Twitter-based customer feedback, provide some basic interim reaction or acknowledgement. Let me show you how easy it is to get started...

To build the Twitter service you need the "Node-RED Starter" boilerplate from the Bluemix catalog as well as the "SQL Database" service. Create the Node-RED boilerplate first, then add the database service and directly bind it to the new application. Once everything has been provisioned, it is time for wiring up the Twitter service in the flow editor. The following picture gives an overview of the two flows when completed. I made the flows available in the Node-RED library.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bluemix: Simple cron-like service for my Python code

Schedule background tasks in Bluemix
This morning I had some time to fiddle around with Bluemix and Python. I wanted to test out creating a cron-like service, i.e., something that runs in the background and kicks off tasks with given intervals or at a given time. For Python there exists a package "schedule" that is easy to set up and use. So how do you create a background service in Bluemix?

The trick is in the file manifest.yml and the Cloudfoundry documentation has all the needed details (Bluemix is built on this open standard). The attribute "no-route" is set to true, indicating that this is not a Web application and we don't need a subdomain name. In addition the attribute "command" is set to invoke the Python interpreter with my script as parameter. Basically, this starts my background task:

 - name: hltimer  
  memory: 256M  
  instances: 1  
  no-route: true  
  command: python  
  path: .  

The cron-like service script is pretty simple. It uses the "schedule" package to set up recurring jobs. I tested it with the Twilio API to send me SMS at given timestamps. You can also use it to scrape webpages in given intervals, kick off feed aggregators, read out sensors and update databases like Cloudant or DB2, and more. See this Github repository for the full source.

 import schedule  
 import time 

 def job():  
 #put the task to execute here  

 def anotherJob():  
 #another task can be defined here  


while True:  


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