Since its introduction a couple of years ago, CA/400's Operations Navigator has received lots of new features and gotten lots more robust. No matter though, despite improving with age, OpsNav remains a mystery to most AS/400 shops. However, OpsNav has its hidden nuggets and you shouldn't miss them. Here are 10 easily overlooked OpsNav features and what they can do for you. Except for the first feature, these features are generally intended for system administrators, not end users.
- Work with printed output. OpsNav's ability to work with printed output is perhaps OpsNav's best end-user feature. Found under Basic Operations, OpsNav's Printed Outout function can display AS/400 spool files with a simple double-click. The window that displays printed output can also be used as a rudimentary printer emulator. OpsNav's Printer Output function also offers an easily-overlooked feature: it makes it possible to easily email spooled files. A minor glitch makes it a two-step process, but even at that, it's easy and free. To email a spool file from OpsNav, first click and drag the spool file to your desktop. Then drag it into the email you're sending. (A glitch in OpsNav keeps this from being a single-step, drag-from- OpsNav-to-mail process. The desktop hop is necessary.)
Work with server jobs. New to Express's OpsNav is the ability to work with server jobs. You can use Express's OpsNav to interrogate server jobs, see who is currently running the job, change some of its properties, and end it or hold it.
Modify file content. Although definitely not an end-user task, sometimes circumstances call for manually changing data in a file. Using a spreadsheet-like display, OpsNav's Database facility lets you change field contents in files to which you have change authority. Even if you swear you'd never use this feature in production, it's also valuable for testing work.
Configure DHCP and DNS. Most AS/400 shops moving to V4Rx and widespread TCP/IP deployment must have DHCP and DNS server. OS/400 provides excellent DHCP/DNS facilities and OpsNav is the only way to configure them.
Backup scheduling. OpsNav provides a great little applet for scheduling what, when and where AS/400 data gets backed up. OpsNav backup policies let you schedule daily, weekly and monthly data backups, to a given tape drive, at a given time of day.
Peform a security audit. OpsNav includes a multi-panel security wizard that asks several questions about how you use your AS/400. After this "interview," the wizard presents a six-tabbed dialog of suggested security settings. You can accept or reject any of the recommended settings.
Manually maintain security settings. In addition to OpsNav's security wizard, OpsNav also lets you manually maintain OS/400 security settings. You can work with OS/400 security policies and authorization lists. Used in conjunction with OpsNav's ability to work with Users and Groups, it's easy to completely administer OS/400 object-level security from within OpsNav.
Execute SQL statements. This handy little feature, also a part of the Database facility, isn't good for production work. However, if you need to dabble with SQL for learning or testing purposes, this is a great feature. You can also save and later recall SQL statements with this feature. A related feature also monitors SQL performance.
Centrally store ODBC data sources. OpsNav's Database facility offers the ability to create ODBC data sources, from within OpsNav, and park them on a centrally located AS/400. These centrally located data sources can be registered on other client PCs with a simple right click over the data source. The value of this interesting feature is diminished slightly because it requires that any client desktop from which you want to register a data source have the OpsNav database feature loaded- the same feature that lets users change table data! Don't attempt to use this feature unless you have good object-level authorities imposed on your AS/400 data.
Hardware inventory. OpsNav offers a single place to collect all hardware information for your AS/400. The list can be displayed by catagory or in an all-inclusive list. Double-clicking on any hardware entry displays its general description, and its physical location and logical address.
This was first published in October 1999