GUI vs CLI – Sharing the Love

Storage IT offers up many choices, some of which provoke argument so heated, you could almost describe the adherents as religious.   I think you might know the sort of arguments I am talking about:

  • File vs Block I/O
  • iSCSI vs Fibre Channel
  • CLI vs GUI

OK…. so maybe that last one isn’t quite in the same league.   But it is still fascinating to see the variation in usage patterns from sites where every command (of any description) is run via a command line interface (a CLI), to sites where the CLI is viewed with either great fear… or even greater distaste.     There are those who view the CLI as…  well… so 1970s…..

But the reality is that the CLI will always be with us for one principal reason: scripting.    If you cannot script it, you cannot automate it (well actually thats not true, but stick with me here, I am on a roll).   Every single major implementation I have ever done (whether it be SVC, XIV, DS8000), I have automated with scripting.    I regularly use the concatenate command in Excel to build large numbers of commands that I can then run as a script.

So its pleasing to see that all of our products are working towards making the scripters life even easier.   For example the XIV has offered a command  log in the GUI for some time.  I blogged about it here.   You simply do a command once in the GUI and then consult the log to find the syntax, making scripting very easy:

With last years release of SVC 6.1 and Storwize V7000, we added this level of smarts to those two products as well.   Now every command you run in the GUI will offer you the exact CLI command that was used under-the-covers to do this work.   Simply toggle the details tab on the completion panel to see the command (or toggle it back to hide it!).

This weeks announcement of release 6.2 of the SVC and Storwize V7000 firmware, has brought in two more important usability improvements:

  1. Now when logging onto the CLI using individual user-ids, you can logon using the actual user-id itself, rather than admin.   This change has been a long time coming and removes the confusion generated by logging onto the GUI as  say anthony, but then logging into a matching CLI session as admin.   Now you would logon to either interface as anthony.
  2. Now when issuing CLI commands, you have the choice to drop the svctask and svcinfo headers.   So instead of issuing the command svcinfo lsnode, you can issue the command lsnode.   Both choices remain valid (so we don’t break your existing scripts).  Making this change is part of a bigger plan to move to a more common CLI.

And there are more improvements coming, so as always, watch this space….

…. and please… share with me… are you a GUI… or a CLI person?  Whats your reasoning behind your choice?

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About Anthony Vandewerdt

I am an IT Professional who lives and works in Melbourne Australia. This blog is totally my own work. It does not represent the views of any corporation. Constructive and useful comments are very very welcome.
This entry was posted in IBM XIV, Storwize V7000, SVC and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to GUI vs CLI – Sharing the Love

  1. Alex says:

    Im a CLI junkie! For me its because I usually drive everything from behind a FreeBSD desktop and i want to use unix tools for filtering etc e.g. grep, wc, awk, sed, etc etc etc.
    As well as this I find documenting (think: pasting) CLI instructions much quicker than taking a million screen shots.

    Some GUI tools are very useful though such as http://www.hexworkshop.com/ and burp suite http://portswigger.net/.

    -Alex

  2. Pingback: Storwize V7000 CLI Enhancements | virtualstoragespeak

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