What makes a good asset?

September 3, 2008

When people hear the word asset they often think physical assets. I surprisingly often get asked if RAM is primarily used to manage physical assets. While you could use RAM to do that, it isn’t RAM’s primary purpose. RAM’s primary purpose is to manage intellectual property assets related to the process of developing software. These assets are usually the work products from the software development process that you may need to reference or use again for a recurring business or technical need. So an asset could be as course grained as an application or the representation of the application server it is being deployed on. Or as fine grained as components, services, business processes, business rules, Eclipse Plugins, Open Source Jar files or any asset that you want to govern, search, reference or use.

Some good rules of thumb for choosing an asset

1. Is it something you think needs to be governed before others in the organization begin using it or having a dependency on it. Meaning you need role based access controls to the asset, review and approval and perhaps some reporting. Other examples of this include managing the definition and development of an asset across a supply chain. RAM can be used to broker assets between consumers and producers.

2. An asset is something that has some value and has a high likelyhood of being referenced or used for a recurring business or technical problem. Examples include a recent customer who has events that they monitor in their operations environment. They had application down event where their product application was unavailable for 3 days while they figured out how to get the application back up. To ensure that the problem didn’t happen again they wrote an best practice asset that described the process to get the application back up and running. Turns out the event happened again 2 years later but the person who wrote the document had retired. It took the company 1 day to get the system back up because they couldn’t find the asset. With RAM they could have found the asset immediately by searching on an asset with the event description and see all the related solution assets for it.

Some rules of thumb for level of granularity of an asset:

1. When parts of an asset change at different rates of change than the primary asset that the functionality resides in. For example. You may have a business application that doesn’t change that often by has a service which does change often. You would want the service to be it’s own asset with it’s own notification process.

2. Ownership. When parts of an asset are owned by more than one person and their needs to be clear lines of responsibility for funding business support and technical support.

3. Levels of review required. For example if there is a component that requires legal review you may want to separate it out from within the larger application. This simplifies the legal review process by making the asset reviewed 1 time by the lawyers and used many times by the product teams without requiring more review. Usually this implies different levels of review on different types of assets which RAM supports.

Example Assets We have built some very cool capabilities into RAM to allow you to govern all the types of assets I referenced above. I want to leave you with a couple of cool tips on how you can leverage some of the unique capabilities in RAM to manage both technical and business assets.

Eclipse Plugins

Did you know that you can manage your Eclipse Plugins with RAM? Here are the set of assets you would create and the URL you could use to update your Eclipse using a RAM asset. Thanks to Kevin Bauer on the team who documented this.

These steps show you how to create an asset which is the Eclipse Plugin Update site from an asset in RAM. This then allows you to govern Eclipse plugins, their dependencies and provision them right from with RAM.

1. Create plugin project asset, feature project asset and finally an eclipse update site project .

2. The URL to the Eclipse Update Site Project would likely look something like this. http://yourRAMServer:8080/com.ibm.ram.repository.web/assetDetail/generalDetails.faces?guid={AB5D6836-3216-B7FE-9E1A-E96378B3A55C}&v=7.1.0

3. So through the web client the eclipse update site URL would look like… http://yourRAMServer/com.ibm.ram.repository.web/artifact/{AB5D6836-3216-B7FE-9E1A-E96378B3A55C}/7.1.0/com.ibm.ram.radical.document.batch.uploader.updatesite/ but this URL will not get past the RAM authentication. The update feature in eclipse only understands BASIC authentication. RAM’s web application use FORM based authentication, but our Web Service application uses BASIC authentication.

4. You need to get the web service context (you can find this URL on the extensions page of a RAM your RAM server) http://yourRAMServer:8080/com.ibm.ram.repository.web.ws.tomcat with a RAMSecure URL mapping for our secured access.

5. Create the correct URL for update site URL for this feature: http://yourRAMServer:8080/com.ibm.ram.repository.web.ws.tomcat/RAMSecure/artifact/{AB5D6836-3216-B7FE-9E1A-E96378B3A55C}/7.1.0/com.ibm.ram.radical.document.batch.uploader.updatesite/ and eclipse will prompt you for the RAM userid and password when you try to use the update manager.

Training Videos, Podcasts and Webcasts Did you know you can manage your Knowledge assets with RAM. The Rich text description in RAM supports embedding video including Flash Content right within the Asset Description. You simply copy and paste the video by highlighting it on a web page and then pasting it into the asset description. Or for YouTube videos you copy and paste the object code that is on the YouTube video usually immediately to the right of the video. Here is a screen shot of our internal on boarding RAM v7 server that shows an example asset. Notice how it has been customized with the intranet themes and skins.

Embedding training videos, podcasts and webcasts in RAM Assets

Embedding training videos, podcasts and webcasts in RAM Assets

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