When teaching classes, I'm often asked, "How would you do 'this'?" (where 'this' is a work situation that the student attending the class has to resolve using the tool that they're currently learning).
I was teaching a BMC Server Automation (aka Bladelogic, BSA) Administration Part 2 course to a number of students in Australia. When we got to the portion of the course in which we discuss the various BSA Deployment jobs that are available, two of the students became animated when I discussed the use of NSH Script jobs and BlPackage Deploy jobs to perform tasks on Windows platforms.
As their site is predominantly Windows-based, they wanted to see an example of a PowerShell command that could be used to set the appropriate DNS server details on a per-host basis.
My background is very firmly rooted in UNIX (and Linux) so my knowledge of PowerShell is limited. However, the principle behind the required action is something that I am familiar with.
So, rather than spend time just doing the lab exercises provided in the course, I decided to add this particular task as a challenge to the students.
The whole class, of 6 students, participated fully in a lively debate about the best method to use, the actual script structure and the potential issues that they would face (such as how to determine how many network interfaces required setting, how to identify the correct network interface to assign the DNS settings to and so forth).
As their situation was highly relevant to their work situation, this session helped me to introduce ideas regarding how BSA jobs function, the job execution strategies that were open to them, how to handle NSH scripting and use NSH Script jobs and much more.
For me, as an instructor, it was wonderful to see everyone so deeply involved with their attempt to utilize the software that they were here to learn. It also helped me to reinforce the message that BMC Education tries to bring real-life situations into the classroom so as to assist in the learning process.
The good news was that we did manage to create a script, test it on a Windows command line to assess its actions, convert it into a BladeLogic Package and parameterize the Package so that the DNS server values could be set at job-execution time.
Not only were the students impressed with the functionality of the product, they had learnt how to approach working with the product and understood why certain work practices would assist in maintenance, documentation and the learning of others.
This was a very successful course as all of the students completed the course with such high levels of motivation to start using BSA in their daily work. A perfect result for a very happy BMC instructor.