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2011 Conference - Windchill Reflections


2011 Conference - Windchill Reflections

The following is based on the few notes I took during the conference.
(Still don't have the slides from the event, which is chapping my hide. Over the last few years, the user presentations have been available before the conference, and it's taken up to a month or more for the PTC presentations to be made available, I hope I don't have to wait a month to get the user presentations. Not a happy camper!)

Generally what I noticed was most of the presentations concerned Windchill in some respect. The ProE. oh sorry, Creo presentations were in the minority. Since this year I was mostly interested in Windchill related issues, that was ok, however I did hear a few complaints from some attendees about the lack of content in that area.

Windchill Security:
I went to a talk from PTC about Windchill Security. They seem to be taking security of the system more seriously, which I highly welcome. They are using Microsoft's DREAD model for threat assessment, which will determine what threats are most important to fix first. PTC will be putting out a Security Update Patch (SUP) on a schedule of every two months. The patch will work across all maintenance builds.

PTC will not publish what the Patches fix because that would give a road map to how to attack systems that have not been patched. Not even if you ask nicely or insist that you need to know before installing the patch. The reason is telling one person leads to the information leaking out, and other customers who haven't patched yet becoming more vulnerable. With all the defense related customers, you can see why this is so important.

Windchill Problem Reporting:
I went to another talk from PTC about problem reporting to the hotline and new tools coming down the pike to improve the information collection they get.

First off they are coming out with something called the System Configuration Collector. This will go into your system and collect method server logs, system settings, configuration files, etc. and either send that to PTC automatically or you can set it up to place a bundle of files on your system so you can scrub them for sensitive content before you send it to PTC. (I would highly recommend you have it save the data to disk first, otherwise you may be sending PTC you system admin password, ProductView adapter passwords, etc. See my talk for a list of files that the ProductView adapters create or use that contain clear text passwords.)

Second they have contracted with DynaTrace to provide a blackbox system monitor that will have a gui hat will allow you to go in after the fact and diagnose a problem. This will come out in a later build of 9.1 and be provided free of charge. (PTC has to build the hooks into Windchill to allow this monitoring)

Their goal is that this will not be more than a 5% overhead on PDMLink.

That's all I have time for today, I'll send out another email tomorrow with more reflections.

David Haigh
Phone: 925-424-3931
Fax: 925-423-7496
Lawrence Livermore National Lab
7000 East Ave, L-362
Livermore, CA 94550

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