iCan Blog Archive

Director? Navigator?

I think there’s a fair amount of confusion regarding the management tools IBM has delivered the past couple of years. You hear about Director, but what are we talking about?  And then there’s Navigator – is that iSeries Navigator?  Operations Navigator?  What about Director Navigator?  All of this seems to be very confusing to many.

So, let me try to explain the various products and their names to hopefully provide clear information on this.

February 1, 2020: I have updated this post for currency, but left in the old product names and information for historical purposes.

Four products seem to cause confusion … and it’s easy to see why – they all have either Director or Navigator in their name.  

  1. System i Navigator, also called IBM Navigator for i, the windows client application (no longer supported)
  2. System i Navigator tasks on the Web, now called IBM i Access for Web.
  3. IBM Systems Director Navigator for i, now called IBM Navigator for i)
  4. IBM Systems Director (now withdrawn)

Let me explain each of these in order… 

System i Navigator, Sometimes Also Called IBM Navigator for i
System i Navigator is the Windows application that has been known as Operations Navigator or iSeries Navigator in the past. This application has been available since the V3R7 release, with V5R1 being perhaps the release with the most function added to it. System i Navigator is where you find Management Central as well as the many of the Db2 administrative and management tools. In general, System i Navigator is in maintenance mode and few enhancements will be made to it. System i Navigator was never supported on versions of Windows after Windows 8. I will mention that some of the IBM Web pages call this “Navigator for i,” so it doesn’t help that IBM is inconsistent in the use of terminology. Whenever you see the word “Navigator” used alone, it’s referring to this application.

IBM withdrew support for System i Navigator on April 30, 2019.

Most of the functions in System i Navigator are now in either Navigator for i or Access Client Solutions. The major exception is some of the Management Central features, particularly the ability to create and manage groups of systems. IBM is recommending the use of Nagios if you need to monitor multiple partitions.

System i Navigator Tasks on the Web
System i Navigator tasks on the Web was part of the V5R3 release. It was IBM’s first work at taking function from the Navigator for i client application and providing that function via a browser interface. The tasks on the Web are simply URLs that you could bookmark to get you to the tasks. There was no “console” interface, and there was no navigation pane like the client application had.

Navigator for i
In the 6.1 release, IBM delivered the IBM Systems Director Navigator for i Web console. This is essentially the System i Navigator function via the Web. The short name that was used for this application was “Director Navigator.” The naming of this product was extremely confusing; the intent was to tie it to the IBM Systems Director product, but all it did was get people confused. IBM renamed this to Navigator for i.

It has a “console” interface in that the full navigation support is there, and almost all of the features from System i Navigator are available; the key exceptions are Management Central and some of the Db2 administrative and management tools. The Db2 administrative and management tools are have now been added to Access Client Solutions. This is the strategic management interface for IBM i, and you’ll see it enhanced over time. For example, the Performance Data Investigator has had significant enhancements over time. 

IBM Systems Director
IBM Systems Director was IBM’s attempt to deliver an overarching multiplatform management solution. It was a Web-based solution, and supported the Power platform, along with various operating systems. It provided a consolidated view of physical and virtual resources, along with storage systems and network devices. The IBM Systems Director server didn’t run on IBM i, but it could manage IBM i. If you managed an IBM i partition with IBM Systems Director, you could drill down into IBM Systems Director Navigator to get the detailed information specific to i. Thus, the names “IBM Systems Director” and “IBM Systems Director Navigator for i” were very intentional – IBM Systems Director Navigator for i is an extension to IBM Systems Director. When someone referred to “Director,” it was this IBM Systems Director product they’re talking about.

IBM withdrew IBM Systems Director in 2016. The product was never successful and was hopelessly buggy.

IBM published the following Redbooks on these management tools: 

IBM Systems Director Navigator for i 

Implementing IBM Systems Director 6.1