CCSS Goes '12 for 12' with IBM i Monitoring Solution
Published: August 10, 2010
by Alex Woodie
CCSS recently unveiled a dozen new features for QSystem Monitor version 12, its monitoring software for IBM's IBM i operating system. The addition of 12 new data definitions introduce a range of new functionality to the product, such as checking the status of IP connections or jobs kept on hold, and will save System i administrators the time and effort of chasing down the information themselves, the British software company says.
QSM is a popular i5/OS and IBM i utility that helps Power Systems and System i administrators keep better track of their servers through the automation of the collection of error messages and performance metrics. By filtering through thousands of log messages and queues and alerting administrators to important changes that threaten the stability of their systems, QSM enables administrators to comfortably shift their attention to more strategic issues, while the miracle of software automation handles the grunt work.
QSM version 12, which has been shipping for years, already includes hundreds of pre-defined data definitions that keep track of the most obvious and critical log messages and performance metrics, such as DASD utilization or looping jobs. Thanks to a steady stream of updates over the years, QSM even keeps a watchful eye on some of the more esoteric attributes of the IBM midrange server, such as the state of the charge of the lithium ion batteries that power the cache on the I/O cards.
In late July, CCSS, which has a U.S. office in North Carolina, added 12 new data definitions to QSM's graphical management console, giving administrators more fine-grained visibility into the state of their servers.
The first new data definition monitors the availability of IP communications. CCSS says it has come up with a novel way of monitoring IP addresses that bypasses traditional TCP protocols, which is important in industries where TCP is locked down for security reasons. such as the gaming industry . The new monitor enables administrators to monitor the status of a single interface, and also allows users to start and end the monitor, which keeps its network footprint small.
Four new batch job monitors should help administrators prevent important jobs from getting held up in queues. QSM now tells administrators: how many batch jobs are held on job queues; how many jobs are waiting on held job queues; how many batch jobs are on job queues that aren't attached to an active subsystem; and how many batch jobs are waiting to run, both on job queues and the job scheduler.
CCSS added three new monitors that keep an eye on batch and interactive jobs that have ended, but are still printing or have print jobs waiting in an output queue. CCS product manager Paul Ratchford says it's important to keep a watchful eye for these situations.
"Having immediate access to this type of information is very useful as it conforms to the principle of a 'management-by-exception' environment," Ratchford says in a press release. "In this case, you don't need to know when new output queues are created, or monitor every single one on the system because it will show up in these totals and anomalies will be immediately obvious. Previously, if you added new applications that generated output queues, you may not have even known about them until there was a problem. These new parameters offer users a much more granular view."
Two new monitors show administrators the total number of jobs in the system and total number of jobs in the system as a percentage of the configured maximum. These monitors can help detect looping jobs, and tell administrators when the system is approaching the maximum number of supported jobs, which could bypass a slowdown or prevent a total system failure, CCSS says.
The final two new monitors in QSM 12 have to do with objects and the addresses they are assigned. Specifically, the monitors show the percentage of permanent addresses and the percentage of temporary addresses that are used, as compared to the maximum. It's important to know these figures, because running out of permanent or temporary addresses can cause the server to crash, the company says.
For more information on QSM 12 or other CCSS products, see the company's website at www.ccssltd.com.
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