Volume 19, Number 22 -- June 14, 2010

IBM Launches Application Runtime Expert for i

Published: June 14, 2010

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

The AS/400 was an application box from the get-go, and system administrators and end users on the box think of it at the application level, not as a collection of components with their own performance specs and attributes. But, when you are trying to deliver a certain level of performance, as consistently as possible, to end users, then you have to get down into the weeds of the individual performance of hardware and software components of the system.

This is not the kind of thing that SMB shops are particularly good at, and nor should they have to be. This is why IBM has cooked up a little something it calls the Application Runtime Expert for i V1.1.

The ARE for i V1.1 tool watches applications as they are running on various i platforms, capturing application and server metrics that can be correlated to performance of the applications. The tool has a graphical interface that lets you set up a template to extract specific metrics from one system and then do the same thing on collections of systems so you can see how multiple machines perform doing the same work. You can also track how the performance of an application on one or more machines changes over time, and use ARE for i V1.1 to see what might have changed on a box (or many) to cause a change in performance. This analysis is useful for both development and production environments, and for comparing the two. The tool also has features to let attributes of a system automatically be changed in the event that performance is not up to snuff.

According to announcement letter 210-146, ARE can look at a slew of runtime attributes for an application, including:

  • File, directory, library authorities, and attributes
  • Attributes within property, HTTP, and XML configuration files
  • User profile IDs
  • Product PTFs and PTF groups
  • System values and network attributes
  • Products installed
  • TCP/IP network verification and configuration
  • Environment variables
  • Ports in use

ARE for i V1.1 is available on either i 6.1 and i 7.1, and requires customers to install QShell, the PASE AIX runtime environment, the 32-bit Java virtual machine, the IBM Toolbox for Java, and the latest Web and Java group PTFs for the operating systems. The software is supported on System i 8XX machines running i 6.1 and Power Systems 5XX and 7XX servers, System i 5XX servers, and all JS and PS blade servers running either i 6.1 or i 7.1. On machines in the P05, P10, or P20 software tiers, the tool costs a mere $250; on P30 machines, it costs $500; and on P40, P50, and P60 machines, it costs $1,250. ARE for i V1.1 will be available on June 18.

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