MPG’s Capacity Planning Tool Is Ready for i5
May 4, 2004 Alex Woodie
When IBM‘s new Power5-based i5 servers (formerly iSeries) ship next month, users will be exposed for the first time to strange new “on demand” technologies, such as the Virtualization Engine, support for up to 10 partitions per processor, and “weighted priority” for partitions with automatic processor and memory balancing. With products like Midrange Performance Group‘s Performance Navigator, announced this week, users will be able to see how their particular workloads will run on the new i5 boxes.
The new i5 servers and the new release of OS/400, called i5/OS V5R3, announced today, feature new virtualization and on-demand technologies that should help users to get even more out of their servers and network (see “The eServer i5, i5/OS V5R3 Continue the AS/400 Transformation”. But the new virtualization technologies also bring increased complexity, say officials with MPG, the Boulder, Colorado, iSeries performance specialists. “The i5/OS views performance measurement, management, and capacity planning from a completely new, on-demand perspective,” says Randy Watson, president of MPG.
MPG’s Performance Navigator is a Windows program that supports AS/400 and iSeries servers running OS/400 V3R2 through V5R2, as well as the new i5 servers running i5/OS V5R3. PerfNav uses the same data collection facility used by PM/400 to download raw performance data, which it slices and dices into a series of colorful graphs and reports that show the user how server performance has changed over time, as well as how the server will likely perform in the future. The software tracks every major performance metric, including actual and logical CPUs, application response time, disk utilization, and memory pools, and it is preloaded with the performance characteristics of every AS/400, iSeries, and i5 configuration, which enables “what if” modeling.
With PerfNav 10.0, which is available now, MPG is now supporting the new virtualization functions IBM delivered with i5 and in i5/OS, including support for capped (four partitions per processor) and uncapped (10 partitions per process) capacity, “weighted” priority for a partition (which sets a minimum, a desired, or a guaranteed capacity for a partition from a shared pool of processors), and support for CPU utilization by memory pools.
PerfNav 10.0 also supports the new hardware management consoles, which the new i5s require for changing or activating logical partitioning (LPAR), as well as independent auxiliary storage pools (iASPs), a complicated but promising new way to segment i5 storage, which IBM introduced with OS/400 V5R2.
The i5/OS “truly implements on-demand computing. Now we can really see IBM’s vision with this implementation of sharing processors, and automatic reallocation of resources based on demand from a partition,” says Joe Camilli, MPG’s vice president and chief technical officer. “The iSeries world gets a lot more complex with V5R3, and PerfNav’s job of making it appear simple got a lot more complex also.”
Preparing PerfNav for the i5/OS with release 10 exceeded the cumulative effort that MPG put into developing PerfNav release 2 through release 9, Watson says. “We support over 150 business partners worldwide, who use PerfNav in their capacity plans and proposals for new iSeries servers,” he says. “To us it is inconceivable that business partners or other professionals could perform capacity plans for V5R3 and new servers without PerfNav.”
IBM also offers its own performance tools that integrate with the new i5s and the hardware management consoles. IBM’s PM iSeries services offering uses CPU utilization data gathered by the new IBM Director Multiplatform, a component of the new Virtualization Engine that IBM is debuting on the i5, which will allow users to monitor their i5/OS, AIX 5L, Linux, and Windows operating environments.
Performance Navigator 10.0 is available now. Licenses have gone up with this release and now range form $3,195 for a single server to $38,503 for an unlimited enterprise license. More information and free trials can be download from MPG’s Web site, at www.mpginc.com.