CCSS Adds Killer Queries, FTP Use to Watch List
January 4, 2005 Alex Woodie
Sometimes the actions of users can have unintended consequences, like that seemingly innocent query that Jane in accounting set off this morning, which is now threatening to bring down the system. And while the shipping department folks know they’re not supposed to FTP documents from the iSeries anymore, somebody back there is still doing it. These are two actions that new OS/400 software from CCSS would pick up for you, before they cause crashes or arouse attention from auditors.
QSystem Monitor is a client/server application that shows system administrators how their iSeries servers are using system resources, such as database CPU, interactive processing per logical partition, or I/O. In total, the product simultaneously monitors dozens of performance metrics, which are displayed on the graphical PC client, called the Online Monitor.
A new command within CCSS’s QSystem Monitor Version 11 detects so-called “looping jobs,” which are often badly written queries that suck up available CPU until everybody’s terminal runs like molasses. The traditional approach to dealing with this killer query frequently resembles an autopsy more than an active investigation, which is to say that it can be difficult to track down exactly what happened, even after the fact, let alone preventing it from happening in the first place. That doesn’t do a lot of good when orders aren’t being taken and product isn’t being shipped. But with QSystem Monitor’s new feature, looping jobs can be isolated before it comes to this.
Once QSystem Monitor detects the looping job, it can be programmed to immediately send a message to the operator for assistance, or to take things into its own hands, including putting the job on hold or lowering its priority. A full audit trail is also maintained, helping the IT staff to understand the events leading up to the near miss (and keeping those auditors satisfied).
QSystem Monitor can identify looping jobs in less than 90 seconds, says Paul Ratchford, a product manager for CCSS. “These are the very jobs that, left unattended, have the ability to bring down a system altogether,” he says. “The time saved on preventing any type of downtime situation can be immediately translated into money saved for the organization.”
CCSS has also enhanced security and that all-important audit-ability with a new FTP monitoring feature in QMessageMonitor, a complementary product to QSystem Monitor that filters the main QSYSOPR message log to weed out the unimportant messages, and notifies the operators of the critical ones through automatically generated e-mails, phone calls, pagers, or other electronic devices.
A new FTP tracking feature in QMessageMonitor Version 6 tells administrators exactly what FTP actions are being used on an iSeries and who is running them. In this way, QMessageMonitor adds another degree of visibility and accountability to internal controls, which is an area of significant concern for iSeries shops that must conform to Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations, CCSS says.
There’s an increasing demand for eliminating any “gray areas” from essential daily processing tasks, CCSS said in a statement. “Such work is changing the culture of large and multi-system computing, bringing the weight of responsibility for data security firmly into the IT manager’s department,” the company says. “In an age where modern commerce depends virtually wholly on the applications and systems used to support them, this trend for total accountability looks set to continue.”
CCSS is located in Gillingham, in the County of Kent, in England. Its U.S. headquarters are in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information, go to www.ccssltd.com.