Big Blue Offers Free Monitoring to Server Customers
May 29, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Remote customer support provided via modem was one of the big innovations that IBM brought out with the AS/400 back in the summer of 1988, and the idea continues to evolve as server platforms and networking technologies change.
Last week, IBM announced a free monitoring service to customers who buy its servers–that’s System i, System p, System x, System z, and BladeCenter–or its high-end DS8000 disk arrays. As long as the products are under IBM warranty or you have a maintenance agreement once the warranty has run out, you can use the Electronic Service Agent. This software is available for free and runs on the servers, and it monitors how the machinery is functioning and proactively calls IBM’s support centers when something looks like it might be heading toward a problem. The system back at IBM automatically creates a trouble ticket, searches the tech support knowledge base, appends documents for the tech rep, and dispatches a technician to your site if the situation warrants it.
The Electronic Service Agent software is already integrated into i5/OS V5R4 and AIX 5.3 at technology level 6 (this is the version necessary to support Power6 processors); the agent is also already integrated into the firmware inside the Power-based server family’s Hardware Management Console (HMC), which is used to manage logical partitions and capacity on demand (CoD) processor and memory allocation. Customers using Windows or Linux on their platforms can download the agent for free at www.ibm.com/support/electronic. This proactive monitoring is only available on IBM systems, so don’t think you can hack it onto competitor’s boxes.