Vision Tackles i5/OS Application Performance with Director 7.0
October 16, 2007 Alex Woodie
Vision Solutions is best known as a provider of high availability software for the System i server. After all, since it has purchased three of its former competitors, Vision pretty much now owns that market. But thanks to its acquisition of OS Solutions two-and-a-half years ago, the company is also designing and marketing i5/OS performance management tools, and last week it shipped a major new release of its key offering in that arena: Vision Director 7.0.
Vision Director, which evolved from OS Solutions’ old OS Director product, is a systems optimization and performance utility that’s geared toward freeing up DASD, improving CPU utilization, automating ongoing maintenance tasks, and preparing for future growth. The company claims most users will see an immediate 15 to 40 percent reduction in DASD use and a 15 percent processing performance boost by using the software.
The utility accomplishes these goals through a series of predefined routines that target several aspects of the i5/OS application environment, including use of application and database objects, physical and logical file dependencies, and job and user tracking. Job tracking can be set up to run automatically and meet certain performance thresholds set by the customer, freeing the administrator for other tasks. A full audit trail is maintained for security purposes.
With version 7, Vision has made several enhancements geared toward making the product’s optimization and change-tracking routines more effective, and also toward boosting the product’s reporting capabilities.
The first new feature is a dynamic monitoring capability that ensures cross-reference tables of i5/OS object usage is kept continually up-to-date. Vision says this capability, which it borrowed from its high availability products, saves time by eliminating the need for operators to manually run object cross-reference jobs.
The product’s capability to track and analyze how elements of i5/OS environments change over time has been improved thanks to the capability to group libraries into multiple domains. Vision says this change analysis capability now enables the product to identify system changes over any period at the domain, library, object, and profile levels.
Vision has also added a series of new reporting functions, including new graphical system health reports that make it easier for users to grasp the current state of System i assets, as well as for capacity planning. The company has also added a series of 60 new “advanced reports” that should provide systems administrators a deep-level of understanding of their servers, their applications, and their high availability environments. These reports are delivered in a GUI screen, feature columns that can be sorted and filtered, and can be exported to XML and Excel.
The new version represents a “milestone” for the company’s systems management tools, says Alan Arnold, chief technology officer and executive vice president for Vision. “Enhancements include a major revamp of menus and installation plus new initiatives to bring system health, change analysis, and application performance to the forefront of its technological boundary,” he says.
Paul Wade, Vision’s product director, says version 7 represents the most significant jump in functionality and quality the product has ever seen. “By delivering the industry’s first object-level, dynamic systems management information repository together with multi-dimensional domain analysis, library registration, and change analysis with more than 60 new enquiries, we’re raising standards to a whole new level.”
One company already using Director 7.0 is Tandy Brands Accessories, the Arlington, Texas, manufacturer of fashion accessories, including belts, wallets, handbags, suspenders, socks, scarves, and hair accessories. According to Mike Davis, the company’s programming manager, the product is worth its price. “It’s one of those applications that runs quietly in the background, doing its job very well,” he says.
Vision Director 7.0 is available now. The software supports OS/400 V5R2 and higher. Pricing starts at $5,000 per server.