Centerfield Adds More Smarts to Database Performance Suite
March 4, 2008 Alex Woodie
Getting the most performance out of your System i server should be easier when using the new release of Centerfield Technology‘s suite of SQL and DB2 optimization software. With HomeRun version 6.1, Centerfield has added more intelligence and flexibility to HomeRun’s autonomic database maintenance component, called AutoDBA, which should result in faster implementation of database index optimization. The company has also taken steps to minimize the performance impact of the HomeRun suite itself.
In 2006, CenterField consolidated its various database performance and security products into a single suite called HomeRun. The move primarily served to make it easier and less expensive for customers to get the various database tools that Centerfield previously sold independently. The company was also laying the groundwork to unite its tools under AutoDBA, which would follow in 2007.
Leading off the HomeRun suite is insure/INDEX, the nuts and bolts offering that does the heavy lifting of identifying and creating new SQL and DDS indices, identifying underutilized indices, and retiring old indices that are bogging down performance. Next up is insure/ANALYSIS, which looks deeper into performance to correlate how SQL statements, individual jobs, application users, files, and indices are affecting performance. Rounding off the lineup are insure/MONITOR, which is used to notify operators of performance problems as they occur (or are about to occur); insure/RESOURCES, which protects precious system resources; and insure/SECURITY, which protects data and restricts access to applications like FTP.
In August 2007, Centerfield made a significant addition to the team with the delivery of AutoDBA, or the Autonomic Database Assistant. Like a human DBA, Centerfield’s AutoDBA is designed to analyze a database, recommend changes to improve application performance, and then implement and monitor those changes. But instead of requiring deep knowledge of how best to tune DB2 for System i, an AutoDBA user can rely on Centerfield’s distillation of thousands of pages of technical documentation from IBM to do it for them. And instead of implementing those changes manually, as a human DBA would do, a HomeRun customer can use the wizard-driven, Windows-based console in AutoDBA to automatically implement the changes through insure/INDEX or insure/ANALYSIS, and even roll back the changes if that is later deemed necessary.
Now, with HomeRun version 6.1, Centerfield has evolved its AutoDBA component to give System i system administrators even more control over their DB2 and SQL performance optimization. “With 6.1, we’ve fine-tuned the way we produce advice to make it easier and more effective to implement,” writes Centerfield CTO Mark Holm in the February issue of Centerfield’s newsletter, “Out in Left Field.”
For example, when AutoDBA recommends things to improve the performance of your database, at the top of that list will be the task that will give the biggest performance bang for your buck. The rest of the recommendations will be prioritized as well.
Centerfield has also strived to give greater clarity to AutoDBA’s recommendations concerning “clustered indices.” As a result of this change, it will be easier to identify which index AutoDBA recommends reorganizing to achieve the optimum order of rows in a table.
But perhaps the most useful change in AutoDBA doesn’t involve autonomics at all. With this release, Centerfield has added a new column on the GUI console that contains the CL command that you can use to implement the software’s advice. “The bottom line is more flexibility and control,” Holm says in his column.
HomeRun’s data collection facility has also been enhanced with version 6.1 to minimize any CPU and disk impact it might cause to the System i server that it’s working to improve.
One way version 6.1 minimizes its performance impact is through the addition of new filters that monitor a particular user or group profile in OS/400 V5R2 and i5/OS V5R3. Previously, its capability in this department was limited by filtering by job name. For V5R4, HomeRun leverages built-in i5/OS support to collect current profiles, the company says.
Also, HomeRun now can collect data based on IP address. Because many multi-tier applications connect to the iSeries through Wintel servers (such as JD Edwards EnterpriseOne), by isolating jobs that originate from a particular server, a specific application or set of users can be monitored, Centerfield says.
HomeRun version 6.1 is available now. A license for the product costs $18,000 for one LPAR, $16,000 per LPAR for two, $14,000 per LPAR for three, and $12,000 per LPAR for four or more. For more information, visit www.centerfieldtechnology.com.