CCSS Enhances System i Disk Monitoring with Utility
April 7, 2009 Alex Woodie
Several new features designed to alert managers to spikes in System i disk usage have been added to CCSS‘ QSystem Monitor, a system management tool for System i servers. The software will identify the largest objects and libraries on a System i server, which can be instrumental in flushing out a problem.
Managing hard disks and hard disk space in System i environments is a little bit different than other environments. A lot of the difference begins and ends with the fact that System i disk costs, oh, about a billion times more than your industry standard Dell server, which means System i shops are always trying to maximize their utilization of disk (called “DASD”) so they can minimize the need to buy more of them (which makes them feel “dazed”).
As a result of this huge cost differential, System i shops are known to run dangerously close to full DASD utilization, which can have a dramatically bad effect on the ability of System i servers to function normally.
Over the years, CCSS has helped many a System i shop keep tabs on their System i (i5, iSeries) DASD usage with QSystem Monitor, a systems management tool for IBM i (i5/OS, OS/400) servers. Administrators could slice and dice the use of physical disk space, auxiliary storage pools (ASPs), iASPs, and IFS folders by time, space, status, user, job, object, and subsystem to gain a historical perspective on disk usage, with the goal of cleaning them up and regaining billions of bits of valuable DASD.
With the launch of QSystem Monitor version 12 two years ago, CCSS gave users the capability to monitor journal receivers, ASPs and physical disk units by ASP busy unit, by ASP space free, by ASP space used, and by ASP status–all in real time.
Last week, CCSS added several more monitors to QSystem Monitor, which is still on version 12. The product’s disk monitor now has the capability to perform a delta scan of DASD usage at intervals during the day. By gathering this information throughout the day, instead of at the end of the last full collection, users can get much more timely notice of potentially harmful conditions.
The new real-time DASD monitoring function looks for two things: the largest library in a given subsystem, and the largest object. Depending on what area the monitors are pointed at, the results–communicated graphically with QSystem Monitor’s PC-based client–can give a forewarning to trouble ahead.
CCSS product manager Paul Ratchford says the benefits of these monitors will be substantial, “You need only ask a manager who’s had to resolve a disk issue the hard way,” he says. “The difference is vast in terms of the time it takes.”
For example, Ratchford continues, if a system user was running a query and it began to loop, resulting in a sudden surge of 10 GB of disk space, the system manager would have to find that rogue query in the system without any immediate ability to identify which library it’s located in.
“His only choice would be a painstaking analysis of the system log at a later date, due to the historical nature of the analysis data,” he says. “Now this information is immediately accessible through the real-time online monitor.”