MPG Bumps Performance and Capacity Planning Capabilities
May 12, 2009 Dan Burger
During the past 11 years, Midrange Performance Group‘s Performance Navigator has provided users of the IBM AS/400, iSeries, System i, and Power i with a ton of performance and capacity data that has been used to plan server consolidations, manage systems, improve performance, and increase workload efficiency.
In Version 14, Performance Navigator has been upgraded to support the latest IBM i hardware including the Power 6+ processor models, blade processors, SAS RAID disk controllers, and support for Solid State Disk. For the details on the Power 6+ IBM boxes, see New Power6+ Iron: The Feeds and Speeds and for the scoop on IBM’s storage upgrades, see Sundry Spring Power Systems Storage Enhancements.
PerfNav is being used by more than 1,000 customers, according to MPG, and is known for its “What-If” technology that supports modeling of current workloads. The what-if scenarios can be applied to multiple targets that vary from down-rev servers to the latest technologies for the purpose of determining the performance effect(s) of investing in new processors, controllers, and disk.
One of the advantages of this software is the capability to examine recurring periods of noticeable performance problems, such as end of day, end of month, or during long backups. The drill-down features and analytical capabilities are where Performance Navigator is at its best. It is often used by companies planning system upgrades because the tool is pre-loaded with the performance capabilities of the IBM i product line.
Because of the increasing complexity and price/performance of the IBM Power Systems and the current economic environment, MPG President Randy Watson believes there will be an increased evaluation and review of hardware and software options as customers modernize their infrastructure and implement cost-reduction programs.
PerfNav Version 14 introduces several new functions and features for the day-to-day management of data center servers, including more than 20 graphs and reports. Systems administrators may be particularly interested in the four current day graphs that support “drill-down” capability to help with problem determination. Also, several new scripts provide analysis summaries for DASD, ODBC, response time, service level, and an enterprise performance overview covering all resources in an enterprise.
MPG’s Performance Navigator is a Windows program that connects to IBM i servers (V3R2 through V5R2) and downloads raw performance data via ODBC. The tool offers nearly 100 colorful graphs and reports that show how server performance has changed over time and how the server will likely perform in the future. It tracks many performance attributes, including job type, job priority, users, actual and logical CPUs, application response time, disk utilization, and memory pools.
By the way, Performance Navigator also supports Solaris and HP-UX.
MPG is also introducing a new pricing model with Version 14 that permits customers to select either an “All-LAPR” Entitlement or the “Standard” Entitlement of LPARs 1, 2, and 3. MPG expects a large majority of customers will require the Standard Entitlement.
MPG offers free downloads of a limited version of Performance Navigator from its Web site. This version lets users track the use of CPU and disk space. Users must purchase a key code from MPG to activate the full capabilities of Performance Navigator. Licenses for Performance Navigator 14 start at $4,295, for access to one OS/400 server and up to three LPARs (Standard Entitlement). Customers requiring four or more LPARs will pay $5,795 per server. In both instances, an annual maintenance fee of 20 percent is added to the license fee. Discounts apply for purchases involving multiple servers up to a total of 20. At that point the total cost is capped.