SEA Brings i OS Performance Tool to North America
August 4, 2009 Alex Woodie
Software Engineering of America (SEA) recently announced the availability of the GiAPA i OS performance tool in the United States and Canada. Developed in Denmark by iPerformance Trading, the application is designed to give System i administrators a quick way to identify if batch or interactive applications are running well, and help to identify the source of the problem if they are running slowly.
As part of the deal, SEA becomes exclusive marketer and distributor of GiAPA in North America. This includes all sales, marketing, installation, implementation, and technical support, according to Jatin Thakker, vice president of sales for SEA, which is based near New York City.
SEA and iPerformance make some tall claims regarding GiAPA. SEA says it is able to “instantly identify” performance problems in online and batch applications. iPerformance says GiAPA is “the first and only software product created with the sole purpose of locating and diagnosing performance inefficiencies in jobs running under i5/OS or OS/400.”
Down through the ages, there have been many other utilities designed to improve the performance of i OS, i5/OS, and OS/400 applications. They often take different approaches–some deemed ethical by IBM, some, like Fast/400, not.
So what makes GiAPA different? On first glance, it appears to be the simplicity of the approach, and the lightweight nature of the i OS component. According to the vendors, GiAPA collection routines utilize a scant 0.1 percent of CPU resources. This, while collecting enough performance data every 15 seconds to paint an accurate picture of the internal goings-on.
iPerformance says that, whenever a job exceeds its limits for CPU consumption or disk I/O, GiAPA automatically records the job’s call stack and file usage data. Every few hours or few days, the software analyzes performance trends via a batch job. The user can then sift through the results using various reports, displays, and charts.
The vendors say expert-level knowledge of performance optimization is not required to use the product. iPerformance has done its best to utilize filters and graphics to allow users with a basic understanding of programming principles to identify jobs and routines that are out of whack. Users can also easily output the performance data into Excel for more analysis.
For instance, a bar graph of disk usage for a given month might appear relatively benign at first glance, but sorting through the data and viewing it using different types of charts may help to identify a real performance problem (see the GiAPA Web site for a good example). More advanced understanding of programming and how the product works will most likely be required for diagnosing difficult and hard to find problems.
GiAPA has been sold throughout Europe, with most of the references coming out of Germany. The creator of GiAPA, iPerformance CEO Kaare Plesner, has inked several distribution deals for the product in Europe, Australia, South America, and now North America.
GiAPA has uses outside of performance tuning, according to Plesner. “It turns out that since so much information is collected, using less than .1 percent CPU, most of our customers let the product stay active, using it for the everyday follow-up on how resources are being used, when, by whom, etc.,” Plesner says in a press release.
Both SEA and iPerformance feel that GiAPA has “great potential” for North America, Thakker says via e-mail. “In a climate of ‘doing more with less’ and a renewed focus of good stewardship of IT resources, the typical approach of throwing more hardware into solving performance problems is no longer the first choice,” he says. “Even in cases where hardware is an option, this is not always a solution to issues caused by inefficient or unneeded application processing. Offering a tool that automatically shows how small changes in programs can render major improvements is a great fit for the North American market.”