CCSS Keeps an Eye on State of Backups with New BRMS Monitors
September 22, 2009 Alex Woodie
If your company runs its business applications on an IBM Power System i server, chances are good that it also uses the Backup, Recovery, Media Services (BRMS) utility that comes with the IBM i OS operating system. Now, with the latest release of the QSystem Monitor systems management tool from i OS software vendor CCSS, your administrators can keep a closer watch on BRMS activities, and get notifications more quickly when something is about to go horribly wrong.
QSystem Monitor (QSM) helps System i administrators keep better track of their servers by automating the collection of error messages and performance metrics from hundreds of sources. The software does the brute work of filtering through the logs and queues, and then alerting administrators–via color-coded graphs on the Windows console, or even sounds and flashing lights–of the most critical and important conditions that need their immediate attention.
Now, CCSS has turned its attention to BRMS, the popular utility relied upon thousands of times a day to keep track of critical backup tapes. QSM previously had some visibility into BRMS. But with last week’s launch of QSM version 12.5.3, the software gains two new commands that expand the product’s BRMS monitoring capabilities considerably.
“BRMS users are by definition a group with a firm appreciation for the importance of tracking and managing their data and the media resources they use to do that,” says Paul Ratchford, product manager for CCSS. “These new commands extend the benefits of our own pro-active approach to system management into the BRMS domain.”
The first new command, MONCHKBML, allows users to monitor the total number of certain types of messages currently present in their BRMS log, and gives them a fast way to identify certain critical messages that could have devastating consequences, including a missed save.
QSM now will send out an alert when certain error messages are detected on the BRMS queue, including “cartridge not found,” “volume ID does not match cartridge ID,” and “volume is write protected.” CCSS gives the user several ways to configure how often QSM should check the BRMS log for these types of messages.
The second new command, MONCHKBMS, allows users to monitor the total number of tapes in a specified status, which can be useful to ensure there are enough tapes on hand to complete a given save activity. The command allows QSM to keep track of tapes in several ways, including by location, by container, by media class, by system, or by type of value. When the type of value is being looked at, the software returns the total number of volumes, or just the number of active or expired volumes.
Like other QSM monitors, filters and threshold levels can be set for the tape monitor, allowing users to configure the software for their particular environments. The results of the monitors are displayed graphically, as all QSM monitors are.
Ratchford says the new commands will eliminate the need for administrators to sit and watch while backups are completed. “If something’s not in place or messages are coming through to let them know something’s awry, there’s no chance they’ll miss that,” he says. “It’s a case of increasing visibility for greater efficiency and giving managers sufficient time to respond to issues before they impact important processes.”