Halcyon Completes Upgrade Cycle with Operations Center 3.0
May 18, 2010 Alex Woodie
Halcyon Software used the recent COMMON conference in Orlando, Florida, as the setting for the launch of Operations Center version 3, a new release of its most feature-rich suite of i/OS systems management tools. Version 3 introduces new features in the areas of LPAR monitoring, system performance, and spool file management. Meanwhile, a new release of Halcyon’s management software for Unix, Linux, and Windows servers brings more Linux management capabilities.
Halcyon sells two main product lines: one for “open systems” platforms like Windows, Unix, and Linux called Network Server Suite, and one for the i/OS server.
Its i/OS product line consists of four suites of products. The entry-level suite, called Message Management, provides basic monitoring functionality for System i queues. One step above that is Systems Operations, which adds features like performance monitoring and audit journal monitoring. Advanced Operation adds another layer of functionality in the areas of performance and disk space management, while Operations Center adds an advanced cross-platform job scheduler to the mix.
The U.K. software vendor has been updating its i/OS and open systems management tools for the past 18 months, and the launch of Operations Center version 3 completes the transformation.
Donnie MacColl, Halcyon’s technical services director, says the vendor took advantage of the latest IBM tools and technologies to deliver customer-requested enhancements with the new release. “We pushed the boundaries of programming techniques to get the best out of the IBM development tools,” he said in a press release.
“In response to [customer] feedback, we made the software as intuitive as possible, introduced more templates to ensure it can be swiftly deployed, and made administration much easier, especially with the new GUIs,” he continues. “Administrators can still navigate conventional and familiar menu options for managing their IBM i, but with Halcyon’s new framework, dashboards and interfaces the software has a broader appeal.”
The new release brings specific enhancements to each of the components that make up the suite. One new module added to the suite is called Performance Analyzer. This Windows-based module provides administrators with a graphical view of a variety of performance metrics, including CPU, jobs, ASP usage, and response times of one or more logical partitions (LPARs) running on the System i server.
Halcyon is especially keen on the new “auto scaling” mode in Performance Analyzer that will automatically increase or decrease the size of the graphs to compensate for big swings in performance metrics, which makes it easier for administrators to understand what’s going on with their systems. Administrators can also drill down into graphs to get more information about underlying conditions.
The vendor is also touting the capability to consolidate job scheduling activities across Unix, Windows, Linux, and i/OS servers onto the Advanced Job Scheduler component of Operations Center. Any open-system server that supports a remote executing daemon can be supported on the Halcyon scheduler, the company says. Jobs can be scheduled to run sequentially or concurrently within a group. Batch jobs can also be linked across multiple platforms by linking them with dependencies.
System i shops concerned about disk consumption gain new reports with Operations Center version 3. With this release, disk information from multiple System i servers or LPARs can now be output into multiple report formats, including Excel and CSV formats, or moved straight to the IFS.
Administrators also get more granular views of their i/OS files with version 3. Halcyon gives admins a way to view the percentage of deleted records in a given file, and then automatically reorganizes them if need be. The vendor also tried to make it easier to see which files have not been saved recently, and gave admins more tools for viewing the historical growth of objects.
On the spool file front, Operations Center version 3 brings the capability to e-mail spool files in Excel, CSV, or PDF formats. Users also get new scripting templates to automate spool file activities. Also, spool files that are longer than one million pages can now be handled by the software.
Administrators gain several new system reports with version 3, including a new service level agreement (SLA) reporting tool and a new uptime tool, both of which will come in handy for data center bureaus that use Halycon’s software to manage client environments. The Message Management module of Operations Suite was also enhanced.
The vendor, which operates in the U.S. from its office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also unveiled Network Server Suite version 7.1. This release includes a new Linux Server Manager component that is composed of pre-defined monitoring and alerting templates for Linux environments.
The new component should simplify the management of Linux servers, particularly within multi-system shops that also run System i and Windows servers, MacColl says. “You don’t even need to be a Linux expert to manage the platform,” he says.