MPG Delivers Deeper IBM i Performance Analysis in PerfNav 15
March 15, 2011 Alex Woodie
Ever wonder exactly how a programming or operating system change has impacted the performance of specific IBM i jobs? Or whether adding new disk arms has really made a significant impact on wait times? These are some of the questions that Midrange Performance Group is now enabling its customers to answer with the new Power Navigator analytical tools, which became available this month in Performance Navigator version 15.
PerfNav is a Windows-based performance management and capacity planning tool designed to help larger IBM i shops and IBM i resellers track the performance of their servers over time, and more accurately predict the timing, scope, and impact of hardware upgrades. The software, which was first introduced in 1998 and uses IBM‘s PM/400 data collection facility, also assists in tracking down the source of bottlenecks and other performance problems that are unique to this midrange platform.
Two weeks ago, the Boulder, Colorado-based company unveiled PerfNav version 15. By far, the biggest new feature in this release is Power Navigator, which is a new drop-down menu on the graphical PerfNav console that sits right next to the What If Modeling menu. While the What If Modeling functions excels at helping users predict what kinds of performance impact will result from changes to hardware, the new Power Analytics functions give users new tools for assessing the changes they have already made to their systems.
MPG says there are more than a dozen new analytic functions inside Power Analytics that assess specific parts of system performance, i.e. disk, memory, solid state drives (SSDs), IFS, and ODBC.
But the most useful new feature may be the Before and After comparison function, which allows users to compare two sets of core performance management-related data. MPG measures CPU percentage and CPU response time; synchronous, asynchronous, and logical I/O; and faulting rate. Users can choose any time periods to compare, including specific days, or multiple weeks or months. This gives users the capability to compare month’s end processing for two months. Reports are output as HTML, making it easy to share.
There are many potential uses for the Before and After comparison function. For example, the function can be used to measure System i disk arm utilization before and after adding new arms. Or the user can measure the impact on response time from adding new disk arms. Operating system or application upgrades are other examples of changes that can be measured. In fact, the new functions give users the capability to measure the impact that any change has had on selected hardware and software aspects of a System i implementation.
The new Library Change Analysis and Library / Object Change Analysis functions will also help users to track down the source of certain types of performance problems that relate to the alarming growth of disk utilization. For example, the software can help users identify libraries that are growing at a disproportionate rate, which could be traced back to programming or application changes.
The new Power Analytics feature also brings an array of analytical functions to help users clean up the reports generated by Power Analytics and whittle out the statistical outliers. These functions include averaging tools, moving maximums and minimums, histograms, probability distributions, and others.
MPG also unveiled Power Navigator version 5, its performance monitoring tool for AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, and Linux environments. MPG made enhancements in the areas of installation, graphing, and data collection, and also improved the hardware-tracking and drill-down functions.
Both PerfNav 15 and Power Navigator 5 will install on the Windows 7 OS, including 32bit and 64 bit versions. For more information, see www.mpginc.com.