Robot/NETWORK Now Displays Performance Data
July 24, 2012 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops that run the latest release Robot/NETWORK software from Help/Systems got a nice little surprise this month: the general availability of the new Performance Center, which displays all sorts of IBM i server- and Help/Systems product-related performance statistics, in graphical and textual formats. The new capability was added to Robot/NETWORK version 11, which shipped just over a month ago.
It’s arguably more important to keep track of the performance of one’s IBM i server than a typical open systems server. For one thing, companies that run IBM i typically keep their most critical applications and sensitive data on that platform, so any performance hitches or downtime will have a big business impact. Secondly, customers typically run their IBM i servers at higher utilization rates than they dare on Windows or Linux, due to the platform’s noteworthy stability (and its cost, although that has, thankfully, come down some in recent years).
There are a handful of performance monitoring and alerting tools available for the IBM i server, and with this month’s launch of the Performance Center in Robot/NETWORK version 11, Help/Systems has added one more.
The Performance Center presents customers with a range of relevant performance data, such as CPU usage, disk usage, auxiliary storage pool (ASP) usage, database faults, and response time. This data is collected from multiple IBM i servers and partitions, and displayed in various charts and graphs. In addition to reporting, the software allows users to set thresholds on each performance category. If the threshold is exceeded, the software will alert the administrator.
A summary tab provides a high-level overview of system statuses, and provides drill-down capability to see if any thresholds have been exceeded, Help/Systems says. The software is pertinent for real-time and historical reporting of performance data.
The thresholds and views are customizable. For example, a chart on CPU usage can be changed to display different periods of time, which could be useful for spotting computing trends. Users can display metrics for data collected per day, week, month, year, all, or create a custom range.
In addition to collecting and displaying data about IBM i server usage, the software also allows users to track usage statistics from other Help/Systems products. For example, it can be used to show the number of backups being performed by Robot/SAVE, or the number of jobs controlled by Robot/SCHEDULE. Data is also collected and displayed regarding Robot/CONSOLE messages and statuses, Robot/REPORTS, and even other Robot/NETWORK components.
Robot/NETWORK is the “digital glue” that unites various Help/Systems products running on one or multiple IBM i severs. From one instance of Robot/NETWORK, administrators can send out instructions to–and receive feedback from–multiple IBM i servers, and the following Help/Systems products: Robot/SCHEDULE; Robot/SAVE for backups and recoveries; the Robot/CONSOLE job log monitor; the Robot/TRAPPER monitoring software; the Robot/REPORTS report bursting and distribution module; and the Robot/MONITOR performance monitoring and reporting solution (which is a component of Robot/AUTOTUNE). The software can also accept SNMP traps sent by systems management tools from “the big four” (IBM, BMC, CA, and HP), making Robot/NETWORK useful for IBM i-centric monitoring of heterogeneous enterprise IT operations.