Ops Dashboard Gives Centralized View Into IBM i Performance
November 9, 2015 Alex Woodie
If your company is like most IBM i shops, the system is a critical part of your daily business. Whether you are packing consumer goods, reconciling bank statements, or delivering medical care, chances are the IBM i server plays a central role. But all too often, getting a single view into the state of the machine is difficult to achieve. That is what drove HelpSystems to release a consolidated operations dashboard with performance drill-down capabilities.
The new operations dashboard that HelpSystems has unveiled allows users to monitor the state of their IBM i servers from the comfort of a mobile device or a Web browser. It lets administrators view a variety of important server metrics–such as CPU and ASP usage, job status, database faults, system message flow, and others–in a modern and intuitive manner.
The new dashboard combines information generated from two of Help’s core products: the Robot SCHEDULE job scheduler, and Robot NETWORK, which monitors IBM i server performance and acts as the “glue” connecting all of the other Robot products.
Previously, the company delivered separate Web and mobile dashboards for these two products. But it decided that combining their functions would deliver a dashboard that was more than the sum of its parts. It’s all about enabling that “single pane of glass,” says HelpSystems Software Development Manager Jody Dahl.
“Ensuring that the products look and act in a similar way is an important step in building the HelpSystems Web and mobile platform into a single pane of glass,” Dahl says. “We’re also adding value for existing customers with a new feature for drilling down into performance details directly from the Web interface.”
That new drill-down capability allows administrators to explore possible causes of performance problems they’re seeing, even when they’re not sitting at their regular desk. For example, if CPU use suddenly skyrockets, they can quickly view what jobs caused it with a simple touch of the mobile device’s screen or a click on the Web browser.
HelpSystems previously shipped modern mobile interfaces for Robot NETWORK and Robot SCHEDULE, but administrators and operators may have needed to reference both to get answers to their questions (or just reverted to the full PC-based interfaces that HelpSystems has delivered with the products for a long time). By giving customers the option of using a single consolidated dashboard that combines information from both products, HelpSystems is simplifying life for its customers.
The company plans to roll out mobile and Web interfaces for additional products based on the same development framework it used for the consolidated Robot NETWORK dashboard that it just launched. “The framework that we are using to provide a web user interface for Robot NETWORK and Robot SCHEDULE is the same framework that we will use to tie multiple HelpSystems products together in the future, including our security, business intelligence, and other systems management products,” the company says in a written response to IT Jungle‘s questions.
This Web interface framework will exist as a separate entity with its own branding. “What you can do with it will depend on which product you are using it with,” the company says. “If you own Robot NETWORK, you will use this Web interface to view performance and other Robot products stats. If you own Robot SCHEDULE, you will use the Web interface to manage your jobs. The list goes on as we tie additional products into this interface in the future.”