Budget Relief For IBM i Monitoring Software
March 14, 2018 Dan Burger
Keeping it simple isn’t always so simple. But creating efficiency at a low cost without adding layers of complexity and extra features (often unused) is a product attribute that gets a lot of attention. A good example of this is Kisco Information Systems’ event monitoring software: iEventMonitor.
Kisco just released Release 3 of iEventMonitor, a tool that monitors prominent IBM i job and message queues plus storage and CPU. It sends out alerts when things go astray. Because of its simplicity the price of iEventMonitor R3 is just $495 for a single LPAR or $795 for an unlimited number of LPARs that share the same serial number.
Kisco does not charge a maintenance fee for first year of ownership. An annual fee of 15 percent of the purchase price is applied after the first year.
Cost is a differentiator for many companies. Budgets aren’t determined by the spin of a roulette wheel. Not even in Las Vegas. Sticker shock is not unknown in this business. Although sometimes there’s a level of distrust that comes with an inexpensive product, if you do your homework, you get what you want at a price you can live with.
Rich Loeber, CEO of Kisco Information Systems, explains the price point for iEventMonitor was determined by previous development work.
“In developing this product, we took a lot of off-the-shelf code we had in other products, so there wasn’t a lot of new code that we needed to put together except for the specific monitoring functions. We already had the email and message queue monitoring pieces. We just had to learn some new APIs,” he says.
The enhancements that come with iEventMonitor R3 begin with the core features. From the beginning, iEventMonitor was designed to watch IBM i message queues. This includes the critical QSYSOPR system operator message queue and the security event message queue QSYSMSG. Starting with R3, iEventMonitor no longer places an object lock on the message queue. This allows a system operator to have full access to the queue for management purposes.
Previously, the product used a CL receive-message command that required a lock on the message queue. That led to conundrums such as the inability to delete unnecessary messages and unwanted messages popping up automatically.
“We rewrote the interface to the message queue monitor using APIs that don’t put a lock on the queue,” Loeber says. “That was a big thing for all our customers and we’ve heard their appreciation.”
Monitoring for backed up job queues, subsystem utilization excesses and alerting on system security audit exceptions has always been part of the iEventMonitor package. But for easier monitoring, Kisco added automatic ending and restarting. A single command controls all monitor functions. Each time a monitor or watch task is started, it is logged along with its selection parameters. To suspend the tasks, there is a single end command, which can then be followed by another start command to resume the tasks. One example of how this would be convenient is the restart functions following and IPL.
Most Kisco customers use iEventMonitor primarily for message queue monitoring. In those cases, a restart of the monitoring after an IPL is easy. But. Loeber points out, some customers have complex monitors that watch for specific messages. “They might have 20 functions running. To restart all of them after an IPO was a pain, so we automated that process,” he says.
iEventMonitor users always the capability to send alerts as email messages, text messages or IBM i break messages. Multiple recipients could be specified, but they were limited. That limit was extended in R3.
Also added to the enhancement list for iEventMonitor R3 is a Job Watch feature that will issue an alert whenever a specific job starts or ends. Job Watch stays active to continue reporting on the same job if it starts again. A CPU utilization option was also added. It has the capability to monitor for a total system CPU utilization threshold and issue an alert when it is exceeded.
The existing Watch Task function was enhanced with an exit program option. Using this feature, customers can call for their own program to be run when a watch task has been satisfied.
Kisco Information Systems offers a free 30-day evaluation of the product that can be downloaded with complete software documentation from www.kisco.com/iem.
The software is compatible with systems using IBM i 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3.