Relieving The Anxiety About IBM i Performance
September 23, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Starting a business is an exciting thing, and one of the most fundamental activities any of us can engage in as members of a capitalist economy. My adage has always been: Those who can work, must; those who can employ, must as well. I have faced my share of those moments, starting a business, with excitement and trepidation and hope. And now, our good friend and colleague, Doug Mewmaw, has hung out his shingle, which says Peak System Performance on it.
Mewmaw, as you well know from reading The Four Hundred, is an expert on performance analysis and management on AS/400 and Power Systems iron, and he has spent more than three decades at very large organizations running OS/400, i5/OS, and IBM i applications helping to make them sit up and bark as they should, or creating tools, such as Performance Navigator, created by Midrange Performance Group and now a part of the HelpSystems collective. With that much time in the field, doing detailed performance analysis and tuning at over 200 IBM midrange shops, Mewmaw wants to make performance less of a source of anxiety for IBM i customers. And Peak Systems Performance, the new company he has set up, is all about providing services so that IBM i shops don’t have to try to figure out the art of performance management all on their own.
“I started the company because I saw such a void out there, and I saw the same pattern over and over again working for MPG for 16 years,” Mewmaw tells The Four Hundred. “I would teach classes or give sessions at COMMON, and three or four months later people would contact me and people who took classes or saw sessions were not really understanding performance. People retire, sometimes they die, and so the skills are sometimes lost, and CIOs wanted my help, but they could not justify a full-time hire. With Peak Systems Performance, I see the opportunity to be an extension of their IT staff – I don’t want to be a consultant, I want to be an extension of the team – and just help people with performance.”
If you know what you are doing, it doesn’t take long to root around in a system to figure out the issues that sometimes stump the IT staff at IBM i shops, and the idea is to share this knowledge, which is clearly limited in nature, by providing a service rather than just selling tools or doing consulting engagements. Mewmaw needs performance tools such as Performance Navigator to do his job, but he will work with whatever customers have on site to help them wring more oomph out of their hardware and get their applications humming.
A case in point. Mewmaw was recently doing some performance management training at a very large IBM i shop at a retailer based outside of Chicago, which has over 25 logical partitions of IBM i running on big Power Systems iron. Just in passing, after the training was over, the IT managers asked Mewmaw to take a look at the system, which was acting weird since the middle of July and they could not figure out why. They brought in Mewmaw to help train themselves to do a better job of performance management, and the reality was that they did not have the time to learn this new skill because they had too much work already stacked up on the desk. Bad performance is a kind of lost capital, and they knew it, but they could not do anything about it.
Peak Systems Performance wants to change that by essentially renting out the brainpower and skill that Mewmaw and a set of colleagues he has put together as the company grows do performance analysis and management for them. The Continuous Monitoring Service that Peak System Performance is offering is available for IBM i, AIX, and Linux logical partitions and it offers the choice of daily or monthly monitoring of performance, depending on the level customers want. The service includes a health check on all partitions, job analysis on all partitions, proactive application development analysis – how what the programmers change will affect performance – problem determination, and upgrade analysis for when Power Systems hardware or IBM i Technology Refreshes or whole releases are added to a system. Customers get a weekly or monthly report card on system performance.
Mewmaw is still using early adopter customers to try to figure out his pricing, which is reasonable enough, and obviously, the daily service is more expensive than the monthly one. Pricing scales with the number of LPARs under monitoring. Billing can be cut up into monthly or quarterly chunks to spread the cost of the Continuous Monitoring Service out over the course of a year.
To learn more, contact Peak System Performance at www.mypeaksys.com. And don’t think this is only for IBM i shops for big iron, either. Mewmaw wants to serve mom and pop IBM i shops, too. That’s one of the reasons why he hung out his shingle, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for that.