Shield Launches Message Monitoring Offering for IBM i
August 11, 2021 Alex Woodie
IBM i professionals should stay on top of important messages generated by their server. But sometimes can be difficult for a user to sign-in on a console. With Enterprise Monitoring Solution for IBM i, or EM4i, Shield Advanced Solutions is giving operators and administrators the capability to view messages and log files remotely via email, text, or push notifications, and to respond to them, too.
EM4i monitors IBM i message queues and job logs on behalf of the user. When a message hits the log, EM4i automatically forwards it to the user as email, text, or via Pushover Notification, a mobile app that keeps Android and iOS users in the loop. Users can also use exit programs to route the message to alternative destinations.
“Being able to monitor a message queue for messages and respond to them is provided as part of the operating system,” states Shield Advanced Solutions Director Chris Hird. “EM4i takes this to the next level by allowing a remote employee to receive notifications about messages, and if necessary, send a response to the message.”
If the message requires a response, EM4i supports the capability to send pre-set responses. This can be handy in some situations, such as when a job is submitting informational messages that could point to bigger problems down the road, such as items not being saved or communications not working, Shield says.
EM4i is delivered as a service. The offering is composed of a licensed program that installs on the IBM i that monitors the message queues. The messages are sent to a remote Web server, managed by Shield, that sends the notification out using the mechanism selected by the user. In the event there is a message that requires a response from the user, then the Web server handles the communication back to the IBM i program monitoring the message queue.
Shield says the program has been developed using the latest IBM i technology, “to provide the lowest possible overhead on the system while ensuring immediate reaction to any messages received. . . .” To maintain security, EM4i supports encrypted communication between the IBM i program and the Web server that it manages.
EM4i was originally developed as a one-off project for a high availability (HA) customer, but Shield quickly realized its applicability to the broader market, Hird says.
“We were approached by a customer to provide a simple and effective solution,” Hird tells IT Jungle via email. “We feel it adds another dimension to HA in that, if the system is held for a message response, HA is exposed. We specifically wanted external notification without exposing the IBM i to the Internet, which is why we designed it as we did.”
Shield currently supports the three messaging methods: email, text, and Pushover notifications. But the company hints that there will be more destinations supported (Slack, anyone?)
EM4i is the fourth offering from Shield, which is based near Toronto, Ontario. It also sells an HA product called HA4i, a disaster recovery product called DR4i, and a job tracking product called JT4i.
EM4i supports IBM i version 7.1 and higher. Subscriptions cost around $50 per month. For more information, see www.shieldadvanced.com.