There are many reasons to use IBM i monitoring software such as SEA’s absMessage product to monitor the performance and health of your IBM i systems and alert on-call personnel when problems occur. Message and resource monitoring software eliminates the need to have dedicated personnel watch your systems 24×7 looking for problems that can cause system failures, hold up orders, and cause performance problems on your systems.
IBM i message and resource monitoring software is great, but it can take several months to properly configure IBM i monitors to look for all the potential issues that can occur on your systems. It’s also important to filter out false positives alerts (alerts that really aren’t problems), which can lead to your on-call personnel ignoring other alerts in the future.
To help, here are the seven most valuable IBM i system resources and programming issues that should be set up in an IBM i resource and monitoring system, ranked by how critical they are to system health. When creating a new monitoring environment for IBM i partitions, we recommend setting up system monitors in this order to make sure the most critical issues are addressed first as you build your monitoring system.
The Big Seven
#1 Hardware issues
The most critical issues to monitor for are hardware issues, which affects system performance and impacts users. Hardware is8sues such as the failure of a controller card or a backplane requires the system to incur downtime to repair, impacting the business. Disk drive crashes or tape drive failures put the business at risk of losing its most critical asset, its data. Well defined hardware monitors can help ensure that your system is available and your data is protected.
#2 Services or Subsystems that are inactive
Ensuring that critical subsystems are running and are not in a MSGW or HLD status is something that System Administrators often do manually. A Subsystem that is not running can hold up orders, delay shipping and upset customers. Critical services that are not running properly can also cause business delays and impact end users. Configuring monitors to watch the most critical subsystems and services will help ensure orders are being fulfilled and can save your administrators a lot of time.
#3 Program behavior problems
It’s important for on-call personnel to be alerted if there are jobs that are taking too long to run or if jobs are running too quickly, both of which can indicate a problem. Jobs that are consuming too much CPU can have a negative impact on the system’s performance. Many companies have scheduled batch jobs which need to run at certain times of the day or night. If one job doesn’t start or finish on time, it can affect the next job that needs to run. If your nightly backup doesn’t finish on time it can affect the users when they come in to start their day. Having monitors that can alert you if a job is running at the wrong time or is taking too long to finish can help prevent major headaches later.
#4 Program error messages
Program errors can cause jobs to go into an inquiry status, requiring a response before the job can continue. Other times, critical jobs can be cancelled due to an error. Without real time monitoring these errors can go unnoticed for an extended period of time, delaying critical processing and impacting end users.
#5 System Performance
If the IBM i is not performing at its peak than the users will be impacted and critical processing will take longer than necessary. Monitoring disk and CPU usage is important to the overall performance of the system. When CPU usage is high, it affects everything running in the IBM i. High disk usage can put the business at risk, too. Being alerted to performance issues can help IT to resolve performance bottlenecks or to know when they should consider a hardware upgrade.
#6 User Profiles
Security, regulations and audit requirements are here to stay. Many companies have to produce reports for their auditors that show when user profiles were disabled or when the QSECOFR password was changed. Being alerted when a user profile is disabled can reduce the risk of having an unauthorized user access your system and can help IT to be more productive in getting users back on line. Monitoring the use of these profiles in real time can help ensure that your system is compliant and not at risk.
#7 Device Issues
If printers or other critical devices are not working properly, it can cause major delays for the business. A tape drive that is offline or a controller that isn’t started can also cause major headaches. Being notified in real time of critical issues related to key devices can help ensure that business runs as expected.
Make sure you look at these critical areas when configuring an IBM i message and resource monitoring package, such as absMessage. This list is also valuable when reviewing existing message monitors to make sure that you are covering all the right bases when monitoring your systems. Feel free to contact us at SEA software for more information on installing and configuring IBM i message and resource monitoring software.