What is z/IRIS?

z/IRIS® enables IBM Z performance data to integrate with enterprise-wide continuous monitoring and observability solutions.

z/IRIS streams z/OS System Management Facility (SMF) metrics into a near real-time modern and scalable data feed framework. Its SMF data feeds are compatible with and can be integrated into widespread application performance monitoring (APM), DevOps, and big data tools. 

z/IRIS provides the following benefits for integrating z/OS performance data into your enterprise monitoring apps:

  • Transforms SMF data into functional traces and metrics that can be ingested by APM, DevOps, big data, and other enterprise monitoring and observability solutions
  • Enables mainframe end-to-end performance monitoring and observability
  • Provides proactive monitoring to detect mainframe health and application issues before they affect your business
  • Enhances your DevOps practices and toolchain by implementing a scalable and elastic data feed framework for streaming mainframe performance data

z/IRIS mainframe inclusivity allows DevOps personnel to detect and analyze critical z/OS performance issues without involving a mainframe subject matter expert.

Common use cases for z/IRIS

Some of the common use cases where z/IRIS-generated traces and metrics can be used to monitor, analyze, and perform root cause analysis for application and performance issues include:

Db2 for z/OS performance issues during JDBC access: Enterprise monitoring interfaces can issue alerts when z/OS applications are impacted by Db2 database deadlocks, detecting which applications are blocking database resources.

Mainframe batch jobs observability: With z/IRIS work traces, DevO

ps can monitor mainframe batch job activity using their in-house APM software.  Users can be alerted when jobs or job steps report errors. DevOps can also baseline z/OS metrics and alert users when anomalies occur. 

Persistent storage and visualization:  z/IRIS stores normalized SMF data

 in a time-series database for usability and high-speed data retrieval and visualization objectives. The product comes with a preconfigured InfluxDB database with a ready-to-use loading process. 


Features of z/IRIS

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  • Integration with leading APM and DevOps applications

    z/IRIS can instrument, collect, capture and distribute z/OS traces and metrics for all leading APM tools, including:

    • AppDynamics
    • Datadog
    • Dynatrace
    • IBM (Instana)
    • Jaeger
    • New Relic
    • Splunk
    • Sumo Logic

    z/IRIS also supports the OpenTelemetry standard open-source framework. It can be used to integrate mainframe performance data with any observability and monitoring package that supports these new data exporting standards. 

  • Modern Architecture

    z/IRIS’s modern architecture uses client, server, and front-end instrumentation layers to integrate the collected metrics.

    1. Client: z/OS clients stream or forward System Management Facility (SMF) performance data to z/IRIS Servers. The client can run on a zIIP processor, so the extra workload does not affect your cost structure.
    2. Server:  z/IRIS servers format, normalize, and store mainframe performance and activity data into an existing APM solution using custom traces. The Server layer operates on a Linux based operating environment (aka IronTap) and uses Apache Kafka, providing high scalability and optimal performance of SMF record streaming and storage.
    3. Front-end instrumentation: Data collected and formatted into metrics and traces by the previous two layers is integrated into existing APM or analytical tools for visualization, correlation and problem analysis. SMF data can also be stored in an InfluxDB database for integration with other query and graphical tools.

    z/IRIS - Modern Architecture

  • Front-end instrumentation

    Front-end software and services can instrument z/IRIS-generated metrics and traces, enabling end-to-end monitoring and root cause analysis for z/OS applications.

    z/IRIS - Front-end instrumentation

  • Near Real-Time (NRT) Processing

    Using a scalable, elastic and open transport architecture, NRT processing delivers z/OS performance data where and when you need it.

  • zIIP eligible IBM Z processing

    z/OS applications can run on zIIP processors, freeing up z/OS processors to service business application workloads and reducing the cost of running z/IRIS clients on your mainframe. 

  • Accessing System Management Facility (SMF) performance data outside the mainframe

    To increase the business value of your SMF data, the Apache Kafka category/feed used by z/IRIS is open to subscription by 3rd party Apache Kafka consumer tools. This reduces complexity and resources required to process z/OS performance data outside the mainframe. Users can implement their own Apache Kafka consumer that accesses SMF data for in-house processing. Mainframe customers can access their SMF data on-the-fly and integrate SMF data into most modern tools, applications and in-house processes.