Friday, December 30, 2011

OMEGAMON XE for CICS resource usage

Last week I mentioned some performance/resource related APARs for OMEGAMON.  While I'm on the topic I thought I'd mention a technote that came out a few weeks back for OMEGAMON XE For CICS. 

In this technote if you see higher than expected CPU usage in the OMEGAMON CICS XE agent task,  if you have OMEGAMON z/OS,  try using the OMEGAMON z/OS Inspect feature  and see if the module in question using the CPU is KCPWSR0A.  If it is then check out the workaround documented in this technote:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Upcoming webcast on Tivoli network management and System Automation

In January Kirk Bean, IBM Tivoli Product Manager, will be delivering a webcast on "Improving System Availability with Tivoli Network Management and System Automation".  

In the webcast, Kirk will be discussing such topics as how to speed up problem determination and enhance usability with new network/system/job log integration (i.e. CANZLOG - something I've posted on before), how to reduce diagnostic time and mean time to repair for network problems with enhanced IP packet trace analysis, and how to improve disaster recovery and resource utilization with new high-availability support for GDPS® Active/Active.  GDPS Active/Active, in particular, sounds like a very interesting topic for many customers.

The event will be January 12th at  11 AM Eastern Time.  It sounds like an informative event covering both network management and automation.  The price is right, it's free to attend the webcast. 

Here's a link to sign up:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

AOTC is now part of Pulse

For those with a z/OS focus who also want to get more up to speed with Tivoli, it's good news that AOTC is now part of the Tivoli Pulse conference.  AOTC, Automated Operations Technical Conference, has been an annual event that covers Tivoli with a focus on operational solutions, such as Systems Automation and Tivoli Workload Scheduling.  For those of you not familiar with Pulse, Pulse is the IBM's annual event with a focus on Tivoli solutions.

To be honest, in prior years Pulse has not had a lot of z/OS specific content.  Pulse has been more focused on overall Tivoli concepts, and not so much on z/OS.  With the addition of AOTC content to Pulse as a parallel track, the overall Pulse event has much more robust z/OS coverage.  If you you are interested in both z/OS and Tivoli overall, I suggest that Pulse becomes more of an option.

Pulse is in Las Vegas March 4-7, 2012.  If you are interested in Pulse, here is a link:

For more information on AOTC, here's a link:

Friday, December 16, 2011

OMEGAMON performance related fixes

There are some performance related fixes for OMEGAMON XE for z/OS that you may want to be aware of.

A couple of these relate to OMEGAMON monitoring storage and CSA utilization, and have potential impact in both the 3270 and Tivoli Portal interfaces.  APAR OA37619 addresses cost of data collection and alerting for CUA, Classic and situations in the TEP interface.

APAR OA37647 has impact in the Classic and CUA interface.

APAR  OA36726 addresses high CPU usage in the TEMS address space related to CSA analysis and monitoring.

Another interesting APAR is OA38126.  This APAR relates to high CPU usage in the TEMS address space related to the cost of DASD collection specific to running situation alerts for DASD.  As is often the case, the more data you need to collect, the more the potential overhead.  DASD collection is always a potential issue because many shops will have multiple thousands of UCBs that need to be monitored.  This particular APAR addresses that the DASD Devices workspace will collect information from both RMF and cache data sources.  If a situation alert against this table of data does not require cache information and is able to do what is needed using just RMF data, then the cache data will not be collected.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Upcoming webcast on application high availability

Many applications may have components that execute on different hardware and software platforms. This makes it difficult to control and automate each component to improve availability, reduce overall solution risk and decrease operations workload. Would you like to manage both distributed and mainframe environments as one? 

If you are interested in managing application availability in a heterogeneous environment, you may be interested in this upcoming webcast, "Application High Availability in a Heterogeneous Environment".

The event is this Thursday, December 15th at 11 AM Eastern time.  The price is right, the webcast is free.  In you are interested, here is the URL to sign up:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

FYI. I fixed the link on the iPad article

Oops.  I had a bad link for the iPad article.  I went ahead and fixed it.

Here it is again:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mainframe on an iPad

I'd posted a while back about a way to run the Tivoli Enterprise Portal on an iPad.  Here's an article about various alternatives for getting mainframe data on an iPad.  It's an interesting read, and goes through various alternatives from running TN3270 emulation to other options.

Here's a link to the article:

Monday, December 5, 2011

IT's most wanted: Mainframe programmers

Thanks to David Gaertner for pointing me towards this very interesting Infoworld article.

The article points out what many of us already knew:  the mainframe is very much alive and well.   Or as Mark Twain said many years ago, it's death has been "greatly exaggerated".  The core statistic cited in the article:  80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies still use the mainframe.  And let's not forget government at just about all levels, federal, state, and local, still are heavily invested in mainframe technology. 

Why?  The article says it clearly enough.  "The mainframe's staying power in the age of tiny computers is all about its performance for high-volume transactions and its strengths in security and virtualization".   What's the ramification of this?  In the next few years there is the potential for a mainframe skills shortage.  "A Compuware survey of 520 CIOs in large enterprises found that 71 percent are concerned that this looming skills shortage will hurt their businesses...". 

I've had the opportunity to mentor many younger colleagues over the years.  One of the things I often mention to them is the importance of mainframe skills in the coming years.  As the mainframe grey beards (frankly like me), retire in the next 10 to 15 years, the need for mainframe skills will become even more prevalent.

Let's look at it another way.  If every mainframe shop in the Fortune 500 decided tomorrow to switch from the mainframe to other platforms, it would still take many years for that work to get done (and that's really assuming it's even technically feasible in all cases).  Arguably from a business perspective, it's probably more cost effective to identify and train younger talent to close the skills gap. 

If you are interested in the article, here's the link:,0&source=IFWNLE_nlt_stradev_2011-12-01

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Learn about PARMGEN

Yes, the PARMLIB install process I've mentioned on earlier blog posts has been renamed to PARMGEN.  That makes sense since the term Parmlib implies quite a bit of other things to your typical z/OS sysprog. 

If you are new to the PARMGEN process, or just getting started, there was a very good webcast event today that covered PARMGEN in great technical detail (complete with examples).  It's not too late to check out the webcast.  You can still download the material and check out the replay.

Here's the URL:

I recommend you take the time to start getting familiar with PARMGEN.  In future releases of OMEGAMON you can anticipate that the ICAT tool will fade away and that PARMGEN will become the preferred install method.  Don't be shocked when one day,  in a future release, ICAT is gone.

Also, here is a link for the latest technote/documentation on PARMGEN:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Information on Tivoli Event Pump

So what is the Event Pump?  The Event Pump is a tool to send alerts in the form of EIF events to Netcool OMNIbus.  If you are a z/OS shop that has OMNIbus deployed (that's quite a few shops), then you probably have the need to send alerts/information from z/OS to OMNIbus.  What the Event Pump provides is a convenient method out of the box to send these events to OMNIbus.

My colleague, Wayne Bucek, has recently done a write up about Event Pump, and why you would deploy the tool.  Here's a link to the write up:

 If you are interested in a write up on what is new in Event Pump V4.2.2 here is a link with more information:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Managing System Automation Critical Messages in the Tivoli Portal

Many thanks to Art Eisenhour for this valuable tip. 

In earlier posts I've discussed the value of the IBM System Automation (SA) interface with the TEP.  One of the features that was added in V3.3 was support for Critical Messages in the TEP.  This means that messages flagged as critical by SA will appear in the TEP, and can be managed and highlighted using TEP capabilities. 

The Critical Messages workspace in the TEP gets its feed from the SDF fucntion of SA.  Out of the box there is no way to remove the message via the TEP, however if can be removed manually by deleting it from the SDF (3270 interface) panel, or in an automated manner if there is a message that would indicate a clearing event.   The command to remove the message would be as follows:


A question that came up with one customer was, what is the best way to manage messages when they appear in TEP Critical Messages.  In the Tivoli Portal you have the ability to set up commands using the 'Take Action' feature, and using the attribute substitution function to pass the necessary variables to the command.  Using this technique you can clear out a message from Critical Messages using the Tivoli portal without having to go to the 3270 interface.  Here's  an example of how this would work:

Cost of monitoring savings with OMEGAMON IMS IF3

As a follow on to my prior posting on the new feature/function of OMEGAMON IMS Iinterim Feature 3 (IF3) it is worth pointing out that there are some very positive performance savings when running IF3.  For example the following measurements have been noted:
  • CPU usage of IF3 Classic has been reduced by at least 23% when running ATF and a Trace. 
  • CPU usage of the IMS Dependant Regions has been reduced by at least 8% when running ATF and a trace.
  • CPU usage of the IMS Control Region, and it’s associated asids (DLI, DBRC, CQS, etc…) has been reduced by at least 8% when running ATF and a Trace.
 If you want more detail on these measurements, check out this blog entry:

These are some very compelling performance numbers, and show the value of going to the IF3 level of OMEGAMON IMS.

Thanks to Reggie Hubbard, Rocky McMahan, and Robyn Stillwell for this information.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

OMEGAMON IMS fixes for IMS V12 Currency

If you are looking at running IMS V12 and OMEGAMON, you need to be aware of OMEGAMON fixes relevant to IMS V12 currency.   For IMS V12 currency there are ICAT installer changes required.  For more information on the fixes go to the following link:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OMEGAMON XE For IMS V4.20 Interim Feature 3 provides powerful new features

Back in August OMEGAMON IMS V4.20 came out with Interim Feature 3 (IF3) that included a bunch of new enhancements and features. The list of enhancements includes the following:

Greater precision in Tivoli Portal workspaces (now in microseconds)

New application metrics added to the 3270 and TEP interfaces

Numerous Application Trace (ATF) enhancements, such as automatic activation of traces at OMEGAMON startup., trace duration increased to 99999 minutes and forever, more filter options for traces, exception-level trace data can now be written to new a new exception journal, elapsed times for DL/I, DB2, and MQ are now provided.

The trace enhancements, in particular, do a lot to make the trace capability of OMEGAMON IMS much more robust. Being able to do things like trace based on exceptions (versus tracing everything), cuts trace overhead considerably.

Here is more info on IF3:

If you are looking at IF3, then you should also be aware of some relevant fixes after IF3 came out. Here is some information on the fixes:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A couple useful manuals to be aware of

When you are installing, configuring, or troubleshooting OMEGAMON there are a couple manuals it pays to be aware of.

One manual is the "Common Parameter Reference" (SC14-7280-00). This manual lists the many different parameters that define an OMEGAMON installation, along with the parameters that define key infrastructure, such as the TEMS. Here's a URL for the manual:

Another manual that's relevant to installation and the PARMLIB process that I mentioned on an earlier post this week is the "Common Planning and Configuration Guide" (SC23-9734-03). This manual goes through many aspects of OMEGAMON install and configuration. Chapter 4 goes in detail into the PARMLIB install method. Here's a URL link to the manual:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An OMEGAMON webcast you won't want to miss

Support for the PARMLIB installation/config process has been in OMEGAMON for a while now. Most customers probably still use the ICAT install panels to config OMEGAMON, but over time with PARMLIB that is likely to change.

If you are interested in learning more about PARMLIB, you will want to check out this webcast on December 1st. "An improved approach to the configuration of Tivoli OMEGAMON" will cover the PARMLIB install process in detail. Cecile Day is the presenter, and there is no doubt she is the expert when it comes to the OMEGAMON installation processes.

I recommend taking a look at this webcast. PARMLIB offers advantages over the ICAT install process, and I anticipate more users moving to the new process. The event is December 1st at 11 AM ET. If you interested in the webcast, here is the URL to sign up:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mainframe on a phone?

I was scanning through Destinationz a couple days ago and I noticed an entry in the Evangelizing Mainframe blog called "Mainframe on a phone".

The blog doesn't go into huge detail, but does mention some options about bringing mainframe information to smartphone technology.

This made me think of something I've been experimenting with, which is getting the Tivoli Portal GUI to run on an iPad. I actually have something working now, and what's nice is it's really not that hard to do if you have the right infrastructure.

How to do it? In my home office lab (a.k.a Bearcat Chaos Manor), I run a variety of test/sandbox platforms (z/OS running on zPDT, multiple windows boxes, Linux, you name it). At any time I may have one or more Tivoli Portals running, and usually I run them in VMWare images. VMWare works well and makes things nice and portable.

A nice little thing about VMWare is that you have VNC support built right into it. There's a check box you click to enable the VNC support, you specify a port number to connect to, and you are in business. Once that's done, all you need is to set up VNC support on the iPad side. From the iTunes store there are a variety of VNC viewers you can install. I started with Mocha VNC Lite (in other words free). This worked OK, but had certain limitations. So I broke down and spent $5, and got the full version of Mocha VNC Viewer.

With the full version of Mocha VNC Viewer, the interface works very well. You can easily see the TEP screens, the displays render very quickly, click and drag functions work well. I was even able to do things like create situations using the iPad. It all works very nicely. Now, you are not going to do this on an iPhone (the screen is too small). But for an iPad, this works very well.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More on OMEGAMON messages to the z/OS console

As a follow on to my prior post on OMEGAMON issuing messages to the z/OS console, here is an example of how that can be specified in the 'Action" tab of the situation editor.

In the example I show, I've created a DB2 situation that monitors the DB2 EDM pool. When the situation alert is true, the action will be executed, in this case a message will be placed on the z/OS console. Note that in the example the message consists of both text literals and an & variable that passes detailed information from OMEGAMON to the resultant message text (in this case the percentage that the EDM pool is full). To add the & variable to the command string you would click the attribute substitution button on the situation editor Action tab display, and select the desired attribute data to pass.

Using situations to drive messages to the z/OS console offers multiple advantages. First, it's easy to do using the GUI interface options of the situation editor (no REXX code etc. is needed). Second, situations provide the most flexibility for alerts because any metric monitored by OMEGAMON can be incorporated within an alert. Third, it's easy and flexible to control the content of the messages, and make then meaningful using attribute substitution via the situation editor.

Another thing to consider is that this message technique is a very effective way to feed 3rd party (i.e. Non-IBM) automation. It's easy to set up the messages, you can control the content, and can pass detailed information through the message string using attribute substitution.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Alternatives for OMEGAMON placing messages on the z/OS console

This is a question that comes up fairly often. If OMEGAMON detects an alert or an issue, how can I have OMEGAMON put a message on the z/OS console?

The first thing to be aware of is that the OMEGAMON classic interface task by itself does not have a syslog message command option for when an exception is detected. You will be able to see your desired exception in the the exception analysis screens in classic interface, but you will need to explore additional options to get that exception message on the z/OS console.

There are three primary options to accomplish this:

1- The first is to use the Tivoli portal interface, create a situation alert for the desired exception, and have that situation execute an action command to place a message with the desired information on the console. Any command string entered into the command field will be executed directly to the console. For example, to log a message you could enter LOG 'test message', and 'test message' will appear on the console. Also, be aware that you can use attribute substitution to enter additional information in the command field.

2- If you do not want to use the Tivoli Portal, the next option is classic interface and connect classic to IBM automation. IBM SA automation is able to detect any of the OMEGAMON classic interface exceptions, and can then issue any desired message or command to the z/OS console.

3- If you do not have IBM automation, you can still interface OMEGAMON to non-IBM automation through the XLFOUT mechanism of OMEGAMON. On an earlier post I mentioned a technote that describes the setup and usage of the XLFOUT DD, and how to direct exceptions to XLFOUT.

In a nutshell, those are the 3 alternatives. In general, I think that the Tivoli Portal is the easiest way to go. You can use visual GUI interface, and you can set up actions without having to code any REXX, etc. However, options 2 and 3 are still there, if you desire to go that direction.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Upcoming webcast on workload scheduling and cloud computing

Interested in workload scheduling in heterogeneous environments? Interested in learning a little more about cloud and how to manage workload in a cloud environment? Then this webcast presentation on November 3rd might be of interest to you.

"Increase business flexibility with improved Workload Automation from Tivoli Workload Scheduler" is the topic. the speaker is Flora Tramotano, product Manager for Tivoli Workload Scheduler.

The event happens November 3rd, at 11:00 am Eastern time.

Here is a URL link to sign up:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

z/OS does Windows!

z/OS continues to grow and evolve. Run Windows on z? Sure, why not?

Analyst Steve Bartlett at The Clipper Group wrote an analysis of Windows and z/OS. "In particular, Windows is coming to the mainframe, not as a native operating environment, but
more closely attached and managed than most can imagine. For many and possibly most, this should prompt a reevaluation of your mainframe strategy".

It's an interesting read and well worth taking a look at. To read the article go to the following URL:

and then look for an article titled "IBM’s zEnterprise Really Stretches Its Boundaries - New Windows Are Opened"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Important new enhancement to Tivoli Portal Take Action security

This is an enhancement that has been a while in coming. Thanks to Andrew Mcintyre for pulling it together.

What this enhancement provides is more granularity and control for using the Take Action option in the Tivoli Portal. Before this enhancement, users would either have access to Take Action, or not. Now, with this new function, you will be able to control in a more granular fashion by userid, who can issue commands and to where on the system. For example, this means that you can allow a user to issue Take Action to some systems, and disallow it to other systems. This provides much more flexibility and control when using the Take Action option.

For more information on this, here is a URL:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Upcoming presentation on the OMEGAMON Management Suite

A couple weeks ago I posted something on the new OMEGAMON for z/OS Management Suite. If you want to learn more about it, check out this webcast on October 20th. The presentation title is "Improving z/OS availability and productivity with Tivoli OMEGAMON monitoirng". The speaker is Kevin Hosozawa of IBM.

In the webcast Kevin will cover the IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON for z/OS Management Suite, including how it:
The event is October 20th at 11 AM ET. The price is right, it's free. Here's a link to sign up:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Using XLF to log Classic interface exceptions to DASD

I've done earlier blog posts on handy mechanisms in Classic 3270 interface, like ASF (Automated screen facility) and XLF (exception log facility). XLF provides you with a mechanism to gather and log classic interface exceptions.

A recent technote came out with a description of how to log classic exceptions to a DASD file. You might do this if you want to maintain an ongoing log of classic exceptions, or if you want to interface these classic exceptions to a another tool, such as 3rd party automation.

This is a good description of setting up XLF. Here's the URL:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Setting auto update in the Tivoli Portal

So you have a workspace in the TivoliPortal that you want to run in auto update mode. You can go to options and specify the "refresh every" interval when viewing the display. But, if you navigate away from that display, refresh may be turned off when you navigate back. What do you do?

You can associate auto update being set to specific interval for a given workspace. All you have to do is specify the "refresh every" option, and then save the specific workspace in question. When you navigate and then come back, the refresh option will take effect again, as long as you have saved the workspace with that option enabled.

So the the auto update option can be associated with specific workspaces, which makes more sense than in classic interface, where it's on or off all the way for the session. For some screens you may want the option on, for others you may not.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Problems with historical data not showing up in the TEP?

This is an interesting Technote that I read recently. Apparently some Tivoli Portal users who were collecting history were seeing gaps in history collection data, or history data missing altogether. The Technote describes the eyecatchers to look for if this issue is occurring, and then provides a workaround/resolution.

The net is if you are missing data, and you see a long time (in the range of multiple minutes or more) between these messages in RKPDLOG of the z/OS TEMS or TEMA (i.e. the agent task on z/OS), then you may want to check things out. Here are the messages (an init started followed by an init complete message):

yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm:ss KPDINDS: Initialization started for DataStore file DSN:&rhilev.&rte.lowlev

yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm:ss KPDINDS: Initialization complete for DataStore file DSN:&rhilev.&rte.lowlev

The workaround? Go into the KxxPCTL (xx meaning the product code for the agent type) for the task in question, and add the parm BATCHINIT like in the following example:


The BATCHINIT parm indicates that initialization of a datastore file should be done by the batch job instead of being done within the PDS processing of the TEMA or TEMS started task.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interested in DB2 V10?

If you are interested in DB2 V10, here is a webcast on what's in DB2 V10 and customer experiences with DB2 V10. The event will have information on such things as, temporal tables, how hash access can speed up queries against large tables, new SQL features, how access path determination is now smarter, and how concurrency can be improved without sacrificing integrity.

This webcast is being put on by International DB2 User Group (IDUG). The event is on November 2nd at 11AM Eastern time. Here's a link to register for the webcast:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New release of the zSecure security suite

On October 4, IBM announced a new release of the zSecure solutions (V1.13) to assist with compliance monitoring and auditing, audit usage and configurations, enforce policy compliance, help administer mainframe server security, and monitor for threats. zSecure can help to centralize and consolidate security administration, and to leverage the mainframe as the enterprise security hub.

The new release features the following line items which also enhance the security intelligence of CICS, IMS, and DB2 applications:

Automates security analysis of CICS and IMS transactions and programs
Automated analysis of SAF classes being used by DB2, CICS, or IMS
Enhances Access Monitor and allows you to improve data consolidation
Allows annotating userid displays with data from external human resource files
Globalization enhancements to support international language support and auditing
Allows addition of your own sensitivity classification, audit concern, and priority
Supports currency with z/OS V1R13, ACF2 R14 and R15, CICS V4R2, and Top Secret R12, R14, and R15
Extends integration with Communications Server and provides various interface improvements

If you are interested in zSecure here is a URL to check out:

Here's a link to a white paper on "Consolidating security across platforms with IBM System z":

Here's a link to a Red Book on "z/OS Mainframe Security and Audit Management using IBM Tivoli zSecure" :

Friday, September 30, 2011

Check out the IBM System Availability Roadshow coming in October

IBM will be putting on a series of events in various cities, the "IBM System Availability Roadshow". It's an all day event and the agenda looks pretty solid (i.e. it's not a bunch of marketing fluff). Here's the agenda:

System Availability Overview
Explore the significant role that System z availability plays in
meeting your business objectives.

Creating End-to-End System Availability
Learn through key value scenarios how Tivoli integrated
solutions – including NetView for z/OS, OMEGAMON, and
System Automation – enable you to maintain optimal service
availability and performance.

Automation Deep Dive and Key Integration
Understand how Tivoli automation solutions improve the
availability of your system, network, and applications; thereby
reducing operator errors and maximizing resource efficiencies.

Network Management Deep Dive and Key Integration
Gain insights into how NetView for z/OS and OMEGAMON
solutions enable you to manage and optimize the availability and
performance of your TCP/IP and SNA networks.

Best Practices - Tailoring the solution for your needs
Utilize a problem solving approach to demonstrating how key
visualization, control, and automation capabilities of NetView for
z/OS based solutions can be tailored to meet the ever changing
demands of your enterprise.

The event will be in the following cities:
Tues, Oct. 4 Southfield 18000 W 9 Mile Rd, Rm 1505 Southfield, MI
Thurs, Oct. 6 Chicago 71 S. Wacker Drive, 6th Floor Chicago, IL
Tues, Oct 11 Markham 3600 Steeles Ave. East, D109 Markham, ON
Thurs, Oct 13 New York 590 Madison Avenue, Rm 1218 New York City
Tues, Oct 18 Hartford One Financial Plaza, 12th Floor Hartford, CT
Wed, Oct 19 Raleigh 3100 Smoketree Court, Rm 9002 Raleigh, NC
Thurs, Oct 20 Washington, DC 600 14th St, NW, Rm 356 Washington, DC
Tues, Oct 25 Atlanta Hillside 4111 Northside Parkway, 03F23 Atlanta, GA
Thurs, Oct 27 Dallas 13800 Diplomat Dr, Rm 232 Dallas, TX
Tues, Nov 1 San Ramon 4000 Executive Pkwy, Rm 340 San Ramon, CA
Thurs, Nov 3 Costa Mesa 600 Anton Blvd, Rm 209 Costa Mesa, CA

If you are interested, email Joanie Gines to enroll.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

An example of using the OMEGAMON z/OS CPU Looping Index indicator

You still run into shops where they have jobs going into loops, and it may be necessary to identify and address these tasks. OMEGAMON For z/OS V4.20 added an interesting number called the CPU Loop Index. The CPU Loop Index is a number that is calculated at the address space level that shows the relative likelihood that a given task on z/OS may be in a CPU loop. The notion is the more CPU heavy a task is, without any other indications of activity, such as I/O, the greater the likelihood that the task may be in a loop. The loop index is calculated up to 100. The closer to 100, the higher the possibility of a loop. Now it's not a guarantee that the task is in a loop, but it at least gives you an indication that the task is work taking a look at.

Here's an example of how I'm using this measure with a customer to highlight possible looping tasks. The example I have here is a customized availability view TEP workspace. This workspace is pulling in information from a variety of sources, including OMEGAMON, Tivoli Workload Scheduler, and System Automation to highlight potential issues, problem applications, and long running jobs.

To add the CPU Loop Index to this display, we made a copy of the standard OMEGAMON query for this table, and added a filter to it to only show jobs with an index greater than 50. This is recommended for performance reasons, since you will usually have hundreds of tasks on a z box. Why render all that data you don't need? We then apply a filter to the workspace to just show tasks above a certain level (such as 90 in this example).

It's an interesting number, feel free to take a look at it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Upcoming webcast on OMEGAMON and the Tivoli Enterprise Portal

On September 29th I will be doing a webcast, "Top 10 Problem Solving Scenarios Using OMEGAMON and Tivoli Enterprise Portal". In this presentation I will cover how OMEGAMON and the Tivoli Enterprise Portal can be used to identify, isolate, and solve typical z/OS performance and availability management issues.

The session will include examples of how to get the most out of OMEGAMON and the Tivoli Enterprise Portal, and discuss the integration of OMEGAMON with other Tivoli solutions. I will also be covering some things I've been blogging about lately, such as ITM 6.2.3 and the Tivoli Performance Analyzer.

The event is September 29th at 11AM. The price to attend is right (it's free). Please feel free to stop by.

Summary of what's in ITM 6.2.3

As I mentioned a few days ago, ITM 6.2.3 is now available. There are quite a few interesting enhancements in ITM 6.2.3. I've mentioned a couple things already, including self-describing agents and Tivoli Performance Analyzer. Here's a summary of the more interesting stuff in ITM 6.2.3:

§Application Support Mismatch
Show new or updated application support event (Note – not yet supported on z/OS yet)

§Tivoli Performance Analyzer now a base component of IBM Tivoli Monitoring
Adds predictive capability to Tivoli Monitoring
Monitor resource consumption trends, anticipate future performance issues

§Situation event console and Common event console enhancements

§Manually started situation enhancements

§Historical data compression before upload to TDW
Reduce network traffic, data collected from distributed monitoring agents is now compressed in memory at the collection location

§New and enhanced CLI tacmd commands

§Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager policies
Create policies that interact with your Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager (TADDM) environment
Policies can forward events such as, new, changed, or destroyed resources to your Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager server

Some interesting stuff, in particular the interface with TADDM. Imagine the notion of being able to integrate configuration and change management with monitoring? After all, what's the biggest cause of unplanned outages? How about changes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Check out Destination z

"Destination z" is a community consisting of Systems z users, educators, business partners and IBMers. Destination z is intended to spread the word on the latest on System z technology, trends and resources.

There are lots of good links, and sources of information. Membership in Destination z is open to System z customers, IBMers, IBM business partners and qualifying academic institutions (educators and students).

To join go to:

What is Tivoli Performance Analyzer?

Earlier this week I mentioned that ITM 6.2.3 would be bringing in new feature/function. Tivoli Performance Analyzer in the past has been an add-on component to the ITM infrastructure. With ITM 6.2.3, Tivoli Performance Analyzer becomes part of the base tool.

What is Tivoli Performance Analyzer? At its core, it's intended to add predictive capability to Tivoli Monitoring so you can monitor resource consumption trends, anticipate future performance issues, and avoid or resolve problems more quickly. For example, you can use Tivoli Performance Analyzer to predict application bottlenecks and create alerts for potential service threats.

So, how does it work? Tivoli Performance Analyzer works by analyzing information in the Tivoli Data Warehouse (TDW) and providing an analysis of trends gathered from that data. The user may specify different analysis scenarios, based on what history data is being collected by the user, and the requirements of the user. You have various trending options, such as linear trending or arithmetic trending, and you can use it to calculate such things as time to hit a given threshold.

Tivoli Performance Analyzer works in unison with the TDW, and provides some interesting new analytic capabilities for ITM monitoring solutions (including OMEGAMON). Here's a manual number for more information: SC27-4004-00.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

IBM Tivoli Monitoring (aka ITM) 6.2.3 version is now available

It's been a couple weeks now, but ITM 6.2.3 is now available. Don't get ITM 6.2.3 confused with ITM 6.2.2 fixpack 3. ITM 6.2.3 is a new version of the IBM Tivoli Monitoring infrastructure.

What's new in ITM 6.2.3? Quite a few things of interest. Probably the most intriguing and potentially the most powerful is a feature known as self-describing agents. Tired of having to worry so much about application CDs, CAT and ATR files, and looking at ITMSUPER output to identify mismatches in support levels for various agents? Self describing agents makes that process less of a chore. What does it mean? Agents will communicate their application support requirements to the infrastructure dynamically. The infrastructure becomes more flexible and dynamic as a result.

There's a lot more in ITM 6.2.3 that I will be covering over the next few days. To get started on ITM 6.2.3, here's a link:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Interested in capacity planning and System z? Check out this webcast.

If you are interested in System z and capacity planning, there is a webcast next week on September 15th on the topic. Attend "Optimize IT hardware and software expenditures with Tivoli capacity planning and IBM business analytics" to learn about Tivoli “what if” analysis, the Tivoli open architecture for gathering and analyzing data, and application performance modeling and rich graphical reporting.

The webcast will cover the following topics:

The event is September 15th at 11 AM ET. To attend here is a link:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Use ITCAM to identify mainframe as well as distributed bottlenecks

ITCAM (IT Composite Application Monitoring) provides a detailed and dynamic analysis of application transaction flow, and shows end to end application response time, along with aiding in the identification of transaction bottlenecks. What's powerful about ITCAM is it has the ability to 'stitch' together information from a variety of sources to determine the application flow, and show performance information. This end to end perspective could conceivably flow between mainframe and distributed, and encompass various middleware components in between.

The example screenshot shows a distributed client that connects to the mainframe via IMS Connect, and then invokes various IMS transactions. When you look at the example you can see that IMS Connect is the potential bottleneck, and the IMS Connect portion of the response time is highlighted in red on the bottom portion of the screen. This is a fairly straightforward example of how this function operates.

ITCAM is flexible, powerful, and allows you to see where your complex composite applications are spending their time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Logs logs, where are my logs?

Tivoli distributed and OMEGAMON mainframe kicks out lots of logs and even more messages. These logs can be useful when it comes to problem analysis, and determining why a component may not be functioning as desired.

The logs that are available, and the format of the logs may vary by platform or component. If you want a listing of all the various available logs, here is a link to a handy little document that summarizes where the various logs reside:

Information on z/OS 1.13 OMEGAMON currency maintenance

z/OS 1.13 is coming out, so the question is what, if any, maintenance may be required for OMEGAMON in a z/OS 1.13 environment? The good news is OMEGAMON currency support for z/OS 1.13 is provided for Version 410, 420 and later releases of OMEGAMON XE z/OS products.

Here's a link to a document that lists what, if any, OMEGAMON maintenance is required. Here's the link:

By the way, if you are interested in z/OS 1.12 maintenance, here's a link for that, as well:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

OMEGAMON for z/OS Management Suite V4.2.0 Announced

IBM has announced the OMEGAMON z/OS Management Suite V4.2.0. What exactly is the z/OS Management Suite? Think of it as an integrated offering that includes monitoring for the z/OS operating system, network monitoring, and expanded DASD storage monitoring, all within a single solution.

OMEGAMON XE for z/OS by itself does not really provide much in the way of network information. OMEGAMON XE for z/OS provides DASD, cache, and control unit information, but the available information is largely focused from the perspective of 3390 type devices, etc.

What OMEGAMON z/OS Management Suite V4.2 provides is a way to expand the reach of your core z/OS monitoring to include robust detailed network analysis and more detailed storage information within a single software offering. Technically you could purchase and install OMEGAMON XE for Mainframe Networks and OMEGAMON Storage, in addition to OMEGAMON z/OS. What OMEGAMON z/OS Management Suite V4.2 provides is a way to have all this integrated capability in a single solution.

For more information here is a link:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Interested in cloud?

The IT business has always been full of buzz words and phrases. "Cloud" is certainly one of the latest examples. If you want to learn more about cloud, IBM is putting a series of events that will go into quite a bit of detail of how to get started with highly scalable clouds. The event will look at such things as platform choice for consolidating new cloud workloads and applications, and containing the cost of administering and managing cloud.

If you want to learn more about cloud, the event will be happening at several locations

Fort Worth, Texas September 14, 2011
Markham, Ontario September 20, 2011
Waltham, Massachusetts October 4, 2011
New York, New York October 12, 2011
Chicago, Illinois October 18, 2011
San Francisco, California October 27, 2011
Washington D.C. November 1, 2011

If you are interested, here's a URL to sign up:

Data collection considerations for OMEGAMON Storage

There is an interesting technote that discusses collection overhead considerations when doing dataset level monitoring using OMEGAMON Storage. The symptoms may be high CPU in the KCNDLxxx address space, and you may see the following message:


What this indicates is that the dataset collection process is overwhelmed with data and is unable to catch up.

This goes back to posts I had made about a year ago relevant to optimal monitoring strategies. In general, the more data you request, the more it will cost to collect and display/manage that data. So consider carefully what you ask for, you may get more than you bargained for.

In this technote the author references the "OMEGAMON XE For Storage Tuning Guide".

The technote also suggests such things as collecting data every so often (example every 20 I/Os, SAMPCT=20), versus every I/O. Or, collect data based upon an exception criteria, such as a high MSR time for a device.

With so many active UCBs in many shops and potentially so many datasets, it makes sense to have a strategy for collection, versus just turning it on for everything.

Here's a link to the technote:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Presentations at Share

At the Share conference in Orlando I did four presentations as part of the proceedings. Here are my topics with links to the material. Each of these presentations contains at least some updates.

Here are the topics and the links to them. Feel free to download:

"Understanding The Interaction Of z/OS Workload Manager And DB2"

"Monitoring: Become More Proactive Via Effective Historical Analysis"

"Optimal Alert Management Strategies for System z and Beyond"

"IMS Performance - Getting The Most Out Of Your Monitoring Technology: Isolating And Solving Common Issues"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Share presentation on NetView Canzlog

Canzlog is a consolidated log management function that was added as part of NetView V6.1. Canzlog has been popular with quite a few customers as a method of managing multiple log streams in a consolidated manner. It's a nice facility, and worth taking a look at.

Dale Carter of Bank of America) and Tom Howe of IBM did a presentation on "Canzlog in NetView for z/OS 6.1: User Experience".

Here's a link to the presentation:

Share presentation on the DB2 Catalog

Willie Favero of IBM did an interesting presentation at Share in Orlando on what's new and changed in the DB2 Catalog, "The DB2 for z/OS Catalog Gets a Makeover ". DB2 V10 certainly introduced quite a few changes, and this topic goes through what has happened with the Catalog, what was changed, what was added, and what it means for the DB2 sysprog.

Here's a link for the presentation:

Upcoming seminars on System z storage

If you are in the Columbus or Charlotte area, you may be interested in a free seminar on how to "Handle common storage management problems with IBM z/OS".

This seminar will look at the Tivoli zStorage Management Initiative. There will be discussion on how Tivoli solutions can reduce time, effort and cost of storage management of your current IBM z/OS storage environment, and reduce costs while fostering greater synergy to address both resource and personnel effectivenesss.

The event will happen September 13 in Columbus, 4499 Fisher Road
Columbus, Ohio, and September 15 in Charlotte, David Taylor Drive
Charlotte, NC.

Registration and Continental Breakfast: 8:30am
Event 9am - 1pm
Lunch will also be served.

The price is right, the event is free (and so is the lunch).

To register - send email to

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Overview of z/OS V1.13 at Share

There are quite a few interesting items planned to be coming along in z/OS V1.13. There are quite a few enhancement to z/OSMF (how about web-enabled ISPF), Java/COBOL enhancements, scalability improvements (including performance improvements to of all things IEBCOPY), security enhancements, network improvements, improved availability, more feature/function for WLM and RMF. It's quite a list of items.

If you're interested in learning more about what's coming in z/OS V1.13, here's a link to a nice presentation at Share that goes into it in more detail:

Information on the z114 at Share

A new z/OS machine is always going to be a hot topic of conversation at Share. The z114 was announced in July, and there multiple sessions that discussed the z114.

The following session is a detailed technical introduction to the z114. The material presented included considerable technical detail on z114 structure, processor design, configuration and features. Here's a link to the presentation:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A good presentation at Share on managing network performance

Ernie Gilman of IBM did a very nice presentation on "Top 10 Tips for z/OS Network Performance Monitoring with OMEGAMON". This is a very detailed review of common network challenges and how to analyze them using OMEGAMON For Mainframe Networks.

The session looked at how correlation between key metrics can more quickly isolate performance problems, how to identify how poorly designed end to end applications could be the cause to high z/OS overhead, and how to create a simple view to help identify why TCP/IP connections are randomly being rejected.

Ernie made some very nice custom workspaces to show how to more effectively use the tool.

Here's a link to the presentation:

Notes from the Share Conference in Orlando

I recently returned from the Share Conference last week in Orlando. In addition to presenting on several topics at the conference, I also attended quite a few of the technical sessions (as well as partaking in some hands on labs).

Given that Share has a z/OS focus, many of the sessions were centered around what's new and interesting in the area of System z. That meant there were quite a few sessions on such topics as the new z114 system, what's new with z/OS V1.13, Workload Manager, Unified Resource Manager and zManager, what is zBX and what it means to z/OS, cloud computing, security, storage, you name it.

In the area of zBX, a session I found interesting was done by Glenn Anderson of IBM on "A Mainframe Guy Discovers Blades - as in zEnterprise "Blade" Extension". This was a good introduction to blades and how this technology now folds into the new z/OS mainframes.

Here's a link to the presentation:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New filter option for Tivoli Data Warehouse history

Thanks to Ernie Gilman for making me aware of this very interesting tidbit.

When you define history collection in Tivoli Data Warehouse (TDW) you go through a set of steps to specify which tables of data to collect, which managed objects to collect the data from, and finally how often to collect the data and send it on to the TDW.

Apparently there a new option has appeared in the TDW history collection options (we think this may have showed up with either FP2 or FP3). When you specify history there is now a new 'Filter' tab. From there you can specify what attribute to filter on at the time of collection. What that means is that you can specify what is essentially exception based history. For example, only collect the history if it meets a specified criteria.

Look at the example I include and you will see how I'm filtering history based on a CPU threshold.

Share Conference

This week I've been at the Share Conference in sometimes sunny, sometimes rainy always hot Orlando. For those of you who may not have heard of Share, Share is a user group with a z/OS focus. Share provides a wide array of sessions on many things related to System z, DB2, IMS, CICS, networking, storage, security, you name it.

I will be doing a series of posts on interesting tidbits of information I picked up a Share.

If you are interested in finding out more about the group go to

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seminar on IT optimization

If you happen to be in the Seattle area on August 23rd you may be interested in this seminar on "Optimizing Your IT Infrastructure". The event is intended for Operations managers, infrastructure architects and system programmers.

Here's the agenda

Continental breakfast will be available at 8:30 a.m.
08:40 a.m. - z/OS Version 1 Release 12 and more
09:50 a.m. - Technology update - zEnterprise servers and storage
11:00 a.m. - Consolidation and virtualization update with Linux and z/VM on System z
12:00 p.m. - Lunch
01:00 p.m. - Integrated service management can improve overall visibility into your zEnterprise using OMEGAMON XE for z/OS
02:10 p.m. - Increase availability and productivity in your System z environment with integrated service management automation
03:20 p.m. - Moving to cloud? Integrated service management on System z will be a critical success factor
04:20 p.m. - Close and next steps

It's a full day with some good stuff. It's a free event (so the price is right). If you are interested, here's a link to sign up:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sorting out Fixpack confusion

I get different variations of this question all the time. "If I install a given fixpack on my ITM infrastructure (TEPS TEMS etc), how do I know what z/OS PTFs I need to apply"? The problem, of course, is that ITM fixpacks are not SMP/E maintenance, so how do I correlate the two maintenance items?

There are a couple web pages that may help you sort out some of this fixpack question. The following is a platform maintenance table web page that list the information by ITM version and fixpack level, and then shows the corresponding z/OS PTFs.

The following page shows information on fixpacks for each of the various OMEGAMONs, and the corresponding z/OS PTFs for each of these fixpacks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting a handle on your System z environment

Something has just crashed. Everything seemingly was working fine until just recently. Now things are not so fine. What's the first question people usually ask? How about "what's changed"?

What's changed is often the million dollar question because, let's face it, in most shops System z is well managed and quite stable. When all around me is suddenly crashing down, the first thing I will often wonder is what changed and who made that change (and better yet, how to put things back).

IBM Tivoli is never at a loss for acronyms. One you may not have heard of before is TADDM. What's TADDM? It stands for Tivoli Application Dependency Discovery Manager. What TADDM does is it goes out and dynamically discovers resources and components in your environment, and map these resources. TADDM output can be used for a variety of functions, including as input to a CMDB (Configuration Management DB) and as input to build application views in TBSM. But, one of the more interesting features of TADDM is it's ability to track and highlight system changes. Did something change? TADDM can show you the differences.

TADDM has components for both distributed and z environments. On System z TADDM can go out and map at different levels of discovery, including looking at such things as z/OS Parmlib information.

While I would not suggest that TADDM is a tool for change control, TADDM can be a tool to help you get a handle on what's on your system, what's talking to what, and what if anything has changed.

If you want more information on TADDM, here is a link:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ITCAM For Transactions V7.3 provides agentless transaction tracking

IT Composite Application Monitoring (aka ITCAM) for Transactions V7.3 has been available for a few weeks. ITCAM for Transactions provides many interesting features for tracking and analyzing complex transactions, and offers insight into where those complex transactions may be having issues.

One of the more interesting new features of ITCAM for Transactions V7.3 is the so-called "agentless" transaction tracking. This feature captures network traffic and reports the interactions between servers and applications. It integrates into the existing user interface, combining the breadth of agentless tracking with the depth of agent based tracking.

Agentless tracking is built upon facilities developed for web response time analysis. Now, in addition to HTTP traffic, the tool is now capable of monitoring and analyzing all TCP traffic.

The example I show gives you an idea of how agentless tracking can gather information and dynamically map the activity.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New - IBM zEnterprise 114 announced

Last week IBM announced a new entry in the zEnterprise line, the z114.

IBM introduced the IBM zEnterprise 114 (z114) as the newest member of the zEnterprise family, bringing the unique value of hybrid computing to a much broader set of businesses. The z114 offers a smaller mainframe footprint and lower entry cost than the zEnterprise 196 (z196).

Here's a link to the announcement letter:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Upcoming webcast on OMEGAMON XE on z/OS

On July 28th there will be a free webcast covering the capabilities of OMEGAMON XE on z/OS.

In this session, you’ll come away with details on how OMEGAMON XE can help:
• Reduce the cost of administrating availability and performance on the mainframe by reducing complexity and using fewer staff resources
• Automate availability monitoring to implement best practices and compliance requirements
• Analyze data to detect and respond rapidly to availability and performance events
• Proactively handle events with automated closed-loop remediation that closes exposures
• Consolidate cloud availability management for zEnterprise

The speaker is Joe Winterton of IBM. Joe is the OMEGAMON XE on z/OS Release Manager. The webcast will happen on July 28th at 11 AM ET.

To sign up here is a URL:

Monday, July 11, 2011

NetView V6.1 and Canzlog

The new NetView release V6.1, went GA in May of this year. There were several interesting new features in NetView V6.1. I had mentioned an important one in an earlier blog, the enhanced TCP/IP trace function. Another feature that is generating a lot of interest is Canzlog. What is Canzlog? Canzlog is something of an acronym; Consolidated Audit, NetView, and z/OS Log (hence Canzlog).

Canzlog is based on a data-space that works with the NetView SSI to capture messages. Canzlog can hold millions of messages, after which it wraps. What Canzlog provides is the ability to capture messages from a variety of sources, and then provide a means to view and filter those messages quickly and efficiently.

I found a nice write up on Canzlog that goes through a description of how to set up and use the tool. Here's a link to the document:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Overhead considerations when using the SOAP interface

I did a series of posts a few months ago on using the SOAP interface to issue commands, stop/start situations, and query monitoring data from the ITM infrastructure. The nice thing about the SOAP interface is that you can interface with ITM monitoring from a variety of sources, be it distributed sources or even IBM SA z/OS automation.

When doing things like querying information using SQL via the SOAP interface, be aware that the usual rules of thumb for effective/efficient SQL coding apply here, as well. For example, consider things like the number of SQL calls, the frequency of the calls, or the amount of data potentially retrieved by the calls. It's a typical monitoring rule of thumb, the more data you request, the more it will likely cost.

There is a nice write up that goes into these considerations. Here is a link to the document, it's interesting reading:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All those storage mesages in RKLVLOG

So you are sifting through the RKLVLOG for an OMEGAMON agent (TEMA) address space or the TEMS address space on z/OS and you see all these storage messages in the log, such as the following:

KLVSD004 SIZE(1-16) USE(27) TOTAL(521) ACCESSED(18864)
KLVSD004 SIZE(17-32) USE(93) TOTAL(102) ACCESSED(386)

It's normal for these tasks to generate these messages on an ongoing basis. Most of the time you won't need to worry about these messages.

So what do these messages mean, and do you need to do anything? In general, I don't recommend going into the RKANPARU members and playing with the storage settings unless directed to by IBM support. But every once in a while, it may help to know what these numbers are about. I have seen scenarios where storage creeps can occur, and adjustments may need to be made.

Here's a link to a nice description on what these messages mean:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Upcoming webcast on managing security in the Cloud

Cloud computing is one of the hot IT buzzwords/phrases floating around currently. Cloud computing offers interesting capabilities, but like anything nowadays, security is an essential component that needs to be considered carefully.

"Consolidated Security Management for Mainframe Clouds" will take a look at the challenges of security in a mainframe Cloud environment. The premise is that better management of mainframe security simplifies complex IT environments, and allows the cost-effective consolidation of security management and compliance reporting for the enterprise.

If you are interested in learning more about Cloud computing, the security challenges in this paradigm, and what Tivoli is doing to manage security in the Cloud, take a look at this webcast.

The event is July 14th at 11AM ET. Here's a link to sign up:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Upcoming webcast on solving network problems

The Share user group is sponsoring a webcast on July 7th on "Solving Application and Network Issues with OMEGAMON and NetView". The presenter for the session is Kirk Bean, the product manager for NetView and OMEGAMON Mainframe Networks.

Kirk is very knowledgeable and I think you will find this to be an interesting session.

The event is July 7th and 11 AM ET. Here's a link to register:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A unique alert

When you generate alerts you always want the alert to be unique and meaningful, and also have a solid means of notification. You may want the alert to be visible or have some other means of notification.

Here's a unique example of an alert. This was taken from a road sign on I-75 just outside of Cincinnati. Clearly someone had a sense of humor, but once you see the alert, you'll remember it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Security and alerting on z/OS

Reading the papers lately, one thing that seems interesting is a spate of very sophisticated hacking attacks on various entities and companies. A new group called LutzSec has recently claimed to have hacked the CIA, PBS, SONY and who knows what other sites. And there are other groups out there doing what they do. One thing that seems apparent is these are very sophisticated attacks, done by very tech savvy individuals.

System z is blessed with very robust security capabilities driven by tools, such as RACF. You have a lot of power and flexibility to control access to System z. But, if someone is trying to do something nefarious, how quickly will you be notified? If a hacker attack is underway, wouldn't you want to know as soon as possible?

One interesting tool is Tivoli zSecure Alert. zSecure Alert comes with a pre-defined group of alerts, plus the ability to add additional user defined alerts, as needed. So you can alert on things like logon failures with powerful IDs, people attempting to access sensitive files, or people using system authorities that you may not want them to be using. Using zSecure Alert you can generate an alert in the form of an email, an SNMP trap, or a WTO to the z/OS console.

Or you could take that alert even further. Once the alert is on the console, how about having SA V3.3 send the alert message to the Tivoli Portal, fire a situation alert in the Portal, and have that situation forward the alert to OMNIBus, if desired.

The bottom line is zSecure Alert is an intriguing tool in that it can let you know right away if a potential attack is underway. You can then drive your notification in a number of ways. Stop them in their tracks before your company or government agency is the next one in the news (for all the wrong reasons).

Webcast tomorrow on Integrated Service Management on System z

Here's an interesting webcast happening tomorrow on Integrated Service Management for System z.

"Learn from System z customer experience: Cookbooks that can speed up deployment of integrated service management" In the session they will cover the new ISM for System z cookbooks with detailed information on how to implement ISM, and reference architectures. The details include prescriptive best practices that have been created, based on customer deployments, and are now available to speed your time to value of ISM solutions running on the mainframe.

The event will happen on June 23rd, at 11 AM ET. It's a free event, so the price is right. Here's a link to sign up:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Upcoming System z technology virtual summit

This is a similar event to the System z summit I mentioned a few weeks ago, only this one is a virtual event, so you can attend from the comfort of your own office. This event will have four tracks: DB2 for z/OS technical update, Modern application development and deployment, CICS technical update, and Data Center operations and systems management update.

The virtual event will happen on June 29th. It's a free event, so the price is right. The agenda looks good, with good technical content on several fronts. Here's a link to sign up:

Monday, June 13, 2011

System z jobs

System z jobs is a web site that connects IBM System z clients, partners and businesses with students and professionals seeking System z job opportunities.

The fun thing about System z is it keeps going strong. I began working in the MVS arena in the early 1980s. In 1992 I took a job with Candle Corporation. At the time some of my colleagues asked me "why take a job with a mainframe vendor, everyone knows the mainframe is going away"? Well, it's been almost 20 years later, and as Mark Twain may have said, reports of the mainframe's death have been "greatly exaggerated". System z continues to grow and evolve. I have the pleasure of working with many shops, large and small, that continue to invest heavily in the technology.

I've also had the pleasure at IBM to mentor younger colleagues about System z technology. What's interesting is that we are now seeing a new generation of technical talent coming into the System z realm. It will be enlightening to see where they take the platform in the future.

If you are interested in the System z jobs web site, here's the link:

New Version of ITCAM for Transactions

IT Composite Application Monitoring (aka ITCAM) Version 7.3 went GA in May. ITCAM is one of the most interesting and powerful tools in the Tivoli suite of solutions. ITCAM provides end-to-end transaction tracking and end user experience monitoring capabilities. ITCAM also provides capabilities for robotic monitoring and Internet service monitoring. By using ITCAM you can visualize and more easily isolate problems, leading to faster problem resolution. ITCAM is a very big solution, with quite a bit of technology and capability bundled into it. There are many ways you can apply this technology to monitor and track transaction activity.

ITCAM V7.3 adds new capabilities including:
For more information on ITCAM for Transactions, here is a link:

Friday, June 10, 2011

About the PDS (the Persistent Data Store)

Anyone who has done an install of any of the OMEGAMONs on z/OS has gone through the exercise in the ICAT installer of configuring the Persistent Data Store (PDS). Odds are if you've done it, you have executed the configuration steps multiple times (once for each TEMS and once for each agent TEMA task on each LPAR). This adds up to doing what seems to be the same task many times over and over. The question may be, is this really necessary?

If you plan on using the history functions of the Tivoli Enterprise Portal, displaying the data in the TEP, and optionally sending the history data to the Tivoli Data Warehouse (TDW), you will need this infrastructure in place to some extent. If you are not planning on using these functions, then you can get by without doing this work. One exception to this would be OMEGAMON XE For Storage, which will require the PDS for all its various features.

My recommendation is to go ahead and set up the PDS, at minimum, at the level of the TEMS. This gives you the option of collecting at least some history data in the TEP. Keep in mind though, that this may cause some confusion with users if they are trying to collect history at the level of the TEMA, but the PDS in the TEMA is not set up.

If you can, configure the PDS for each component, TEMS and TEMAs. Often I will scale down the default size allocations of the PDSs for the various components, just to save space (this stuff can add up across many systems and agents). But, I will go ahead and create the files per the steps in ICAT. This means that a user will be able to get the history to function from the TEP without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure being in place. It may not be optimal, but it will at least function.

With that being said, you may need re-create the files with more space if usage goes up. So if users are taking advantage of the history facility, it is a good idea to monitor usage, and make adjustments if usage increases.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What is tacmd?

tacmd is a command line tool used for ITM 6.x monitoring infrastructure management. There is a wide array of functions that you can use tacmd for. For example, you can use tacmd at the command line to edit agent configuration options, add a situation, create a situation, delete a situation, edit managed system lists, stop/start agents, and more. tacmd is a handy tool to have around.

The ITM Command Reference documents the capabilities of tacmd. Here's a link to the doc:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

An interesting subtlety of using the KILL command with OMEGAMON CICS

OMEGAMON CICS offers levels of KILL and KILL FORCE commands to kick a problem task out of CICS. This is a handy command that users need on occasion to deal with problem transactions. Users will sometimes ask me, when is it appropriate to use KILL versus KILL FORCE? I usually suggest starting with the least powerful command and progressively working your way up to KILL FORCE.

APAR OA35253 discusses an interesting scenario when using KILL versus KILL FORCE. While OMEGAMON does not require that a user issue a KILL before doing a KILL FORCE, there is apparently an occasional timing issue where if you try doing a KILL without first doing the KILL FORCE, the command may not work, and generate an error message.

Now you may see the following if a KILL FORCE is attempted without a prior KILL. The tool will process the command as a KILL, and a message will be displayed:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Upcoming webcast on OMEGAMON historical data collection

On June 16th I will be doing a webcast entitled "Become More Proactive through Effective Historical Analysis". In this webcast I will be looking at each of the OMEGAMON products, and their historical data collection and analysis capabilities. I'll look at the various types of historical data available, and how it can be viewed and analyzed. I will focus on the specific historical data collection capabilities unique to each of the OMEGAMON products, and then look at historical analysis functions common to all OMEGAMON and other IBM Tivoli® solutions.

I'll get into the cost/benefit aspects of historical data collection, and try to help advise on a strategy for effective efficient historical data collection. Then I will look at examples of how you can use history to be more proactive from a monitoring perspective.

The event is June 16th at 11 AM Eastern Time.

Here is a link to the event:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NetView V6.1 announcement

IBM recently made an announcement about a new NetView release, NetView V6.1. NetView V6.1 offers some powerful new features, including the following:

- Analysis and automation of z/OS system, NetView, and job log messages via a
consolidated log (Canzlog) for both real time and archived messages.
- Built-in analysis of packet trace data that reduces diagnostics time.
- Support for zEnterprise hardware.
- Support for Dynamic Virtual IP Address Hot Standby distribution.
- Tighter integration with IBM Tivoli Network Manager.
- Enhanced NetView Discovery Library Adapter (DLA)
- Support for GDPS® Active/Active continuous availability solution.

The enhanced IP trace feature is very nice and is a dramatic improvement in terms of power and ease of use over tracing in prior NetView releases.

Here's a link to the announcement letter:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An upcoming webcast on OMEGAMON Parmlib installation

If you are not familiar with Parmlib, it's a newer install method for OMEGAMON that is parameter based. Think of Parmlib as an alternative to using the ICAT tool to configure OMEGAMON. It's important to start to get to know a bit about the Parmlib process. At some point the likely plan is that Parmlib will replace ICAT as the configuration tool for OMEGAMON installation.

If you want to know a bit more about Parmlib, here is a link to an upcoming webcast that will talk about it. The event is on June 8th. You can also play the recording after the fact.

Here's the link:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tivoli Data Warehouse data on DB2 on z/OS

Tivoli Data Warehouse (TDW) is a very useful feature of OMEGAMON and the ITM monitoring infrastructure. Most of the Tivoli monitoring solutions that connect to the Tivoli Portal are able to capture and store historical data using TDW. TDW data integrates nicely within the Tivoli Portal, and allows the user to see data in both real time and historical format. TDW data can be used for both distributed and z/OS monitoring data. TDW data is quite useful, especially for trending and analysis purposes.

Most users who deploy TDW usually use DB2 on a Linux/Unix/Windows type platform to collect and house the data. What many don't realize is you can also store your history data on DB2 on z/OS. To do this you need DB2 on z/OS at be at the V9 level, or above. But if you have that, then maybe using DB2 on z/OS as your data store is an interesting option.

Here is a link to a white paper written by IBMer Mike Bonett that goes through the setup of TDW on z/OS:$FILE/TDW_DB2_ZOS_Considerations.pdf

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

zIIP support for OMEGAMON DB2 Near Term History

Collecting DB2 thread accounting history can be one of the more expensive functions of OMEGAMON XE For DB2 PM/PE. The Near Term History (NTH) function can potentially write millions of DB2 accounting records per day in many shops. One of the goals of V5.1 of OMEGAMON DB2 was to cut the cost of writing history data by routing this activity, where possible, to zIIP processors. Now that function is becoming available.

In an announcement letter from May 3, 2011, there is mention of enhancement PTFs UK65924, UK65927, and UK65933, for OMEGAMON DB2 PM/PE V5.1 With these PTFs, when the NTH component is activated for the DB2 subsystems that OMEGAMON is monitoring, NTH's data manager subcomponent processing, which is executed in enclave SRB mode, will be directed to an available zIIP.

Here is a link to the announcement letter:

MQSeries high log RBA issue

Thanks to my colleague Jim Newell for this interesting tidbit.

MQSeries on z/OS has been around for quite a while. Recently some customers have experienced (or have come close to experiencing) an outage to MQSeries on z/OS due to a High RBA for the MQSeries Log on z/OS. Shops who have been running MQ on z/OS for many years are potentially exposed the most. There is a Technote available that describes the symptoms leading up to the condition, what can be done to avoid the issue and what the consequences are.

If you are seeing messages CSQI045I, CSQI046E and CSQI047E then it's time to investigate. If you are not trapping for these messages in your automation routines, you can use OMEGAMON XE for Messaging on z/OS to create a situation to detect the potential condition. Here I show an example of how to create a situation to check the log RBA.

Information about how to respond to messages CSQI045I, CSQI046E and CSQI047E is available in the Technote. Below is the URL:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Upcoming System z technology summit

There will be a set of System z technology summits happening in the midwest in late May and June. The dates are May 25th for Chicago, and June 8th for Columbus. This looks like an in-depth event and will have multiple technical tracks.

The technical sessions are grouped into five tracks defined by topic and job responsibility, with morning and afternoon sessions for each track.

Track 1: zEnterprise - the First System of Systems
Developed for: IT managers, IT enterprise architects.

Track 2: DB2® for z/OS® Technical Update
Developed for: Database architects, DBAs, database managers.

Track 3: Modern Application Development and Deployment
Developed for: Application architects, application developers, application development management.

Track 4: CICS Technical Update
Developed for: CICS application programmers, CICS application management.

Track 5: Data Center Operations and Systems Management Update
Developed for: Operations management, infrastructure architects, system programmers.

To register, here's the link:

IBM and the Fortune 500

Fortune magazine released it's information on the Fortune 500. IBM came in at #18 on the list. Fortune had some interesting things to say about IBM:

"When Big Blue celebrates its centennial later this year, it will do so in style. Sales reached almost $100 billion in 2010 and profits, which have quadrupled during CEO Sam Palmisano's nine-year reign, hit a record.

The secret: a heavy focus on innovation. IBM spent $24 billion on R&D last year and filed over 18,000 patents — more than any other company in the world. Most firms pulled back during the recession, while IBM invested big in projects like artificial intelligence (who didn't watch Watson on Jeopardy?) and Smart Planet, its plan to use networking computer technology to ease traffic congestion and overtaxed power grids."

I may be a tad biased, but $24 billion in R&D is an impressive number. IBM continues to invest in technology, like Tivoli, and in z/OS. The numbers show the results.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

When upgrading to ITM 6.22

This is a story related to me by a colleague of mine, Jim Weaver, who has been working with customers upgrading the TEP to ITM 6.2.2 level.

When upgrading the Tivoli Portal server from ITM 6.2.1 to 6.2.2, what do you do if you still see what looks like the original 6.2.1 interface when launching the browser version? You can clear the browser cache, but odds are you may still see the issue.

In the ITM Problem Determination Guide, there is mention of this, but the instructions are not 100% accurate (yes I know, that may be hard to believe).

To resolve the issue, follow these steps:

Bring up the Windows Control Panel (Start > Control Panel).
Locate the "IBM Control Panel for Java". You may find that there is also a entry on the control panel for "Java". This is the wrong one. On the "General" tab, locate the bottom box that is labeled "Temporary Internet Files". There should be a "Settings..." box that you need to click on. You should get another pop up window. On the "Temporary File Settings" panel, locate the "Delete Files..." button and click on it. The "Delete Temporary Files" panel should give you options to delete Applications and Applets. I choose both. You then need to click on "Ok". Once you have cleared the Applications and Applets, you should be able to back your way out of the Java Control Panel. When you go to the TEPS, you should now get the right version.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pulse Comes To You

Pulse is IBM's flagship event targeting Integrated Service Management. Pulse Come To You is a chance to get a taste of what Pulse is about at a more convenient location, and without having to travel to Las Vegas. This year Pulse Comes To You is happening in a large number of locations in a May/June time frame. Cities include Austin, St Petersburg, Houston, Santa Clara, Kansas City, Hartford, Montreal, Toronto, Tampa, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Minneapolis, NYC, Detroit, Anaheim, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa.

To see the dates and to sign up, here's the link:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ITCAM For Transactions Robotic response time feature

ITCAM For Transactions is a very broad and powerful tool that combines many different capabilities for monitoring and analyzing composite transactions from an end to end perspective. In a post a couple months ago I had shown how you can use the HTTP data provider feature of the Universal Agent. It was fairly simple but useful in that you could track the response time and availability status of specific monitored URLs. If you thought that was an interesting feature, then you might be interested in the Robotic Response Time (RRT) feature of ITCAM for Transactions.

The RRT support for ITCAM for Transactions provides you with much more powerful and sophisticated robotic support. ITCAM comes with a subset of Rational Performance Tester and Rational Function Tester geared specifically to recording and creating robotic scripts for use by the ITCAM tool. You have quite a bit of flexibility to monitor various web pages and components, including being able to break transactions down into sub-transaction components.

Here's an example of just some of the data you get from the robotic support. In the example we see information such as, transaction status, transaction response time with detail (total response time, DNS time, client time, network time, server time, etc.), and transaction history with drill down for detail. You can also create situation alerts from the data. It's a lot of information, and can be quite useful for ongoing monitoring, trending, and application availability checking.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

They call if flipper

It's usually a good idea to test situation logic when designing and deploying new alerts into the Tivoli Portal. One technique to test a situation is to set the threshold artificially low so that the alert will be more likely to be true and fire. For example, if you you want to test out a z/OS average system CPU alert and CPU in the environment in question usually runs at around 50% or 60%, setting the alert at a lower level like 20% will usually mean the alert should fire, once the situation is saved and started. Once you've tested the alert you can set the threshold at the desired level, and you are done.

The down side of the "set the threshold low" scenario is that once you set the alert, it will, if done correctly, fire and stay true. But what if you want to test out scenarios where a situation is going true, then false, and then perhaps back to true? That's where the "flipper" technique comes in handy. With flipper you take a situation that is likely to fire and add timer logic. As I show in the example, half the time when seconds counter of local time is GT 30 seconds, the situation will be true. When time is 30 seconds or less, the situation will flip back to false. This is a handy technique to drive alert activity for test purposes.