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.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Locating ITM Workspace Application Support Files for The Tivoli Portal

Before you can view data collected by Tivoli monitoring agents in the Tivoli Portal, you must install application support for the agents on the Tivoli Enterprise Portal Server and on the hub Tivoli Enterprise Monitoring Server. If you skip this step then you likely will have blank workspaces instead of all sorts of cool data for the agent you are installing.

That being said, it can sometimes be a chore to sort out exactly which CD/DVD you need to install, and where. You may have multiple discs to choose from, and are not clear as to which one to use.

There is an IBM web page which does a nice job summarizing the various application support options for Tivoli agents on z/OS. Here's the URL:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Using custom classic screens

I do quite a few posts on the value of the Tivoli Portal and how you can customize TEP screens to target key requirements and solve problems. I thought it would be nice to show an example or two of how you can customize classic 3270 interface screens to optimize your ability to analyze issues.

One of the things I often focus on when I'm looking at IMS workload is the system enqueue/dequeue activity and if the workload is showing indications of being queued. Queued workload may be an indication of a bottleneck somewhere in IMS, the database, or the application.

Classic interface allows you to combine commands together in an integrated screen space that will enable you to pull important information together. In this example I show how you can use the OMEGAMON IMS ISYS command to show overall IMS enqueue/dequeue rate, and then include on the same screen the TRXQ command that will show transactions that are queued, and minors showing more detail about the transactions that are queued. With this display I can see if the system is backing up or not, and if so see if there are any problem transactions without having to navigate to another display. It's easy to create these custom screens and save them for later use.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

IBM announces zEnterprise support for Windows

I think this is exciting. IBM is announcing support for Windows as part of the zEnterprise. Here is some information from the announcement:

"In the third quarter of 2011, IBM intends to offer select IBM System x blades running Linux® on System x in the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension Model 002.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, IBM intends to offer select IBM System x blades running Microsoft Windows in the IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension Model 002."

Here's a link to the announcement:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Information on sizing Tivoli Data Warehouse

I often get questions about sizing and managing the database files that make up the Tivoli Data Warehouse (TDW). There are quite a few variables to take into account, such as number of managed systems, data capture frequency, typical number of rows of data per sample, and options on summarization and pruning.

In the Tivoli Open Process Automation Library (OPAL) you can find a useful spreadsheet for projecting by searching for "warehouse load projections" or the navigation code "1TW10TM1Y" at

Also, here's a link in the ITM doc about the spreadsheet:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Monitoring the z196 environment

During my webcast yesterday I discussed aspects and considerations of monitoring and management in the z196 environment. At this point, while Tivoli offers several packaged solutions oriented towards managing zEnterprise (Application Resilience for zEnterprise, Asset and Financial Management for zEnterprise, Application Management for zEnterprise, Security Management for zEnterprise), there is not, as of this writing, what I would call a z196-specific offering.

That statement being made, the next question is will you be able to monitor and manage effectively the z196 using Tivoli solutions? The answer is, of course you can. The nice thing about the Tivoli approach is if you've made an investment in OMEGAMON z/OS monitoring and ITM distributed monitoring, those solutions will work well in the zEnterprise environment. What makes Tivoli unique is the ability to monitor and manage many core operating system and software components from an integrated perspective. The Tivoli Enterprise Portal enables that integrated view, and works well with what makes the zEnterprise compelling, the ability manage diverse workload in a more integrated manner.

Here's an example of what you can do using the Tivoli Portal approach. What I did to create this monitoring view is I took a JPEG graphic that represented a typical z196, integrated it into a graphic view in a Tivoli Portal workspace, customized the navigation tree, added some other data to the workspace, and then pulled in icons onto the graphic view that represented resource status for various components in the environment. The ability to create these integrated views is what makes the Tivoli Enterprise Portal approach unique.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reminder - Webcast tomorrow on creating dashboards

I posted this earlier, but I wanted to mention it again. I will be doing a webcast tomorrow called
"Create an effective management dashboard using IBM Tivoli solutions". I will start with an example using the Dashboard Edition function of the Tivoli Enterprise Portal, and then get into examples built around Tivoli Business Service Manager. I will discuss look at the advantages of either approach, and help you lay out a strategy to get started creating effective management dashboards.

We will be using a new webcast technology (new to me anyway), and I think it has the potential to be more interactive.

The event will be April 7th at 11 AM Eastern Time.

It's not too late to register for the event. Here is a link:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Upcoming webcast on network management

On May 26th at 11AM Eastern time, there will be a webcast on "Increasing your Network Automation to improve availability and utilization". The speaker is Kirk Bean, NetView Product Manager. I think this will be an informative webcast, and Kirk will have some interesting information to discuss about what IBM is doing in the area of network management.

Here's a URL to sign up for the event: