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: