The challenges of maintaining system availability in IBM i environments

The challenges of maintaining system availability in IBM i environments

Developed by Halcyon Software, IBM's Systems Operations Suite is a monitoring and automated operations solution for IBM i. It's used by managed service providers, corporate data centres and IBM i customers worldwide to achieve higher levels of system availability for IBM Power Systems Infrastructures.

We spoke to Carole Chandler, Director at Halcyon Software, to find out more.

TRP: What are the challenges of managing IBM i infrastructures?

CC: Maintaining system availability ensures that organisations can operate effectively and efficiently. The software monitors IBM i servers to continuously check that essential business processes, critical applications and jobs are running as expected.

This ensures any problems are captured and automatically dealt with before they impact the business. The software provides early warnings to IT staff through alerts to a central dashboard as well as remotely on Apple or Android smartphone or tablet devices.

The solution can be configured to automate IT checklists which improves the efficiency of the IT team, saves costs and eliminates human error. If any issues are detected, alerts are automatically generated enabling IT teams to take the appropriate actions regardless of where they are located.

Systems Operations Suite can also be configured to automatically take pre-defined actions to resolve issues before they affect business operations.

TRP: What about multi-platform environments using different operating systems?

CC: Halcyon Enterprise Console, included with the software, gives full visibility of messages and alerts generated by IBM i, AIX, Windows and Linux servers providing a centralised dashboard view of the entire enterprise.

Systems Operations Suite also interfaces with recognised open source systems such as Security Information Event Managers (SIEM), Log Amalgamators, IBM Tivoli, HP Openview, CA Unicenter, BMC Patrol as well as any Syslog or SNMP compliant system. It also interfaces with both in-house and proprietary Help Desk systems.

TRP: What level of efficiency gains can be achieved through process automation?

CC: Systems Operations Suite enhances the monitoring of virtually any component, job, subsystem or device on the IBM i by automating key repetitive tasks and assigning 'message rules' to execute actions or procedures.

Organisations can make significant operational savings by allowing the scheduling of events and resources to run in unattended environments and reducing late night support calls caused by incomplete or failed processes.

According to EVRY (the second largest IT services company in the Nordic region), an estimated 60-80% efficiency gain has been achieved along with corresponding improvements in service delivery.

TRP: Can external business applications be monitored?

CC: Yes. Systems Operations Suite uses specialist templates allowing critical business applications to be effectively managed and controlled. These include Infor M3 (Movex), SAP, JD Edwards, Misys Equation, Midas Plus, Infor and well-known High Availability solutions.

TRP: What is new in the latest release?

CC: The latest release of Systems Operations Suite includes a number of important new features including Job Log Monitor, which allows users to view all application, error and other messages relating to jobs that are currently running.

Normally, this kind of important information is transient on the system, not easily viewed unless the IT staff physically and continuously watch the computer screen.

The Object Manager component has been enhanced to enable Journal Receivers to be managed more efficiently. It enables organisations to achieve faster backups and restores and save money by reducing the need for additional and expensive disk resource to store old journal receivers.

Halcyon Software's Enterprise Console has also been upgraded and now rolls up alerts to reduce the on-screen 'message storm' that can occur when errors are reported on jobs that run on a regular basis, giving IT staff greater visibility of important issues that need to be resolved.

The graphical user interface has also been redesigned to the latest Windows-theming standards making the console even more familiar and intuitive to use.