Solving the Little Things with Automation for IBM Power Systems

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Even for the smallest organizations, there comes that moment when an event triggers the realization that monitoring operations with your eyes alone isn't enough.


Editor's Note: This article introduces the white paper "Solving the Little Things with Automation for IBM Power Systems" available free from the MC White Paper Center.


At some point, IT departments both large and small choose to hand the task of overseeing their IBM Power Systems to the server itself.


There are many benefits to this move, and in this paper we'll talk about some of them. We'll look at how you can get started with the basic concepts of automated monitoring, how these capabilities can be expanded through automated notification, and how regulatory compliance plays into the process. Finally, we'll look at how smaller organizations can harness the power of automation without breaking the bank. But first, let's begin by exploring those little events that bring the need for automation to the forefront.

It Starts with a Single Job

Doing it all yourself works well—for a while. When times are good and you have a strong team working in your department, giving your IBM Power Systems server the love and attention it deserves is not a problem. But when times are lean—as they have been for many years now—putting human eyes on the iSeries can be difficult.


When it isn't possible to watch over operations manually, small things can go wrong that trigger big problems. Even with the manpower on hand, these small things can still happen at inopportune times—like three o'clock in the morning. Some people ask "Why is it always the little things?"—as if the little things are an annoyance. Reality, however, proves that it is indeed the little things that matter. And those little things may bring with them that moment when you decide to automate.


Some of the most common "little things" that strike IBM Power Systems operations include jobs that fail to run during closing hours, ballooning temporary disk usage, and unidentifiable excessive CPU utilization.


In the days before automated monitoring, nightly backups could require an operator to trek to the office in the middle of the night to visually confirm that tapes were working correctly. Today, backups are just as important, not only because of the sheer amount of data that companies produce—and must protect—but also because a compliance element has been introduced. The consequences of failed backups could be financially significant.


Another potential night terror is a disk failure. Have you ever arrived at the office in the morning to find staff in a state of confusion because the server is down? Often the solution is easily implemented—as long as you know that the problem exists. This is one of the common little things that shines light on the benefits of automated monitoring.


Of course, these serious events must be dealt with immediately, but it's not always the common glitches of technology that push us toward automation. Imagine implementing a new software solution that requires significant configuration over a period of time in order to fully situate. Such a solution may demand monitoring around the clock for the first few days or weeks. It really is always the little things that matter, and automation can help your staff continue to meet the routine demands of their jobs—and sleep at night—while ensuring that the rollout goes smoothly.


Want to Know More?

Download the free white paper "Solving the Little Things with Automation for IBM Power Systems" from the MC White Paper Center.