In every industry, business-critical processes depend on application performance. Interruption of real-time processing, customer service delays, and missed SLAs and deadlines are all plausible outcomes with all-too-real consequences. Fortunately, IBM i and third-party vendors offer significant power to prevent such disaster.
The IBM i operating system is very good at supplying system administrators with built-in tools for security, database management, auditing, and journaling. But the operating system has another gem that often goes overlooked: its ability to automatically, continuously, and efficiently collect performance data.
This white paper examines critical system metrics that administrators need to monitor and review for real-time performance issues and future bottlenecks. It also looks at the commands associated with performance collection services.
In the absence of a third-party solution, many elements of performance monitoring not achieved by IBM i Navigator's Performance Tool Library—which include real-time alerting and system-specific intervals—can lead to sluggish performance, interruption, and outages. This paper also outlines the most critical features required of a third-party tool and how to incorporate them into your performance monitoring.
Understanding IBM i Collection Services
Collection Services is an IBM toolset for gathering IBM i performance data in intervals and storing it inside a collection object (object type *MGTCOL). These objects store the raw performance data that reflects an interval of time and the performance of the system, jobs, memory pools, and disk. This data can be used to diagnose performance issues, plan for growth, or monitor performance so you can be proactive with system-related tuning or application performance issues.
Configuring Collection Services
• Use the command CHKPFRCOL to determine if Collection Services is turned on.
• Use the prompted CFGPFRCOL command to see at which level of detail performance collections are currently configured.
We recommend that you set this protocol profile setting to *STANDARDP. Additionally, IBM recommends running performance collections continually as part of normal operations. The command STRPFRCOL starts the monitoring process. You can also use System i Navigator to start and stop the process.
Analyzing Collection Services
The command CRTPFRDTA processes the data in the *MGTCOL object and outputs it to performance database files. Once in database files, this data typically requires use of a third-party or IBM service, such as PM for Power Systems (formerly PM/400), to analyze the data. You can see how PM/400 is configured by typing "GO PM400" in a command line.
IBM i Navigator's Performance Tools Library creates detailed and summary reports, which can be viewed online for a fee. While the tool helps predict growth and identify offending jobs, it does not help with real-time performance issues. For enhanced performance collection and reporting, consider a third-party tool that alerts in real time.
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