Four Things You Should Know About Cache Battery

System Administration
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If monitoring your cache battery is a "back burner" task, you could be making a big mistake.


Editor's Note: This article is an extract from the white paper "Four Things You Should Know About Cache Battery," which is available free at the MC Press White Paper Center.


The white paper "Four Things You Should Know About Cache Battery" explores the issues and challenges surrounding cache battery monitoring for users managing IBM i servers, including Power Systems and System i environments. Written by one of the industry's leading authorities on system and performance management, CCSS, the paper has been created as a response to the surge of interest flowing from data centers where the dependence on machine availability, the necessity for data integrity, and audit compliance regulations leave no margin for error.


In a post–credit crunch era, few IT managers can justify moving away from some of the solutions implemented as a result of a direct need to reduce cost and increase efficiency. For many, the reality of restricted budgets and the perpetual need to review and assess areas that pose a potential threat to the systems has moved from being the exception to the rule. Facing a new fiscal year plagued by the specter of ongoing economic uncertainty, managers will likely be under considerable pressure to reduce budgets that already seem to represent the bare minimum.


In the historical account of the recent recession, the determining factor between the companies that failed and the companies that prospered will be without question which chose to innovate and which did not. Herein lies the good news: innovation is a state of mind. For IT managers, it is not restricted to the contents of a new product, shiny and dazzling in its ability to fix all woes. Innovation requires more than that if it is to be truly successful. IT managers will need to seek out innovation in all areas—from their processes and procedures to their choice of technology partners—leaving no stone unturned in the dissection.


CCSS CEO Ray Wright believes there is real value to be achieved in adopting this approach:


"In a systems environment, there is a degree of reactive behavior; there's nothing like being on the receiving end of an unplanned downtime event or loss of data situation to spur on a new initiative that eliminates that risk in the future. Now, however, organizations are being forced to look at these types of situations with fresh eyes and ask what else is out there, and are we doing all we can to protect our systems and, ultimately, our business? A reactive stance is a luxury IT managers simply can't afford. What's more, they need to ask themselves if the measures taken to combat these threats are the most effective and efficient use of their time and resources."


As part of the ongoing dialogue with customers on this topic, CCSS has identified cache battery as one of the critical areas that has risen to the top of the agenda in the examination of critical threats and potential system vulnerabilities. Unlike other system components, the prevention of cache battery failure relies on the successful coordination of a number of diverse factors, including external resources and forward planning. As such, this particular issue provides a unique opportunity for IT managers to address their approach to systems management and, hopefully, implement a proactive solution.


Typically, the management of cache battery life involves a manual checking procedure via the highly sensitive System Service Tools (SST) menu. This alone poses a number of potential risks and inefficiencies: First, for security reasons, only a restricted number of authorized personnel have access to this menu. Second, once in the SST menu, even the authorized person could make an honest mistake and cause immediate and widespread damage and disruption to the systems and, ultimately, business operations. Third, each battery's status requires individual checking, making this a time-consuming task and increasing the likelihood of errors. Fourth, a massive effort to coordinate the external IBM engineer to replace multiple at-risk batteries at once is, more often than not, bumped from the task list because of more-urgent matters, the result being that the engineer makes several costly visits. In the worst case, the system-generated warning message alerting the team to a dying battery could be missed, misunderstood, or generated after business hours. The consequences of this extend deeply into the realm of downtime, loss of data, and a lack of audit compliance and, therefore, carry the burden of the associated financial loss. The time to examine the issue of cache battery life has arrived.


"Four Things You Need to Know About Cache Battery" gives IT managers a working guide to understanding this critical area of the system. Readers can learn and benefit from the experiences of other IT managers who have faced the same challenge in their environment. CCSS offers insights, expertise, and innovative solutions to help you address the most pressing questions:

  1. Why does cache battery life matter to my business?
  2. What is the challenge of cache battery management?
  3. What are the consequences of a failed cache battery?
  4. What is the value of cache battery monitoring?


Download "Four Things You Need to Know About Cache Battery" free from the MC Press White Paper Center.