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Maxava Monitor Mi8: A Master Console for Your Enterprise Servers

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Give your personnel a unified overview of all Windows, Linux, and IBM i servers in your enterprise.

How can you continuously keep track of all your system activity when the average enterprise has become a diverse mix of applications and infrastructure spread across various on-site premises and into the cloud? What about keeping an eye on specialty operating systems like the IBM i across all shifts? Admins have to be able to take a vacation at some point, right?!

 

Fortunately, there's a new solution available that brings simplicity into this complex equation. Maxava, a global leader of business continuity solutions, has released Maxava Monitor Mi8, a cloud-native, real-time monitoring solution for any number of Windows, Linux or IBM i serversregardless of physical location. This new software service is designed to interface with any and every size of business user, managed-service provider, or ISV.

Maxava Monitor Mi8 oversees and intelligently alerts on key facets of the server environments, including systems, applications, and availability. The product's cloud-based architecture provides customers a single visual dashboard (Figure 1) that provides consolidated views of multiple disparate systems across locations, which customers can monitor from a console or mobile device.

041816GhristFigure1

Figure 1: The dashboard shows multiple systems from multiple devices.

In addition, Mi8 can provide “Views” customized for different kinds of customers, fulfilling different roles within your organization. It can also keep an eye on customer-specified events, system performance statistics, and numerous other system activities, including a built-in escalation process to help your staff quickly deal with anything unusual.

In short, Maxava Monitor Mi8 offers any size enterprise a single interface for system-event notification and response, high-availability (HA) environment monitoring, message review, system-performance parameters, and top-jobs analysis.

Mountaintop Views from an Experienced Solutions and Services Provider

Maxava, an IBM premier business partner, offers and supervises complex production and cloud environments for business partners and customers across the globe via a combination of services and software delivered via a fixed monthly cost (OPEX). The new Mi8 service is a natural enhancement for any enterprise that wants a modern, well-supported, and regularly enhanced enterprise monitoring solution.

Maxava Monitor Mi8 can also be bundled by managed service providers and ISVs via Maxava’s OEM program designed to enhance a partner’s existing services portfolio. This cloud technology also allows customers to utilize Maxava or one of its partners to monitor systems in the absence of local platform administrators (everyone needs a vacation some time!) This is easily resourced so that an extra set of eyes can be “turned on” in an instant (or for third shift) when needed.

Maxava Monitor Mi8's multilevel event monitoring includes multiple critical system attributes and activities, such as:

  • General system information
  • Subsystem activity
  • Message queues
  • Designated top jobs and their attributes
  • General job queues
  • Output-queues status
  • Network connections
  • Printer writer status
  • Other hardware status
  • Memory pool utilization
  • Auxiliary storage pools
  • DASD
  • And more

The product's event-notification system includes built-in escalation processes to make sure SLAs are met, the capacity to define and execute commands via a browser interface, rules-based notifications, SMS text-based responses to inquiries, and an event console that highlights unacknowledged critical eventsall available via interfaces as varied as PC browsers, tablets, smartphones, and Apple Watches (Figure 2).

041816GhristFigure2

Figure 2: Event notification supports interfaces including PC browsers, tablets, smartphones, and Apple Watches.

An Automated Response if Something Does Go Wrong

Maxava Monitor Mi8's monitoring process allows customers to configure the collection of key system information at intervals that suit them best. The data is processed in the cloud by Maxava's systems, which carry out the heavy lifting of analyzing, reviewing, and alerting on the data to minimize Mi8's footprint on customer systems. Most of the time all is well, but if something does go wrong, Mi8 uses its MaxTriage™ and Monitor & Alert Cortex™ functions to help your staff handle anything from blips to catastrophic events.

MaxTriage is a flexible workflow process that lets administrators track and trace events as they are investigated, remediated, and eventually closed internally. It also lets customers contact Maxava directly via the Mi8 interface to report alerted issues if they choose. Maxava can then review the issue and converse with customers via the triage function, as well as assign the degree of urgency each problem may present and to what person each issue is assigned for resolution.

Monitor & Alert Cortex is a rules engine that lets administrators define who is alerted to what kinds of events, under what circumstances, and via whatever notification methods those people prefer. Notification can be provided by browser, email, SMS texts, tweets, mobile-device alerts, or voice-alert calls to mobile phones. What's more, it lets administrators set up distribution and escalation lists that prioritize notifications and advise recipients when potential problems appear, before issues get to critical levels. Monitor & Alert Cortex also returns preapproved commands and responses to the system (e.g., starting a remedial program) in addition to sending alerts. So if a specific job isn't active when it should be, administrators can define the alert to both notify a recipient and start the missing job. The functions can also be set to conform to local maintenance windows or times when a recipient should not be notified.

Mi8's Rules-Based System Streamlines Operations

Maxava Monitor Mi8 has two main user login types, administrative and standard (for regular users). Administrative users can grant standard user profiles access to the Mi8 system and set what deny/read/write privileges each standard user has for Mi8's main functions. All users log in via the maxavamonitor.com website and have multiple view options available to them. Each user can set their preferences as to which default view they access when they log in, along with the ability to configure additional features such as whether or not they receive audible alerts. The information shown in the main views is driven by the rules each customer chooses to define. These are basically what each customer wishes to monitor and which events they wish to receive alerts about. Admin users or standard users, given the proper authorization, can define what rules are processed and what notifications should be associated with each rule. The same “View” information is provided regardless of the user's interface device of choice (although the Apple Watch provides a cut-down notification view).

Customers define rules about what is to be monitored, what is considered a “Critical Event,” and what is considered a “Top Job.” Top Job definitions, for example, let administrators define what job attributes are important (e.g., amount of CPU in use, disk IO, CPU time, page faults, etc.) and how many top jobs are to be monitored. Users can configure rules for various attributes (e.g., CPU, memory, DASD, batch jobs, interactive jobs, object existence, and system hardware statuses). A rule can say, for example, that if I receive a certain message on a particular queue within a designated timeframe and with a certain second-level text, alert me. Or alert me if that job ends abnormally or if it ends too soon. There are also defaults for common types of rules, and a “template store” that lets users save their rules to roll out to new systems without having to re-enter them from scratch.

There is also comprehensive high-availability (HA) environment rule-monitoring for various HA products. The in-depth HA rules let users monitor their HA environment in detail, as well as initiate and monitor role-swap processes as needed. Most customers can initiate and then simply see that a system has successfully swapped and that the appropriate messages have been logged.

Authorized users can also designate when a rule is active or when it is to be ignored, for example as for a backup window, when customers don’t need to be notified of a subsystem being inactive. Rules can also define an ad hoc “sleep” process when unplanned or out of the ordinary circumstances have occurred and customers don’t want to be alerted.

Because all user access is controlled via login and password, Maxava Monitor Mi8 data is safeguarded from access by unauthorized users. The monitor job running on a customer system gathers required information at the configured times and passes it to the cloud server. Maxava doesn't store historical data on the actual system itself, and when the company packages the data for reporting to users, the data is encrypted and sent via a secure SSL connection. In cases where messages are being sent by SMS text, the messages are sent to only authorized phones. In addition to the other encryption techniques, the messages are also protected by individual user PINs, and any programs or commands ordered to be run by a remote request must be pre-approved to run on the actual server itself. So there are multiple layers of security, which are utilized in such a way that it is straightforward to maintain.

Ease of Use and Scalability Are Key

Maxava Monitor Mi8 is designed with ease of use in mind. The various “Views” are easily accessible, and additional information is available via selection of an item on a screen itself or selection of an edit function for the item, to then show detailed information. Mi8 can be configured to allow multiple user access to the monitoring and alert views. If an issue is alerted, users can drill down or expand information for the alert in question.

The product is completely scalable. As a customer’s requirements grow, Maxava Monitor Mi8 can be rolled out to additional servers and be up and running quickly.

 

If you’re looking for a way to give your personnel a unified overview of all Windows, Linux, and IBM i servers in your enterprise that is easy, scalable, and flexible, try Maxava’s introductory no-obligation, no-setup-costs, free 90-day product trial here.

John Ghrist

John Ghrist has been a journalist, programmer, and systems manager in the computer industry since 1982. He has covered the market for IBM i servers and their predecessor platforms for more than a quarter century and has attended more than 25 COMMON conferences. A former editor-in-chief with Defense Computing and a senior editor with SystemiNEWS, John has written and edited hundreds of articles and blogs for more than a dozen print and electronic publications. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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