The freeware from Vision Solutions measures 10 system performance and database indices, including available DASD.
If the thought ever crossed your mind that you are spending far too much time optimizing your System i, then you're not alone. More than three quarters of those who currently do system optimization manually would prefer to have an automated optimization solution do it for them. About a third of system administrators who tune an IBM i today use native operating system commands, and an equal number run customized scripts to get the job done.
In studies done back in 2009, Vision Solutions found that there was a large unmet need for a tool that would reclaim DASD, improve interactive response time, and provide ongoing optimization services. At the time, Vision was releasing V8 of its Vision Director system monitoring and optimization tool, now marketed as MIMIX Director. But how do you convince people that their systems are in such a state of neglect that they truly need to invest in a comprehensive solution? The answer was to provide them with a personalized measure of their system health. So Vision took one of the modules of Vision Director and decided to give it away for free. Since then, thousands of people have downloaded the free iSCORE module, which allows you to evaluate the health of your IBM i system. It then presents the information in a tabular and graphical format for analysis and remediation.
Despite the large number of users who have taken advantage of the free iSCORE system health check, there still are tens of thousands of systems in the market that are operating far below capacity and are underutilized because they haven't been tuned (or tuned recently). Since system optimization can be such a time-consuming and tedious task, one wonders why so many administrators continue to do it manually. IBM has several fine tools to optimize the system, including IBM Systems Director, but fewer than 10 percent of users employ it for this purpose. A number of companies besides IBM have performance management or capacity planning tools, but only about 7 percent of the market uses them. Among these firms are many with household names in the industry such as Bytware, Centerfield Technology, CCSS, Fax*Star (Sepe, Inc.), First Option, Halcyon Software, Help/Systems, IBM, iPerformance ApS, Jennifersoft, Kisco Information Systems, Macro 4, MB Software & Consulting, Midrange Performance Group, Permessa (Group Business Software), Raz-Lee Security, S4i Systems, Softlanding Systems (UNICOM Systems), Tango/04 Computing Group, and Vision Solutions.
So why is it that, with so many tools on the market and such a need for system optimization, administrators continue to tweak and delete to their hearts' content without the benefit of modern autonomics? The answer is simple: their management is, well, just cheap. They won't spend the money and invest in the tools that would set their highly intelligent and technically accomplished employees free. And the employees lack the product knowledge and self confidence to say, "That's it. That's the tool I want, and we have to get it—now." Who has time to survey the features of all the tools out there, much less spend the hours necessary to try them?
No one tool is going to do it all, correct? It's a performance management, performance tuning, applications monitor, database monitor, or capacity planning tool. A few tools combine more than one feature into a single solution, but where is the tool that does it all? Suppose you have a large collection of IBM i, AIX, Linux, and UNIX servers all networked together, and you need to monitor the whole farm. In that case, VISUAL Control Center from Tango/04 and Halcyon's Operations Center Suite come to mind. What if you have a need to ramp up your database performance and track SQL and other query use? Perhaps HomeRun from Centerfield Technology is what you're looking for or MIMIX Director from Vision Solutions. MIMIX Director, by the way, performs as many of the performance monitoring, tuning, and planning functions as just about any of the tools available. It's able to handle performance monitoring, tuning, database monitoring, and capacity planning. It is a rich suite for reporting on system resources and objects, automating system management tasks, and tracking changes to physical and logical file dependencies, and it can even help with system capacity planning.
But wait! There's no budget to go out and buy something just to save you hundreds of hours of your heavily discounted time, right? Well, at least you can get a handle on the problem by downloading and installing Vision's iSCORE tool. After all, it's free and can be run without a license key. With iSCORE, you can evaluate the age, use, and size of files in the IFS, get a read on the age and size of system indexes, and find out which jobs are using more temporary storage than others. You can get a measure of the health of your journal receivers: age and size, number of unreferenced or old objects, number of Query/400 reports on the system, and a count of how many deleted records are in files and the amount of deleted record space. You also will be able to gauge the age and size of save and spool files, and—last but certainly not least—know exactly how much disk space you have left. That can be a very useful number to know.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, however, and Vision may see your download of iSCORE as a step toward purchasing MIMIX Director, but that's OK. You might just slip into that and save yourself oodles of time. In the meantime, you will need a PC with Java Runtime 1.6 for installing iSCORE and FTP access to your IBM i where the iSCORE utility actually will run. You also will need to be at least on V5R3M0 or later and have the licensed programs Qshell, PASE, IBM Developer Kit for Java, and Java Developer Kit 5.0 installed to get the true insight into your system that you want. If you need help interpreting the results that iSCORE provides, Vision or a Vision Business Partner is prepared to interpret.
Your overall system health score will be in the form of a percentage, with 0-50% ranking poor, 51-80% average, 81-90% good, and anything above that very good. It's pretty simple stuff on the macro side, but more granular results on the aforementioned categories will also be generated.
If you don't worry about your blood pressure, aren't concerned about your cholesterol, and couldn't care less whether or not your immune system has tanked, at least take care of your system; your system takes care of you. You can download iSCORE free from the MC Software Center.
as/400, os/400, iseries, system i, i5/os, ibm i, power systems, 6.1, 7.1, V7, V6R1