CCSS has announced the general availability of a guide that identifies the Top Five Most Expensive Disk Issues impacting IBM i and Power System users–and the most effective means of guarding against these problems. The guide was produced in response to the industry’s urgent need to economize on resource expenditures in the wake of the credit crunch and subsequent recession, and it serves as a best practices roadmap for eliminating unnecessary disk expense and maximizing efficiency on the System i.
Ray Wright, president and CEO of CCSS, says guides such as this form an integral part of the company’s overall support services, “Our primary responsibility for our own product innovations, support, training and knowledge sharing is for the benefit of our existing customers, but beyond that, we’re also seeking new channels and means of sharing our experience and expertise with the wider System i community. It’s an important part of driving the development in our field of performance and message monitoring and being an active participant as the industry continually evolves.”
For many environments, a DASD spike is a warning that the system is struggling with another underlying issue that may not be immediately apparent. For IT managers, the challenge is always two-fold: identify the runaway DASD and then isolate the cause for resolution. Problems that consume disk are among the most expensive to contend with because the burden of cost is derived from multiple elements. In addition to the purchase of additional disk, itself a costly resource, a company with issues impacting disk may also have to account for additional man hours that may be required to carry out an investigation as to the origin of the problem. Furthermore, productivity could be compromised if the system performance degrades or there may be financial penalties for associated SLA breaches. In the most disastrous cases, there is also the added expense of a potential downtime situation.
Real-time disk monitoring can help to immediately identify threats to disk resource and give users greater awareness of an escalating situation that requires immediate attention. The guide from CCSS draws on the real-world experiences of system managers across a broad range of industries to identify the five most likely causes of runaway DASD. The top five disk ‘hit list’ serves as a useful reference point and tackles each area in turn to evaluate the impact on disk if this problem was left unchecked. Potentially, problems arising from any system object could trigger a disk consuming event. The "hit list" examines issues in the following areas: Journal Receivers; Temporary Storage; ASP; Important Files and Looping Jobs as these have, in the experience of Systems i users, typically been at the source of issues most frequently.
In one example given by the guide, a simple inactive journal receiver illustrates the damaging consequences of such a seemingly small issue. Left unchecked, the inactive receiver first has the potential to degrade system performance and impact the user community from their essential tasks. A rapid consumption of DASD could later result in a failed High Availability switch over, leading to lost data and a breach of regulatory compliance and the associated cost of downtime.
The "best practice" recommended to guard against such situations involves real-time insight and monitoring of these five areas so issues can be resolved immediately before they escalate to a system-threatening level. A combination of thresholds and alerts to govern these parameters will ensure managers are on a pro-active footing and can take a non-DASD-consuming response where possible. For example, managers could choose to save off a looping receiver onto tape to spare the DASD, which would meet their regulatory compliance in a much more cost efficient way, until the problem is resolved.
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