IBM Performance Management for Power Systems (PM400) Discontinued

PM400 Replacement

IBM’s popular historical reporting offering Performance Management for Power Systems (a.k.a. PM400) was withdrawn from service on September 30, 2020.

What does this mean for the loyal band of customers and managed service providers who had come to rely on the historical data that PM400 collated, stored, and provided an online reporting engine for?

Anyone who previously relied on this old but trusted offering will have a gap. They won’t be able to produce equivalent performance reports and the recording of historical performance data stopped.

If you’re one of the many feeling a little left in the lurch, this post suggests some next steps.

What is IBM Performance Management for Power Systems?

PM400 used IBM i Collection Services data, which is enabled and turned on by default, and which runs quietly and efficiently in the background before the data is transmitted to an IBM server where it resided. Users were then able to view, interrogate, and report on this valuable historical data via a web browser.

Little has changed in PM400 in recent times and, while access to this data appears to still be possible today, it’s unknown how much longer you will be able to use it.

PM400 was an extremely automated service—pretty much set and forget—so you might have been on autopilot with it for a little too long. Now is the opportune time to reexamine the metrics you’re reporting on and determine which reports will help you perform your job better or help your business make better decisions.

Is there a Replacement for IBM Performance Management for Power Systems?

Realistically, you’re going to need a third-party tool to replace PM400. This tool needs to be able to “talk IBM i” and gather the non-standard, historical data split across lots of QAPM* files residing in QUSRSYS, so your choices are somewhat limited.

It’s worth considering where this data will reside. PM400 data was stored on an IBM server somewhere, and you’re likely to lose access to it at some stage. You don’t want to run that risk once again.

Our Recommendation: Performance Navigator

IBM Techline and hundreds of IBM i customers, business partners, managed service providers, and cloud providers around the world rely on Performance Navigator for reporting, problem determination, performance analysis, and capacity planning purposes.

Performance Navigator allows you to produce PM400-equivalent reports and many more across your whole Power Systems estate—that’s IBM i, AIX, Linux, and VIOS. You can schedule reports to run automatically and arrive as JPGs or—for those who want to crunch the data in another tool—a CSV file.

On IBM i, Performance Navigator uses the same Collection Services data that PM400 used so efficiently. That means Performance Navigator, too, has almost no overhead, allowing you to keep the data on your IBM i along with a neat, in-built data reduction component meaning one years’ worth data equates to about 70MB. This also means that you won’t suddenly lose access to your data and you can incorporate it into your standard backup and recovery routines. On other platforms, Performance Navigator uses NMON data.

Outside of reporting, Performance Navigator can use historical data to help you pinpoint issues, understand the impact of change, and see what your workload will look like on different configurations, whether that’s for an on-prem capacity plan or for use when looking to migrate to cloud.

You can download Performance Navigator today and without any licensing constraints whatsoever and make use of the CPU by priority and disk utilization graphs and run daily health checks across your servers.

Some Notes about IBM Navigator for i

IBM Navigator for i is not a like-for-like PM400 replacement, though there are certain elements that you can draw on.

With IBM Navigator for i, every partition you manage and report on needs to be handled individually. If you want to produce a similar report across all your logical partitions, you’ll need to browse to each, sign into IBM Navigator for i and do the same steps multiple times, potentially every month or whatever your measured period is. There is no enterprise reporting, which means that you cannot report across your whole Power Systems estate.

Point your web browser at http://systemname:2001. After signing in with your IBM i username and password, you’ll be able to view graphs and—if the detailed information is still available—perform a drilldown of sorts. For example, if you have high CPU—and if the detail is available—you can identify which jobs were running at the time.

IBM introduced graph history and historical data capabilities in IBM i 7.3, but this is turned off by default. As you turn it on, you’ll need to state how long to keep both detailed and summarized historical data. IBM Navigator for i also includes a capacity planning element. However, when using it, you are routed to an external IBM Workload Estimator website.

Need More Information?

Watch our recorded webinar—How to Replace IBM’s PM400—where the performance experts from HelpSystems walk you through the following:

  • What will happen to your previously uploaded historical data
  • What happens to today’s and tomorrow’s performance data
  • What your options are going forward
  • How to use performance data for problem determination and capacity planning purposes
  • How to get the reporting that matches today’s needs

You’ll also see how Performance Navigator software takes the old PM400 services to the next level and helps you visualize trend analysis, optimize system performance, pinpoint anomalies, provide monthly reporting to clients or management, and facilitate capacity planning activities.

Replace IBM Performance Management for Power Systems (PM400) Today!

The historical performance data on your servers is a treasure trove of information regarding actual usage over time. But you must access and interpret this data to get to the bottom of performance issues or inform future hardware investments. Performance Navigator can help!