What you don’t know (or notice) can hurt your system. That’s the reality for administrators struggling with a reactive approach to systems management. So often a seemingly small incident—a missed message, a looping job, an exploited vulnerability in security—is all that stands between maintaining the system’s availability, performance, or protocols and falling spectacularly short of them. Perhaps the only silver lining of these unfortunate incidents is that they carry indelible lessons about the value of being proactive toward future issues or threats.
For anyone responsible for reviewing a poorly performing or less than optimally available IBM i environment, understanding the road already travelled—regardless of how bumpy that terrain may have been—is an excellent way to prepare for the road ahead. Even in the most efficient environments, the past reveals a wide range of challenges that have tested your preparedness and bestowed all the consequences that followed.
Check Your Rearview Mirror
Details of how past events took hold are the coordinates required to map a route to a more proactive destination in the future. For example, past incidents of job performance issues could reveal the symptom (rapid but not easily identifiable disk consumption) and also the underlying cause (a looping job that was consuming temporary storage). You could also learn the inevitable impact (unplanned disk purchase to make more time for investigation), plus the actions administrators took to resolve the issue (the investigation itself, no doubt lengthy and worrisome). Finally, you would see the cost attributed to the whole event—from escalating resource consumption to resolution via out-of-hours overtime, plus idle time experienced by affected and therefore unproductive users. And that’s just one example of one type of issue. Having this level of detailed knowledge on the range of issues that have already been experienced first-hand lays known issues to rest.
Turn On Your High Beams
Being proactive toward future, yet unknown issues requires vision that is both deep and far-reaching. Here is where dedicated, real-time monitors, with functionality that can take an administrator from speculation to resolution in a single click, are worth their weight in disk!
Real-time visibility is the most important aid in combating otherwise hard to detect problems such as temporary storage, jobs that seek anonymity in a sea of lookalikes (yes, we’re talking about you, troublesome QZDASOINIT job), or even the specific actions of a single user accessing a sensitive file.
System probing of this type accounts for the depth of vision required, but administrators still need precise, sharp insights over greater distances to maintain an optimal environment. This is especially the case when the geography of responsibility is less sharply drawn, as when environments are vulnerable because of inactive network elements not strictly in the boarders of typical system monitoring, or when users are unable to carry out their work because critical business applications are running slowly.